Home >> Graduation Party Themes
Choosing a theme for your graduation party is a must!
I hope to give you a great selection of themes with all the invitations, decorating ideas, food, activities and costume ideas you need to create the perfect graduation celebration.
Adults and kids alike love to dress up so getting them to come in costume gives them something in common right from the get-go.
Just click on the thumbnail for all the invites, activities, food, decoration and costume ideas!
Athenian theme party can celebrate graduation and that ancient seat of learning in Athens. What a wonderful combination. Athens has beautiful buildings like the Acropolis and so many more. It also has very welcoming people and the strongest of traditions. The costume can be toga style and reflect the learning environment with ancient scrolls on display and being carried by guests. The decorations can be travel posters, vacation snaps and vacation brochures. You can find Athens based newspapers online to get copies of pages for your party, by permission. You can serve wonderful Greek food and have traditional Greek dancing. The party could be your own tavern. Just add great guests and lots of party decorations.
College, and University, graduation party ideas may benefit from doing something more upmarket. A black tie dinner party set in a castle, for example with the old world atmosphere and antiques could be perfect. You may even try and recreate this look at another venue. The idea is the graduates get to spend real time together, perhaps for the last time. They can gather for age appropriate drinks before the meal and play an icebreaker game. They can eat a sumptuous meal in the dining room and return to the drawing room to talk, play cards and other games and just enjoy being together. If the venue has lots of antiques, beautiful paintings, an antique table, candelabra and a chandelier it could be perfect. Discretely adding the graduate’s photos and other graduation decorations like a banner, balloons and streamers will round off the venue perfectly.
A black and white graduation party certainly is simple thing to do. You can have black and white balloons, banners and streamers. You will have a white table cover with black plates and black and white napkins. However you really can make it stunning with black and white gossamers, 1960's style shapes, black and white photos of some famous stars and of course photos of the graduate. Guests can easily wear black and white clothing or you could make it an expensive looking black tie event. Other things you can use:
High school graduation party ideas could be based on blockbuster movies. There are so many movies to choose from. Guests and hosts can dress up as their favorite character from movies such as Avatar, Star Wars, Titanic, Jaws, Harry Potter and Frozen. Put up posters and any still photos you can find. You may even have some merchandise such as toys, t-shirts, baseball caps or jerseys you can display. You might also display movie items such as clapboards, film reels or even just some cameras. You may be able to show the movie.
Food can be movie food such as hot dogs, popcorn, burgers, fries, candy and sodas.Favors can be movie merchandise, popcorn and maybe tickets to see a movie.
The one of the graduation party themes looks fantastic with a first class liner and a Bon Voyage theme. Wonderful theme letting everyone say goodbye in a fabulous setting. Decorate the venue as a Liner with deck chairs, first class service, fake cocktails, waiters, and travel pictures of liners. Think of a Cruise Ship like the Royal Caribbean liners or Queen Elizabeth. They give images of luxury travel. You might be able to emulate that with travel posters, ships images with anchors, life preservers, charts and a plan of the ship. Set up formal dining with white table covers, formal cutlery and crockery. Have menus and place cards. Serve starters, mains and desserts or a fabulous buffet. Play ships games like Quoits and Horse Shoe Toss. You might be able to display an old style travel hamper with travel stickers on it.
Choose a color or colors for the theme. That could be the graduate’s favorite color or school colors for example.
Decorations: cover the venue in the right colored balloons, tinsel, Gossamers, table covers, napkins, plates, bunting, place cards, and lighting.
Costumes: Guests can simply wear the right colored t-shirt, jersey or baseball cap, for example. However there are other choices such a Police Officer’s uniform for blue.
Food: Colored M&Ms, drinks, Jell-O, plus cakes and cupcakes with colored frosting and fondant.
Favors: Colored pens and pencils, cupcakes, tags, and bags.
Games: Play Red or Black. Treasure Hunt: hide colored items around the venue and give everyone a list of items to find. Colored Items: give guests a piece of paper and a pen. They get 2 minutes to write down every item they can think of in the color. Color Transfer - fill a tray with different colored balls or M&Ms, the player has to transfer only the right colored ball to a second tray. The player who transfers the most wins. T-shirts - the player who puts on the most colored t-shirts in a minute wins. Jar - fill a jar with M&Ms and each guest guesses the number of M&Ms in the jar. The closest guess wins!
