Graduation Party Ideas

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I've got a fantastic selection of party ideas that will make this a party your guests remember for a lifetime! 

There are ideas to help you plan the party, decorate it, serve great food, pay tribute to the graduate, surprise the graduate, entertain everyone, thrill guests with a photo booth, do more with your home, work with the school and a lots of extra ideas to consider! 

(Click here for kindergarten ideas.)

Graduation Party Ideas

graduation party ideas


Plan to throw a successful party. I cover Who, What, Where and When. Also checklists covering every step of the way.

graduation party ideas

As early as possible set a budget. This will help you make all the decisions you need to including venue and number of guests. Take a look at these budget examples.

graduation party ideas


Invite your guests with these free printable invites. This great selection includes invites you can personalize and print.

graduation party ideas


Graduation decoration ideas to make your venue stunning and thrill your guests, including interactive and amazing tribute ideas.

graduation party ideas


The best graduation party games suitable for all ages. Team, noisy, quiet, fun, favorites, homemade and outdoor games. Pick out the best ones for party. 

graduation party ideas


The entertainment you provide will make your guests feel they are at the best graduation party. I have a lot of great ideas at party entertainment.

graduation party ideas


Serve the best party food with these ideas on buffets, breakfast, mains, desserts, finger foods, treats and drinks. Hope you love these ideas!

graduation party ideas


Amazing graduation cake ideas, many contributed by visitors. Includes recipes, cake patterns, toppings, fillings and great tips. 

graduation party ideas


Pay tribute to the graduate, and your guests, with these ideas. Your photo tribute board is excellent, but adding these ideas can make it much more special.

graduation party ideas

graduation party ideas


Guests can join in the fun by wearing a graduation themed costume. I hope to give you some fun ideas.

graduation party ideas


Talk to the graduate and agree the play list. You want lively party music, slideshow music and background music. You may also want to use some graduation songs..

graduation party ideas


Being a great host will put your guests at ease and help them really enjoy the party. Use these simple, effective tips to help you be the perfect host.

graduation party ideas

Photo Booth

photo booth will be the best fun your guests have!

graduation party ideas

At Home

Hosting the party at your home is a perfect choice. I have many great little tips I use to make the party excellent.
There are lots of great party location ideas.

graduation party ideas


Consider hosting the party with the school. There are many advantages including having a large scale party with a healthy budget and lots of guests to play games.

graduation party ideas

Party Favors

Your guests will have attended your party, bought a gift and supported the graduate. Give them a party favor as a thank you for their friendship!

graduation party ideas


After the party is over a great touch is to send out thank you cards for all the gifts the graduate has received. Use these free printable thank you cards.

Fun Ideas

Finally, more fun ideaswhich you can use to make your party the best.

Graduation Party Ideas - Tributes

Fun graduation party ideas for Graduate tributes could be:

  • There must be a tribute board for the graduate. Set up a board with photos and even the story attached. Include photos with friends and family. Enhance the graduate’s tribute boards with decorative borders. You can use caps and scrolls, or even add graduation jokes or funny quotes.

  • Decorate the graduate to be a living part of the graduation party decorations. They could wear a white cap, white t-shirt and white pants. If you give guests t-shirt marker pens they can decorate the graduate as the party goes along with drawings, messages and doodles.

  • Pictures of the graduate at all ages, including ones taken by friends. You may be able to have them made into giant size if the picture quality is good. You could also put up lots of pictures and ask your guests to leave messages on them and even add some caricature!

  • Decorate the graduate’s car with car chalk. This could form mobile graduation party decorations.

  • Create a 3D type of collage of the graduate‘s memorabilia.

  • Create a flower arrangement type display except with photos of the graduate and friends attached to the end of popsicle sticks.

  • Graduate memorabilia, the graduate's toys and any other items you can put out on display. Could be that special teddy! To get the best of this graduation party idea, make it a real treasure trove of their meaningful possessions.

  • Videos of the graduate being played on screens.

