High School Graduation Party Ideas

High School Graduation Party Ideas - 29 Tips to Create an Unforgettable Event

High school is a memorable time for every young adult, and finishing up those four years is a worthy reason to celebrate. We’ve gathered up 29 high school graduation party ideas that will help you create a unique and unforgettable that all your guests will love!

High School Graduation Party Ideas: Planning

Planning a High School Graduation Party

1. Ask Your Grad for Opinions

Your grad’s big day is coming up and you want to plan the big graduation party but the first step to having the perfect party for them is to ask what they want. Find out their interests and what kind of party they want the most and what sort food the grad wants to see on their big day.

2. Date and Time

Choosing a date and time can be tricky as many of your grad’s friends will be having a party of theirs around the same time as well. Special days surround graduation time such as Mother’s day and Memorial day so be sure to take that into account. One last thing to make sure of is to book any special locations in advance as they will be in high demand Be sure to get out those grad party invites.

3. Party Budget

Have everything in mind that you wish to spend money on and then list off what you need to spend to have each item. Expenses can add up fast so be sure to plan ahead. Do it yourself decorations can make a drastic difference in price as well as having the party at home in your backyard.

4. Craft a Menu

Design a menu of all of your grad’s favorite foods. Use food coloring to turn all your food and drink into their school colors. If you want to be really creative, you can create cupcake displays of in the shape of the graduation year that doubles as a fun decoration.

High School Graduation Party Ideas: Decorations

High School Graduation Party Decoration Ideas

5. Photo Backdrop or Booth

Is it really a graduation party if there is no designated area for kids to take selfies? A graduation backdrop or photo booth will allow for a fun place to take Instagrammable photos as well as enhance the overall look of the party.

6. Balloons

What’s a celebration without balloons? Balloons are a cheap and easy way to transform any space into a beautifully themed party venue. Hang balloons of the school colors from the ceiling or find one of those large numbered balloons in the shape of the graduation year.

7. Photo Banners

High school graduation is a time to realize how much time has passed, and there is no better way to show it than a banner of all years of school pictures hung up for everyone to see. Just remember to ask your grad permission beforehand. Not everyone loves looking back at their awkward teenage years!

8. Graduation Photo Board

Boards with pictures of your grad’s special moments throughout life so far can and should be shown off to everyone at the party. Pinning them up on a large bulletin board or hanging them along clothing lines makes for the perfect graduation decorations!

9. Tassel Garlands

Tassel garlands are an affordable and colorful hanging decor that can bring the room to life. They’re also super easy to make yourself. All you need is some tissue paper, thin ribbon, and a line to hang them on. There are numerous YouTube videos and image tutorials to help you make DIY garlands in minutes!

10. Graduation Cap Decor

Want to really tie the grad party together? Use graduation themed straws that have miniature graduation caps clipped on them and graduation cap balloons.

High School Graduation Party Ideas: Party Favors

High School Graduation Party Favors

11. Personalized Candies

Send your grad’s guests off with a bag of personalized candy assortments with your grad’s initials or high school logo inscribed on the candy. Or have a candy bar with treats that match the high school colors so guests can design their own candy party favor.

12. Picture Frames

Ever wanted more centerpiece ideas for graduation parties? Picture frames are a great way to showcase memories with friends from high school. You can spray-paint the frames and then paint the graduation date on the bottom or stamp the grad’s name. You can add photos, too and easily makes great centerpieces for a grad party. 

13. Homemade Treats

If you love to bake, then this idea will be a breeze to do! Get out your cookie cutters and decorating utensils. Use food coloring and candies to decorate cookies, cupcakes, and other desserts. Wrap up individual treats in colorful cellophane and add a couple of ribbons. Voila, you have great giveaways! 

14. Personalized Pens

For a touch of thoughtfulness, inscribe small pieces of paper with inspirational messages, and roll them up. Take apart the personalized pens and insert a paper into each one, making sure to let your guests know to check for the hidden messages inside. You can purchase fun glitter-filled pens, light-up pens, pens topped with graduation caps, etc. They could be engraved with “Grad 20XX” as well. One of the best 20XX graduation decorations!