The invites could be tickets to the party.
The party could be decorated to create a concert. Set up a stage with the instruments and of course performers, plus great lighting. The stage backdrop can have the graduation party details or picture of the graduate. The audience can have seating facing the stage. Decorate all round with graduation balloons, tinsel, streamers and photos.
Favors could include a ‘programme’ of the concert with the names of the performers. T-shirts with the name of the performing group, plus baseball caps would be great.
Food can be served just like the food franchises at a concert or intermission snacks at a classical music concert.
Costumes can be clothing for the band or even formal attire for a classical quartet.
If the graduate is in a band they can play for some of the party. The band would be the theme of the party with concert tickets for invitations. The band's posters, promotion material, t-shirts, caps, and tour dates can be the decorations and favors.
You could hire a classical quartet if the graduate loves this kind of music. They can play, for example, chamber music plus the graduate's favorites. The invitations can be concert tickets. The venue can be set up to take in the concert recital and have a separate area for food and drinks at the breaks just like a real concert venue.
If the graduate was involved in school plays during the school year you can have a drama party. Borrow props from the school and have the graduate and friends put on short plays representing the best part of each of the plays.
The invites could be tickets to the Theater to see the drama play.
The party could be decorated to create a theater. Set up a stage with a curtain, lighting, props and the stage decorations. Mix graduation and decorations on the play. The play can have posters, still photos and programmes. The audience can have seating facing the stage. Decorate all round with graduation balloons, tinsel, streamers and photos.
You might create a backstage area with mirrors, lighting, and make-up artists.
Helpers can have the theater uniform and play the part of ticket collectors and all the theater staff.
Favors could include a ‘programme’ of the play with the names of the performers.
Food can be served just like the intermission snacks at any play, along with drinks.
Costumes can be for the performers in the play.
If the graduate is intending travelling around Europe you can have a European party. European food and drinks from the countries the graduate will visit would be good. Plot a map of the graduate's route. Set out as many European travel type decorations as you can from brochures, postcards, magazines and newspapers. Display flags from each country and travel luggage. Guests can dress in the costume of their favorite country. You can serve food from each country on your buffet. Have lots of European style music again representing the countries the graduate will see.
Extreme challenge parties are exciting.
The invites could be flyers for the extreme challenges. You could have mountaineering or even make them a twist on life and have life’s extreme challenges (such as college, job interviews, parenting, keeping fit, eating well and finding a partner) on them.
The decorations can have lots of climbing and camping gear, maps, compasses, posters and photos.
Costumes are simple. Guests can dress as climbers with their safety gear, boots, hats, rucksacks and ropes.
Food could be camping style, Barbecue and lunchbox.
Part of the celebrations could be to try out an extreme sport or use the sports center facilities.
Celebrate the famous comedians both past and present. Guests can dress as their favorite comedian. They can also play the part of the comedian during the party and could even perform a short routine. The party can have lots of posters, DVDs showing and other memorabilia that celebrate the famous comedians and also the graduate.
Set out this party as a catwalk or fashion shoot, or both. The invitations can be tickets to the catwalk or instructions to come to the fashion shoot.
For costumes you could ask guests to design their own fashion, all ready for the photo shoot or trip down the catwalk. Guests can simply create their design using their own clothing.
Decorations will depend on the style of party. A catwalk is simple to set up with lots of balloons, streamers, glitter balls, and an entrance. The photo shoot just needs lights, cameras and a stage with curtains and perhaps a chair. Set up a photo shoot and ask guests to show their best pose. Helpers can be assistants, the photographer, news reporters, lighting team and make-up artists.
If you can, find catwalk posters from London, Paris, Milan and New York. Also decorate with photos and images of famous catwalk models.
Have an MC to host the catwalk.
Food could be location food for a photo shoot, serving burgers, hot dogs, coffee, donuts and ice cream. A catwalk theme might serve a buffet with finger foods.
Everyone wants to be a cool fire fighter. Shape the invitations like a fire truck and use wording like
Roll Call is at (time/date).
Costume is fire fighter.
Decorations - use fire fighter posters and photos, plus movie posters from Backdraft. For equipment use your garden hose and buy lots of cheap soft plastic hats and fire-fighter’s axes to give to guests. A bell to ring for a fire would be great and you can use it to let everyone know the food is served.