  • Any paintings the graduate has made as a child can be displayed.

  • Young children can of course draw their impression of the graduate in advance and their works of art can be displayed.

  • Life Sized Cut Outs Of The Graduate, celebrate with the graduate in mind even if they are not in the room. The whole party will have fun with this one. Instantly recognisable Graduate Life Size Cutout

  • Time Capsule - set up a time capsule with the graduates memorabilia

  • Scrapbook - set up a scrapbook of the graduate‘s life so far.

  • You may like quilting, in which case a quilt could be displayed for guests to sign a section at the party.

  • Decorate a sports shirt with the graduates photos and achievements.

  • Word Collage - set up a board which guests can write the one word they think symbolizes the graduate.

  • Cut out the graduates initials on card. Add a photo collage onto each initial.

  • Put the graduate‘s photo onto some ornaments

  • Draw a silhouette of the graduate onto a large board and use that as the message board for guests.

  • Twitter and Instagram - display on a screen live feeds of the Twitter messages and Instagram posts by guests on their cell phones.

  • Put a tribute to the graduate safely on their pet. That could be on a dog coat, cat coat, on the fish tank or the bird cage.

  • Put up a wall of seamless paper for guests to write on, recording messages and even just that they were at the party.

  • Ask each guest to come ready with a personal message or tribute to the graduate. Video their message.

  • Take out an Ad in your local newspaper and display it at the party.

  • Have a tribute played on the radio.

  • Produce a magazine with all their achievements over the years and great photos, plus of course some funny stories.

  • Another one of the great graduation party ideas is to set out a t-shirt with the graduate's photo on it and ask guests to write comments on it.

  • Have an indulgent room with the graduate's favorite childhood toys ready to play with. Could be trains or Barbie, for example.

  • If you have an unlimited budget, Fly a Hot Air Balloon or small plane, over the party with a huge graduate tribute on the side.

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Graduation Party Ideas - Guest Tributes

guest tribute

As part of your graduation party ideas, you can honor your guests or perhaps some people who have been very close to the graduate over the years in many fun ways at the graduation party. The graduation party ideas are:

  • Create posters honoring your guests.

  • Set out many photos of your guests with the graduate, perhaps including the story behind the photos. The photos could include special events, touching moments and taking part in a challenge.

  • With each photo of the guests you can also add a meaningful quote that says it all about their part in the graduate‘s life.
  • The graduate could stand up and read out a poem that honors the guests or deliver a heartfelt speech about their importance.

  • Special gifts could be presented to these very special people. Another one of the great graduation party ideas is to give your guests one last piece of fun as they leave by taking a lucky dip.

  • Guests Graduation Photos - ask some guests to bring their graduation (or baby) photos. Display them on a board and ask the graduate to name them!

  • Does The Graduate Know Their Guests - Guest Preferences
guest preferences game

How well does the graduate know their guests? For fun, survey your guests either before or at the graduation party. The graduate just needs to decide which item most guests prefer. You could make a show of asking the graduate to give their answers in front of all their guests and find out if they are correct, or ask the graduate to fill in their answers.

A harder to prepare version is to calculate the percentages and present the graduate with a higher or lower option or pick from 3 options. For example let’s say 54% prefer Domino’s pizza you could ask the graduate if 50, 60 or 70% prefer Domino’s or ask if the % who prefer Domino’s is higher or lower than 50.

  • Does The Graduate Know Their Guests - Which Guest
which guest game

Ask a small number of guests, say 6, to complete a short survey of their likes and dislikes. Tell the graduate who the 6 are. Taking the answers, one at a time read, anonymously, each guests' answers and ask the graduate to guess which guest it is.

Some fun etiquette tips for guests:

  • Don’t spend time on your phone

  • Don’t arrive early

  • Be positive

  • Help other guests to feel included

  • Offer to help

  • Bring a gift

  • Say thanks

Graduation Party Ideas - Graduate Fun

Have some extra fun with a fun loving graduate. You could try these graduation party ideas:

  • Dress the graduate up in the weirdest costume

  • Decorate them with face paints

  • Have them sing a karaoke song

  • Set a quiz for them on their own life so far with questions like where they first walked, who they sat beside in kindergarten and lots more facts.

