Need Graduation Party Ideas!

Updated on June 30, 2019
T.H. asks from Vancouver, WA
15 answers

I mean, I look on pinterest from time to time to get some ideas and they have some great ones. I would love though to hear some things you have done for yours.
What are some things you have done for you graduating kiddos?
My oldest daughter graduates HS next year and I want to throw her a badass graduation party!

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So What Happened?

@RealityChick, I'm not sure why it would be tacky really but I can see the point about all her friends in the same grad class and how it may be awkward for them in a sense. Thank you for replying.
@MilitaryMom 6, I love the trip idea. Didn't think of that. I also love the idea of focusing on the collage colors vs the HS colors. Thanks for the input.

@mamazita I love the photo idea! Thanks.

UPDATE as of July 2nd.
Thank you to everyone for your thoughts and ideas. I'm not going to list each person by screen name and reply, but I think there are a few of you who are a bit uptight with how I talk. It's a real shame to those who feel like everyone must be the same in how they talk, communicate, discuss, or go about things in general.
I simply asked for suggestions/ideas to what you mamas have done. "Badass" absolutely!! I don't want to throw a dull party. I have yet to do one, ain't going to start now. Would it have been better to type bada$$ for ya'll?
As for which ever mom mentioned how my daughter is not the only one graduating HS... You're clever and are absolutely right! However, all the other kids graduating, are not MY kids. By all means, all the other parents, to all the other HS kids graduating, should certainly throw their kids a party too or do whatever they want to do for their kids.
Anyhow though, thank you all for responding, and even much bigger thank you to those who actually gave real thoughtful ideas vs the smart ass type answers.

Featured Answers



answers from Philadelphia on

A friend just had a graduation for her daughter with a live band. She had a stage built for the band to play in her backyard. Pretty badass! This mom also planned the party 2 weeks before graduation so everyone could attend. My brother had his son’s party right before he left to go to college in August. That worked too. And there was nothing awkward about other grads attending graduation parties. You could always put on the cake “Congratulations Sarah and the class of 2020”. It honestly don’t think anyone cares.

4 moms found this helpful

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answers from Norfolk on

Throwing graduations parties with high school friends can be difficult in that they all happen at about the same time so friends have a hard time attending because they have parties of their own.
Mostly family, family friends and neighbors do graduation parties and many will give some money to help with getting set up for college.
Also, with high school ending generally in June and college starting generally mid August - and college orientation happens sometime during that summer - it's a really short summer - in our son's case just 9 weeks - to get prepared for dorm life and leaving home.
Don't make that summer too complicated.

Our son didn't want a graduation party so we did a nice dinner out.
My sister took her daughter on a 2 week trip to Amsterdam and Paris as a graduation present.

It's great that you are thinking about this a year in advance.
It gives you plenty of time to plan things out.
I'm sure she'll love what ever you do.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Lots of food, friends and family. Balloons and other decor in high school colors, cake in color/theme of the college they were going to. Large collage of photos, birth through graduation (our school had us do this for grad nite so I just used it again for the party.) A pretty basket or box for cards/$.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

We did like a then, now, future theme, with kindergarten photos, senior photos and stuff for the college she was accepted to. We also focused more on college colors rather than her graduating class colors (I mean every party we went to already had those colors so I personally wanted something a little different).

We didn't go overboard on the parties, rather we kept them simple and saved the money to take each of the kids on a special once in a lifetime trip after graduation instead. Honestly, my kids treasured the memories of that trip WAY more than their graduation party. In fact, if I had it to do over again, I would even pare the party down more and focus on the trip since that was such a big highlight for all my kids. We also know a number of parents who skipped doing a grad party altogether in favor or something big like a trip or a car.

Good luck!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

How about you could ask your daughter on what she likes as an almost high school graduate.

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answers from Dallas on

There is no need for a "badass"party. She is not the only person to graduate HS.

Ask HER what she would like to do? It is about her.

My 24 yr old has no interested in a party for HS or college graduation.
For HS, she was going to a college not far away. We bought a condo for her in a nice area of town, not far from college and not far from us. She LOVES it and still lives there as it is now a short commute to her dream job post college.
College graduation was more emotional as her dad (my husband) died suddenly her Sophomore year. After graduation, I sent her on a trip to Norway to visit a dear friend for a couple of weeks. She loved it and plans to go back.

I believe in giving experiences.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

My nephew recently graduated h. s. His mom rented a giant bouncy water slide. A dry bounce house. had tons of food yard games and invited anyone and everyone. His whole class was invited. she set it up from 1pm-9pm and told people to stop by whenever it was best for them. It was open house.
All ages loved the water slide. The littles did the bounce house. The decor was pictures on black and gold (h.s. Colors) pictures were from kinder thru senior year and included accomplishments.
While I would not describe it as badass... It was a pretty epic grad party considering my h. S. Grad party was old people and food. Nothing fun about it.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Tampa on

I have a son in 8th and 7th so I have a little time before they finish HS. But honestly I would do a nice trip or cruise ( invite few of her closest friends. If it’s to Europe you need to chaperone and probably anywhere else) or a nice piece of jewelry or a watch ( if she is into fashion and designer things) or maybe a down payment on a car.