Food - serve food fire fighters would receive at a fire location from trucks like burgers, hot dogs and coffee
Particularly for the graduate who has studied french or has french ancestry. Graduation party ideas celebrating all that is brilliant about France can be amazing. Lots of french travel posters, pictures and postcards on all that Paris has to offer. Also french newspapers, magazines, food and drinks will make a real french atmosphere. You may even hire a french bistro for the evening.
You may still be able to find Friends themed cards you can use as invitations.
Decorations - use lots of posters and photos from the show. That includes the set and the actors. Perhaps you can create your own Central Perk coffee shop (or hire a local one). You might also be able to create the set with sofa from their living room.
Since the theme is all about friends put up lots of photos, memorabilia and notes about the graduate and their friends. The pictures can be of all ages showing the changes in them all and how much they have grown together.
Produce a directory of e-mail addresses, phone numbers and college addresses. Give out postcards with the graduate's address to each of their friends so they can let each other know their new location.
Food - can be coffee shop food which will mainly be cakes but you might stretch that to pizza and baguettes.
Invites could be about predicting the future or the graduates proposed future, great if it is definite such as college, law, medicine, or business for example.
The predicting part can be covered by a crystal ball type of invite.
Decorations as well as all the usual excellent decorations you can have a focus on the future. If college is the way ahead then have college type decorations such as pennants, banner, t-shirts, jerseys, campus pictures and any other promotional material. The same can be done for a vocation, major subject and intended career. Bring the graduates way forward to life for the guests.
Of course for predictions you can have fun. The guests can predict the future for the graduate. The graduate can say what their big ambition is. Predictions can cover college, city they will live in and career they pursue in the end.
The predictions could be separated into categories. In the future the graduate will have a great life by having a great career, adventures, living in great places, having amazing vacations, enjoying special times with family and friends, celebrating successes, experiencing college and university, pursuing their favorite hobby or sport, and making time to relax. Guests can predict which things the graduate will achieve. For example:
Become a successful Dentist
Trek to Machu Pichu
Vacation in Hawaii
Never miss a family Xmas and Thanksgiving
Graduate from Midtown College
Live in Seattle
Run 4 times a week
Be a parent to 2 children
Favors – predict the future with the favors. College spirit items would be good, for example, baseball caps and t-shirts. Also consider the graduate’s career with say a stress ball customized for their career.
Costumes – reflect the future for the graduate so that could be dressing as a doctor, for example, or wear college items.
Future Predictions Game
A games party can be great if the graduate and their friends love playing games. If they have a favorite you can theme the party on that one. Games - the games may be board games, online gaming, pool, darts, sports, party, cards or pinball, for example. Your location can have a great variety of games to play. You can have an overall games champion certificate.
Decorations - the games themselves are part of your decorations. Fill the party with games boxes, completed jigsaws, books on games, and computer games. You might be able to find some sales posters for the games too. The rest of the decorations can be about the graduate and graduation.
Food - finger foods, snacks and a buffet would be the simplest and best option.
Favors - give guests a game to take home!
This party is all about the games. Make it competitive and have prizes. It is also a party, so have fun games such as Twister and Pin The Tail.
A Garden Party can be a great way for everyone to socialize in a relaxed and comfortable environment.
Invites - Simple garden themed party invites are perfect. Pictures of flowers or a beautiful garden, or even better your own garden would be excellent. Put the party details on the back and you have a great invite.
Decorations - first make your garden perfect. Tidy each tree, shrub, plant, grass and path in your garden. Decorate some trees and shrubs with Xmas tree lights. Put ribbons on shrubs. Add bunting to fencing. Create a seating area beside a food preparation and serving area. Have some cover for hot weather with umbrellas. Create flower displays. Some guests and helpers may be keen gardeners and they could show their plants and flowers in a display. Line pathways with safe battery "candles" and hang up paper lanterns.
Food - serve a buffet and add Barbecue.
Favors - giving plants, plant seeds, gardening gloves and hats, and flowers would be in keeping with the theme.
Games - garden games can include lawn twister, finding hidden treasure you buried earlier, croquet, horse shoe toss and quoits.
Have a graduation party that highlights Green issues. The whole theme is about being Green. You could set up the party as a charity fund raising party. There are lots of ways of setting the graduation party out and also for guests to be dressed. You can have photos, posters and information on lots of real issues:
You can set up an area which covers each issue. You can use recycled cups and plates, have lots of recycling bags available for the waste. Also you can have only recycled bottles. You can keep lighting to a safe minimum to save energy. Indeed there are lots of things you can do to promote the Green theme.