  • Reveal lots of secret facts about the graduate
graduation party ideas

Party games based on the graduate can make the party great fun. Guests can challenge the graduate, make the graduate over, test their memory, read the graduate’s mind, model the graduate and also compete in a scavenger hunt.

Graduation Party Ideas - Graduate Surprises

graduation party ideas

Set up some great surprise graduation party ideas for the graduate which will thrill them and the guests too.

  • Locate someone special from the graduate‘s past and present them at the party as a surprise guest
  • Secretly invite the graduate‘s close friends but let the graduate believe they will not be there.

  • Present the graduate with a vacation, including a friend or family, at the party which could mean leaving that night.

  • Photo Bomb – before the party, secretly have either guests photo bomb the graduate or vice versa. Reveal the surprise photos at the party.

  • Present the graduate with an out of this world gift at the party. Something they really wished for but did not believe you would get for them.

Graduation Party Ideas - Costumes

graduation party ideas

Graduation party ideas themed on the graduate do give amazingly creative ideas for costumes. You can ask guests and helpers to choose from:

  • The graduates favored attire. Perhaps everyone can copy their style! This is particularly great if the graduate has a unique style.
  • Guests can dress in the clothing of the graduate's chosen college, or even just the college's colors. That could be T-shirts, baseball caps or scarves.

  • If the graduate has a hero it may be possible to copy their hero's clothing. The hero could be their sporting idol, for example.

  • The graduate's chosen career. For example a doctor, fireman, beautician or teacher.

  • If the graduate likes to holiday in Hawaii or any other distinctive destination you can choose themed costume based on that.

  • Simply wear stars to celebrate the star graduate.

  • Have the graduation year on some item of clothing including on t-shirts.

  • Simply wear clothing in school colors.

  • Sports gear, including the grad's favorite team colors, would be fun!

  • Any clothing can have the graduate's photo attached to it.

  • The party could be all about graduation. Guests could wear their own graduation hat and bring photos too.

  • Give them glow bracelets, flashing earrings, necklaces and rings.

  • Decorate your guests with temporary tattoos.

  • You could give them a t-shirt in school colors or with a photo of the graduate.

  • Baseball caps can be great as guests can take them home afterwards, they could have a photo of the graduate on them.

  • A mask made from the graduate’s photo.

  • Hair in the graduate’s style

  • Jewelry and watch that the graduate would wear

  • Shoes that the graduate always wears.

It's a great idea to have a box of these sitting at your front door so that guests can choose something on their way in. They could even take them home as a party favor. 

Graduation Party Ideas - Hosting

graduation party ideas

Every host can improve the experience of their graduation party guests. Each host probably just needs to think back to the parties they have attended and to what the best hosts actually did. The best host graduation party ideas include:

  • They are at ease, relaxed and smiling throughout the party. If things go a little bit off timetable they just go with it. If things need to get going again they will simply set up a game.

  • They help everyone get started at the graduation party by greeting each guest and making introductions. No one is left to feel alone at a party of strangers.

  • They will be pretty humble and will put guests needs before their own. Their final act of giving graduation party favors will complete their hosting in style.

  • They are calm about any spills.

  • They thank guests for attending the party.

To be a relaxed host probably requires an excellent graduation party plan and that all the hard work has been completed well in advance of the party. Graduation parties always benefit from an enthusiastic host.

Graduation Party Ideas - At Home

Hosting a home graduation party for example is a good graduation party ideas:

  • You get a relaxed and friendly atmosphere

  • You can really make the house and backyard special

  • You have good budget control

  • You can personalize the party to a high level

  • You can prepare well with a big cleaning exercise and freshen up the paint

  • You do need to think through effective parking, and keeping the neighbors happy.