15. Koozies

Can cooler sleeves can be customized to include each person’s name. Other ideas can be incorporating the graduation date, high school colors, students’ names, or add a funny quote. If you have names put on them, you can use them to direct people where to sit by leaving them on the table. That way, guests can keep track of their drinks. 

16. Keychains

There are so many keychain charms out there that can relate to your graduate. Do they play sports, like music, or plan to study a certain profession? Find bracelet charms that relate to the grad and give them to the guests. 

17. T-Shirts

Customized t-shirts can have “Class of 20XX” written on them, “Class Dismissed,” or you can play off the movie and copy the font and color of “The Graduate.” Symbols like the high school’s mascot, logo, or graduation caps and diplomas would also work, too. For an extra special touch, add each guest’s last name on the back of the t-shirt. Roll the shirts up in between white paper and tie them with a ribbon to imitate a diploma. 

18. Dog Tags

These can be bought in a large array of colors, such as your high school colors, and can be customized with a specific message, left generic with the year, or each guest can decorate them at the table. Dog tags are a good way to honor a grad that plans to enroll in the military.         

19. Bead Bonanza

Before and during your celebration, hand out shiny Mardi Gras beads in the school colors. Also, offer metallic hues like gold and silver to add some visual interest. Guests will have fun seeing how much they can collect and wearing them throughout the party. Also, drape beads across tables, chairs, and other furniture to make the space pop.

High School Graduation Party ideas: Games

High School Graduation Party Games

20. History

Many things have occurred in the past four years of high school, but who thinks they know all the events of some of the most meaningful things that happened with just the date? Scan through Facebook and Instagram to identify dates of important events. Have people take guesses as to when an event happened. You may be surprised with what you end up reminiscing about. 

21. Wise Guise

Some people’s pictures are obvious to some and leave others clueless as to who it could be. Could you match someone’s baby picture, grade school picture, or other childhood pictures to the person they are today? Give each person a picture of a person from when they were in school and have them find the person it belongs to. Each picture has a story behind it.

22. Ransom

Imagine that graduation prizes were seized and are being held for ransom!  The only way to retrieve them is by doing what the ransom note says. Follow the clues and riddles to unlock the mystery of where your cherished treasure is hidden. Clues and riddles can pertain to things related to the graduating student. 

23. I Mustache You Something

Find one of your grad’s favorite or least favorite teacher’s pictures and have it enlarged to life-size. Find a package of different shaped mustaches for each person playing to use. Have them blindly try to place the mustache on the teacher. It makes for one of the best games for grad parties! 

24. Amnesia

Tape the name of a high school teacher to the back of each fellow graduate. They each get 5 questions to ask before they make their predictions out loud as to what teacher they think they are. Anyone who guesses correctly gets entered into a drawing to win a nice prize.

25. Who’s Who Game

When guests arrive at the graduation party, put a name-tag on their back with the name of one of the teachers. Don’t let them see what is written on the name-tag. As they circulate throughout the party, they can find out what teacher they are by asking questions that can be answered with a yes or no. 

26. Treasure Quest

For this activity, create clues from things you know about the student, whether it’s about their hobbies, interests, friends, or school-related. These clues will act as a map that will lead each group of treasure seekers to a desirable, hidden treasure.

27. Time Capsule

Have all your child’s guests bring along a memento of their from high school days. Once they’re all collected, pack them into a time capsule for them to open at their high school reunion!

28. Piñata

Piñatas aren’t just for birthday parties. Piñatas can be a fun activity for any event. Order one in the shape of a graduation cap or buy a birthday one and spray-paint it the high school colors.

29. Events

Have the student pick out some significant events from their agendas and the dates of these events. Some fun ones could be the first day of high school, the first time they drove to school, embarrassing moments, dances, sporting events, last day of school, and so on. Have the guests speculate as to what event occurred by reading only the date. 


Whatever you end up doing for your grad on their special day, be creative, ask for their opinion, and don’t be afraid to go big because they only graduate from high school once! We hope this list of 29 high school graduation party tips and ideas will help you create a unique event that your grad will remember forever!

Written by Alicia Bell, Natalie Smallwood, and Annie Replogle

Edited by Wyeth Ward and Becky Smith

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