Food - source locally all the food. A buffet of local produce would be excellent.
Favors - using a recyclable bag, give ‘green’ crayons, paper and fair-trade products.
After the famous TV show you can have themed graduation party ideas. The trick is to decorate your venue just like an exclusive NYC apartment with vintage dining table and cutlery, candles and also drapes. Guests can attend as characters from the show.
You may be able to find Harry Potter themed invitations.
Decorations - you will be able to find Harry Potter themed posters and stills from the movies. Make sure to cover all the films and the main characters, Harry, Hermione, Ron, Voldermort, Hagrid, and Dumbledore.
Cover books and write Spellbook on them. Fill jars with colored water and label them Magic Potions. Buy cheap wizard hats and broomsticks. Cut out from black card, hat, cat and bat shapes and hang them up.
The movie merchandise also covers plates, cups, mugs, t-shirts, toys and towels.
Helpers can dress as characters and perform magic tricks.
Table - could be a long table with candelabra. Serve school dinners food. You might serve colored drinks and label them as magic potions.
Favors - simply give some of the excellent Harry Potter merchandise.
A horse racing or show jumping theme can help you set up a really engaging party.
Invites - can be tickets to the Race Day or show jumping event.
Decorations - Display great posters of great horses and their riders. For racing you can also have posters of famous race tracks and memorable moments. Sea Biscuit and Secretariat are examples of the famous horses.
Display horse tack, horse shoes, riding gear, racing colors, bales of hay, trophies and ribbons. You may even have room to put up jumps.
Display signs such as the Paddock, Owners area, Jockey Club and Horse Stables.
Food can be based on the food served at tracks such as ice cream hot dogs, burgers, fries, chilli, tea and coffee.
Games - Have pony rides, play horse shoe toss, use brushes and add boots for horses heads which you use to race round a track, pinata and give ribbons for trophies.
Let the music dictate the graduation party style. Use Jive music to take you back in time and relive those golden days. Energetic graduation party ideas will give you a vibrant party. The fashions of the era will determine the costume your guests wear. The decorating styles will also be strong. See what you can borrow or hire from this era. Also find lots of movie posters and pictures of the musical and movie stars.
Celebrate the life of the graduate and everyone who is special to them. Focus on the special memories from their life so far.
The invites could have photos of the graduate at various stages in their life.
The party can be full of great decorations. Make bunting using photos of the graduate through the years. A tribute board is a must with photos of the graduate. Of course you can also have photos of the graduate with guests to show how important they are. Balloons can have photos on them too! The table can have a photo centerpiece
Memorabilia - for a party themed on memories the graduate’s memorabilia is an essential part of the decorations. Create a special area with scrapbooks, awards, pennants, toys, soft toys, games, favorite food, books, clothing, photos of vacations and school days, tickets to concerts, and anything that has meant so much to the graduate or been a special moment. You might be able to honor your guests with memorabilia involving them.
Special Moments - hopefully you can find memorabilia that celebrate special moments. Xmas, Thanksgiving, family events, winning prizes, time with best friends, first day at school, school plays, concerts, funny moments, picnics and days out can be great subjects.
How Life Has Changed - take a look at how life has changed over the years. Photos of the graduate through the years are a great start. Also Photos of family, friends, the local area, family automobiles, TV, stereo, home, clothing and vacations.
You may also be able to display through the years food packaging, clothing, TV, CDs, movie posters, and newspapers.
Costumes can be a tribute to the graduate with guests wearing the graduate’s usual style. They might even be able to copy the graduate’s hair style. The graduate may have had some famous fashion disasters which can be copied!
Favors - Give guests favors that will evoke great memories of the graduate. The simplest thing to do is give photos and photo frames with a photo tag. Photos can also be put onto mugs, pens and t-shirts for example.
Create Memories - create memories at the party. Start to giving guests disposable cameras to take lots of photos as they go and also make sure to get copies of any photos they take on their own camera. Guests can sign the guest book and leave a special message for the graduate.
Invites - add images of a pool or even a life preserver. A simple invite is a printed photo of the graduate by the pool which you write the invite details on the back.