Party is great but honestly waste of $. A lot of kids have their party so at some point you go from one party to another and they are all the same. Plus when they are done and over with - that’s it. But a trip ( to me) is not something kids can afford until they are well on their feet... so much more memorable. Just like a car or a nice jewelry. Lots of luck!

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answers from Washington DC on

to throw a badass party for a kid this age i' the kid what they'd like.

we took ours out to dinner, i think.


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answers from New York on

I would not use the word "tacky" but I agree that it can be "awkward" to invite her classmates unless you strike the tone of celebrating "THEM" as a group. Some high school graduation parties can make fellow grads feel like they need to bring the party girl a gift...even though they just did the same achievement of graduating!!

Having a conversation to get other parents on board with planning one huge group party, is not a bad idea.

Or do a family party.

ETA: If you want to do a "badass" party where your daughter is queen for a day, maybe you are a parent who should do a Sweet Sixteen party or something similar. But a "badass" graduation party sounds like you are trying to make that event all about her but inviting her friends ("badass" does not sound like a party for relatives) should just tread carefully.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

ask your daughter what she wants. this is HER graduation party.

I don't get the need for "badass".

My oldest graduated 2 years ago. He's at the Citadel now. He didn't want a "party". He wanted his two best friends and our family to go to Disneyworld. That's what we did. It was expensive!! Thank God for military discounts!!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from San Diego on

It would be very tacky to have a HS graduation party for your daughter and invite her friends who also graduated HS. Totally lame and a bit embarrassing. Family only would be fine.

It would seem more appropriate to have a big bash for all her friends all together making it a group party coordinating with other parents. You could get a mega bash this way.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I would want to know what the custom is in your kid's school. My kid's high school friends spread the parties out over the whole summer because there were so many, and kids had different social circles so not all kids attended the same ones. So, chances are your party date/time will conflicts with about 10 others, so be aware of the conflicts.

I don't think kids care as much about themes as some parents do. If you spend a fortune and the kids just roam in and roam out, and your daughter heads out after an hour to someone else's house because "all my friends are going," how will you feel? And if you go way over the top with a badass entertainment blowout, you may attract kids who aren't even her friends. Then the guest list swells and you can't control it. All you need is 4 kids sneaking beer and vodka into a big crowd, getting in a car drunk, and having a tragedy. We've had a few instances in surrounding towns where large and uncontrolled parties end in a pretty bad situation, including vandalism, property damage, and parents brought up on liquor charges, so be careful to define what "badass" means and how it filters out beyond your daughter's immediate social circle.

We had a party in our back yard, and my son hooked up some outdoor speakers to blast their music. We had the usual party foods, some kids brought a corn hole game, and the kids threw frisbees around the back yard. They had a blast. Other families had a party around a pool if they had one or were in a neighborhood association that let them reserve the pool and patio area, others did a BBQ in the park. I don't know if these qualified as badass parties but the kids had fun at all of them.

I would get a few ideas and ask your daughter what she wants, but it may be that you will just be a few weeks away before she decides (after she hears what others are doing).

We found that it was not the custom to give gifts because it would have been families basically trading cash - "I give your kid $25, you give my kid $25. Lather Rinse Repeat." There were some gifts from relatives but, honestly, the graduating kid didn't have as much time to spend with them because there was a house full of friends too.

College colors are fine - we did that with tablecloths and napkins etc. Remember that not all her friends are going to college so be careful you aren't rubbing anything in. In our town, people often have banners made that say "Congrats, Jillian, Class of ___" or they use bedsheets and fabric paint, and hang them out the 2nd story windows, but it's not everyone. And our local police remind people who advertise that they have a graduating senior to have someone watch the house during the grad ceremony, because families have just advertised, "We're not home."

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I don't think it would be tacky. My niece had a graduation party this year and invited her friends. Some came for the entire even, some came late and some left early. There is nothing wrong with having a graduation party.

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answers from Denver on

When my son graduated, we just assumed (correctly, it turned out) that his friends would all be hopping from house to house. So I just issued invitations to a loosely structured open house kind of thing. "You're welcome to drop by and celebrate with us from 2 - 6 pm". I had lots of appetizers that didn't need to be served at an exact time, and lots of cold sodas and waters in a cooler, and sure enough, kids and friends drifted in and out. It was fun, with very little pressure.

Then we had a special family dinner with him a few days later.

If you want to throw your daughter a huge party, just make sure it's not on graduation day, or that weekend, because many of her friends will have family from out-of-town, or their families will have scheduled their own events. It's too much conflict. And scheduling a party for before the graduation is just too stressful, because people are trying to fit in photo shoots and pick up relatives from airports and buying last minute things and attend all the senior events.

1 mom found this helpful
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