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How to Plan a Back to School Party: Guest List, Activities and Food

Updated on March 26, 2015

Planning a Great Back to School Party

Who's your teacher going to be? Who's in your class? Did you get (blank) for 4th period? All of these questions evoke excitement in our household. What better way to perpetuate this excitement than getting together with friends before school starts? There's no better way to garner this excitement than to have a party. The first year that we had a back to school party, I thought we'd have it in our cul-de-sac. I quickly came to the conclusion that there were going to be too many families and children and we moved it to a nearby park. Over the years we have perfected the party. It is always a great event and one that all the kids and parents love.

Sending out an Evite

The first year of the party I sent out a mass email invitation. Although this was fine, Evite makes it so much easier to predict numbers and for everyone to see who will be attending. We sent out an evite this year and allowed others to send it out to anyone that we missed. If your party is at a park, numbers aren't an issue. If you decide to have the party at your house or on your block, you may want to limit your guests.

Back to School Evite Invitation

Evite Text

Join us for an end of summer party at Ray Park! We will have a taco truck there for everyone from 5:30-7:00 as well as volleyball, softball, and flashlight tag games. (Don't forget to bring a flashlight!) Bring your drink of choice as well as an appetizer or dessert to share - if you'd like.

If we left anyone off the list, please send on the evite. All are welcome!!

Things to Consider for a Large Park Party

  • Talk to your local Park and Recreation Department to make sure that you don't need to reserve the park space. If someone else has reserved your space, you may need to relocate.
  • Have everyone bring their own drinks and an appetizer or dessert to share.
  • Remind everyone to bring any equipment for games you or the kids would like to play.
  • Send out an Evite at least a week in advance.
  • The weekend before school starts is a great time because most families are in town.

Preparing Food for a Large Party

The first year that we had our party we decided to BBQ at the Park. We later found out that we weren't allowed to do this legally and it was also difficult to pull off, i.e., bringing over grills and food. At the end of the night the grill is usually too hot to transport and when we came back the next morning to retrieve it, it was gone. If you have a park that already has grills and you want to 'que, go for it!

This year we decided to hire a taco truck to come and park at the site. The truck asks for a minimum amount, which should be no problem, and will be there for 2.5 to 3 hours. Along with the taco truck, we ask families to bring their beverages and an appetizer or dessert to share. This was a huge success and most families ate from the truck.

Sports Equipment to Bring to a Park Party

  • Volleyball net and ball
  • Baseball gloves, balls, bats, and bases
  • Hockey equipment (our kids played on the tennis courts)
  • Frisbee (We had a mean game of ultimate frisbee among the dads.)
  • Rubber ball (Kickball is always fun to play. Adults have to kick with their left foot for right handers.)
  • Flashlights for flashlight tag

Activities to Play at a Park Party

We decided to have a little more organization for this party. In previous years we've just asked for the kids to bring flashlights to play flashlight tag (directions for the game are below.) This year we thought it would be fun to set up a volleyball net and for families to bring baseball gloves to play a game of baseball or softball. You can also bring a rubber four square ball to play kickball. Organized games can be a lot of fun, but you may just want to wing it and let the kids just run around and play. I do think the flashlight tag is the highlight of the night for the kids. What child doesn't like playing with a flashlight and tag.

How to Play Flashlight Tag

Flashlight tag is so incredibly fun and our kids and their friends always love this game. Since we have a large group of kids, here are the rules that we use:

  • Predetermine the boundaries of the game. Those that go outside of the boundaries go to the jail spot.
  • Designate a jail spot where those that are caught have to go.
  • Designate three players that are "it". (If you have a small group, you can have one or two "it" players.)
  • If you have small children, they can buddy up with an older child
  • The three "it" players stand at the jail to count out loud to 50. While they are counting all of the other children run and hide.
  • The three "it" players must have their flashlights on at all times. The others carry their flashlights but keep them off so they aren't spotted.
  • When one of the "it" players sees a hider, they flash their light on them and the hider has to go to jail.
  • The players that are in jail can be released by another hider tagging them with their hand.
  • One of the "it" players can guard the jail.
  • The last player that is caught is "it" and can choose two others to be "it" with them.

Overall we had a great night at the park. The only change I would make is that next year I'll send out the Evite a bit earlier. If we make it an annual gig most families will plan for it. There really was very little planning and work for me as the organizer, and all the families really enjoyed it. Have a party experience you'd like to share, please leave a comment below!


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    • Angela Brummer profile image

      Angela Brummer 

      6 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      How cute is this! Really nice article1

    • randomcreative profile image

      Rose Clearfield 

      7 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      This is a great party idea! Wonderful tips and ideas.

    • Robin profile imageAUTHOR

      Robin Edmondson 

      7 years ago from San Francisco

      Thanks, Support Med. The great thing about this party is that you don't need much time to prepare! You could even make the party simpler and have everyone bring food-potluck style. Let us know how it goes if you decide to try it!

    • Support Med. profile image

      Support Med. 

      7 years ago from Michigan

      This is an awesome idea!!! Thanks for sharing!!!! Think I'll give it a try this year - it's pretty close to school starting, but I think it's workable - and will help the kids get somewhat excited about going back to school instead of regretting it. voted/rated

    • Robin profile imageAUTHOR

      Robin Edmondson 

      7 years ago from San Francisco

      Thanks, Matthew. The first year that we had the party was the day that they posted all of the class lists, so it was really fun for the kids to chat about who they got for their teacher. This year this school was really smart and passed out emergency packets early and told the kids their teacher early when they returned their packets. Most kids found out their teachers on Thursday rather than Friday. It still was a great party though! Thanks for reading! ;)

    • J.S.Matthew profile image

      JS Matthew 

      7 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      This is a great idea! I never heard of a going back to school party but it sounds like a great way to generate excitement among the kids. Really great ideas for having fun. Voting up and sharing! Nice job Robin!


    • Robin profile imageAUTHOR

      Robin Edmondson 

      7 years ago from San Francisco

      It really was fantastic; no mess for me to clean up and the food was great! Paul would have preferred to bbq, but he was able to do is low and slow pork the next day. ;)

    • PiaC profile image


      7 years ago from Oakland, CA

      Taco trucks at a party! What a brilliant idea! We have to do that at HubPages sometime!


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