Decorations - If you have a pool available add pool toys (beach balls, inflatable sharks, dolphins, squirt guns) for example) plus floating candles, if you can do that safely. Add safety lighting around the pool and hang bunting. Put tables and chairs by the pool and set out towels.
Food - a Barbecue by the pool would be good, or set up an outdoor buffet table. Serve lots of cool drinks. Pails with ice and drink bottles in them will help guests stay cool.
Games - have swim races, aqua-aerobics and synchronized swimming.
Favors - Pool toys, swim wear, swimming goggles and a pool towel could make good favors.
Make sure this party is safe. Have lighting and electrical items checked for safety.
Serve your guests a feast at your Roman Toga Party. You can set the party up as a Festival or Feast.
Invites - could be Scrolls, which would be fitting. Write out the invite details or print one of the free printables. Roll the paper as a scroll and tie with a red ribbon.
Colors - a white and gold or white and purple color scheme for the party would be fitting. For example, with a gold color you can spray dried flowers in gold.
Costumes - simple togas made from bed sheets or fabric. Decorate with Latin lettering and perhaps a purple border.
Masks - display the tragedy/comedy masks which you could spray gold colored.
Signs - Sings for areas of the party such as the food area, toilet and garden could be in Latin.
Standards - make Standards with Latin lettering such as SPQR.
Find - posters and drawings of Roman Urns, pitchers, vases, helmets, centurions and buildings. Also oil burning lamps and velvet.
Crafts - cut out the shape of eagles, helmets, spears and vases from card and spray them in gold paint.
Banners - create banners with the graduation details on bed sheets. You might be able to add a gold or purple border.
Backdrop - If you can design a large mural which can be the backdrop. A scene such as a Roman Building could look very good.
Gods - pay tribute to the gods with posters and any ornaments you can borrow.
Party - decorate with balloons, streamers, tinsel and cut out graduation caps, plus scrolls to give the party a fun feel.
Food - try and create a feast with lots of fruit, olives, pitta bread, fruit juice and cooked meats. Serve the food on gold plates and drinks in gold cups.
Games - the Romans loved board games so set out some games like Ludo.
Treasure Hunt - In honor of the Roman passion for hunting in their spare time, set up a treasure hunt. You can hide a number of Roman style items around the venue. Cut out from card Roman urns, vases, swords, helmets and spears. Also hide posters of Emperors, Centurions, Legionnaires, Buildings and a picture of the Senate. Guests can use their I-Phones to picture the items and win their prize for completing the game.
A neat alternative version is to put a letter on each item. Guests must rearrange the letters they find to form a word. You may use Julius Caesar if you have 12 treasure hunt items. Other great words to use would be Centurion, Emperor, Augustus, Spartacus or Legionnaire.
This is a fun party if you have lots of hands on scientific experiences.
Invites - simply need to have a microscope as the picture and graduation scientist party wording.
Costumes - guests can easily dress in a lab coat. A mad scientist complete with Einstein hair would be excellent.
Decorations - display Periodic Tables, science equipment, posters of Einstein, blackboards full of equations, and safety glasses. Fill jars with colored water and label them as experiments.
Displays - show experiments by trained helpers if you can do this safely. Safely make a hollowed out mound of earth in the backyard, fill it with baking soda and add vinegar for your own volcano.
Food - most labs will have a restaurant, probably self service. You could have a buffet or try and emulate a self service restaurant.
If the graduate is travelling around USA, or abroad, you could have a traveler party.
Invites - they can show the place the graduate is visiting, be postcards from that area, show a map or even the route the graduate will take. A very simple invite is to photograph the graduate in the costume of the country or dressed as a traveler with case. Then just write the invite details on the back.
Decorations - set out a large map with the route the graduate will take or the place they are going to. Display traveler things like cases, maps, sun screen, hats, clothing, rucksack, passport and any visas. Display posters or the places to be visited and any postcards or tourist information you can find. Display photos of the areas and the people.
The table centerpiece can have flags from the countries.
Favors - give favors that represent the places the graduate will visit if you can. That may be local candy, guide book, t-shirts or hats. Use travel bag tags as the favour tags. Food - simply serve food from the areas the graduate will visit.
Cake - decorate the cake with the colors of the country.
Even more graduation party themes are:
Some further graduation party themes ideas may help you to set up the perfect graduation party.
I hope these graduation party themes help you to have the best party possible!