As well as the party decorations, more graduation party ideas are:

graduation party ideas
  • Use garden lanterns to decorate your backyard

  • Chocolate fountain with fruit and berries for dipping

  • Soft drinks fountain with decorative plastic ware glasses

  • Use citronella candles if insects may be a problem

  • Build a dance floor in your backyard

  • Wrap trees and shrubs with safe twinkling lights

  • Rent special equipment like arbors or fountains

  • Use great lighting throughout the venue for effect

Some further useful graduation party ideas are:

  • Freshen up the paintwork

  • Clean thoroughly

  • Fix anything broken or loose

  • Have a fallback plan for bad weather

Graduation Party Ideas - Host The Party With The School

Hosting the party in conjunction with the school can give excellent graduation party ideas. The graduation party ideas that can make it a real winner are:

  • An organisational team can be set up to prepare everything for the party. The idea is to have an excellent plan and have tasks which are assigned to each team member. A committed group can give the planning and preparations real energy and drive.

  • A strong budget to pay for things that an individual party could not afford. That could be entertainers, a marquee or equipment, for example.

  • Volunteers to help with games, clearing up and all the preparation tasks for the graduation party.

  • An excellent venue which can be very well decorated.

  • The vibrant atmosphere that a large party can give.

  • Lots of willing participants in games and activities.

  • The opportunity to hire a security team to keep everyone safe.

  • Perhaps you can find a sponsor and find other ways to raise funds.

The kind of graduation party you set up can be very ambitious, such as a Gala with a real Carnival atmosphere. 

Graduation Party Ideas - Locations

Some great graduation party ideas about locations are:

  • Community Centers or YMCA offering a real blank canvas for your theme decorations and a good sized facilities. You can host a big party at this kind of venue.

  • Tent, there is something special about a Marquee, especially a beautifully decorated one. This can be very flexible, coming in different sizes and you can raise the sides if the weather is good.

  • Country Club which can have a wide range of facilities. The Country club will have lots of expertise hosting parties. For that reason they should be able to give you lots of help on all aspects of the party.

  • which may have a party room. The Health Club may be able to arrange entertainment and games. For example, it may have a swimming pool and a Gym hall. The hall can be used for the party and even activities like aerobics.

  • Apartment Complex party room

  • Church Hall

  • Ballroom

  • The Park offers a great outdoor venue with great flexibility. Let people relax outdoors on a great day. Organize fantastic games, outdoor food and really have fun. The safety of smaller children should be part of your planning, they must be in sight at all times.

  • The Beach is a great place for a Luau and beach party. Be sure you can safely have a party there and can have a lifeguard on duty.

  • Sports Centre - they can often provide a function suite and of course activities. For younger children they will be able to provide soft play and fun things to do.

  • Coffee Shop

  • Restaurant can be great. You may even choose their private room.

  • Theme parks like Disneyland would be out of this world graduation party venues.

  • Local Museum - can be considered as a graduation party location if they have the facilities and can cater for your party.

  • A favorite or sought after vacation spot can be great. Take a small group away to party, do some sight seeing and enjoy just relaxing together.

  • Active Centers such as Paintball, Bowling Alley, Equitation, Swimming Pool, Aquarium or Zoo.

Graduation Party Ideas - Photo Booth

graduation party ideas

One of the most popular graduation party ideas is a Photo Booth. All ages of guest love using a photo booth!

Setting up a photo booth is fun, simple to do and will enhance your party enormously.

Step 1 - Camera

There are a few options which can give you the results you want.

  • Buy photo booth software which can cost about $50 and will give you the 4 pictures you would normally see at a photo booth. This will be loaded onto your PC which you can set up to take the photos. In conjunction with your PC printer you can print out the photos for the eager guests.

  • Buy photo booth software for your Ipad, Iphone or other tablet. For about $1.00 you will get a great app which might print 2x2 format but will still be excellent. You just need to set up your tablet with a photographer and get ready to print the results.

  • Use a standard phone or tablet photo app and take one photo at a time. Guests will still love the fun of it all.

I prefer buying the $1 app and using my Ipad.

Step 2 - The Booth

You can set up your booth in many ways.

  • Simply create a background in a corner of your party and decorate it ready for photos.

  • Using screens you can create a booth style.

  • Hire a booth

I prefer to use screens to create at least the illusion of a booth, although my neighbor built one with plywood.

Step 3 - Decorate The Booth

You can create a well decorated and fun to use photo booth quite easily.

  • The backdrop could be a simple white or colored sheet. From there you can add a simple graduation banner, a photo of the graduate, a chalkboard with a congratulations message, balloons, school colors or the graduate‘s sports shirt, for example. Just make it fun and visually appealing.

  • The booth could also have a national flag.

  • Add graduation items such as caps and scrolls

  • Lighting is important as Photo Booths are lit so there are no shadows. Think about safely lighting the booth.

  • Hang up numbered balloons to show the graduation year.

  • Add seating if you wish

  • You could create a large photo frame which is held in front of the individual or group to make the photo look like it is framed.

Step 4 - Costumes

Guests may like to get into costume for the photo. You can set out a variety of things for them to use:

  • Clothing, which can be the graduate‘s clothing, bright colors, outrageous shirts and shorts, and clothing which fits in with any party theme you have.

  • Wigs and fake beards

  • Plastic glasses, including those very big ones.

  • Make up

  • Costume jewelry

  • Boas and other clothing accessories

Step 5 -Printing and Displaying

It is vital to get the photos instantly. Be sure you are ready to print them off and have a display wall ready too. If you buy the more expensive software you will be able to display them on a screen too.

Guests may want to get a copy sent to their phone and a printed copy to take home. A nice touch would be to give them their photos in a mini scrapbook.

Have fun and test it works before the party day.

Graduation Party Ideas

graduation party ideas

More fun graduation party ideas for you to consider:

  • Set up a Time Capsule. One of the party ideas that lasts a lifetime. Guests can bring something meaningful to put in the time capsule.

  • Ask family to be the paparazzi, taking photos throughout the night. That way more of those special moments will be captured.
  • If you are having a party for your own graduate it may be better to share it with their close friends. Perhaps a bigger budget will give better graduation party ideas.

  • If you have a number of guests from out of town approach a hotel early and arrange some rooms. Let them know on the invite to let you know quickly if they need to hotel room.

  • It is important to keep your guests safe at all times. Please remember to take all required precautions if you are having things like candles, paper lanterns, hot food, hot drinks and active games. Even simple things like making sure the dance floor is dry to ensure no one slips. Take advice from experts and plan to have a brilliant graduation party in safety.

  • The graduate, parents who threw a graduation party last year and the school may be a good source of graduation party ideas. Ask them what they love in a party, what worked for them and what to avoid.

  • You may have arranged a dance floor in your backyard but feel that the rest of our home would be too quiet. We arranged to have background music played in each room. The music was mostly the graduate’s favorite.

  • As early as you can start organizing photos of the graduate. Include photos of them with friends and family. Also look out trophies, award certificates, videos and artwork. It is your own taste that will determine how far you go in displaying all the material.

  • Video everyone as they arrive, asking for comment on the graduate. Play the video later at the party.

  • Have a “This is Your Life” speech with a big red scrapbook. At various points you could introduce a friend or family member to join you and say a few words about the graduate.

  • A long lasting graduation idea is to have a song or poem written for the graduate and played at the party.

  • Create a party newsletter and video of the party. Record all the main events and contribution from guests. Issue a copy to guests or create a private website with all the details.

  • If the graduate loves to play pranks you may like to arrange some at the party. For example, put polish on binoculars and ask guests to use them to try and see something in the distance.

  • The graduate could help welcome guests by making sure they speak to each one. They can thank them for any gifts too.

Graduation Party Ideas - Sharing

Please come back and share your graduation party ideas. I would love to publish your party photos, story and ideas. Simply add your party story here.

I hope your graduation party is a huge success, good luck!

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