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High School Graduation Party Ideas

Updated on June 14, 2016

Time to Celebrate!

It's a big time for your teen and you need some high school graduation party ideas.

Congratulations on this awesome accomplishment, this is definitely a milestone the both of you will remember forever. But let's still throw a killer party that won't be forgotten!

The Guests

Before we delve into all of the high school graduation party ideas, we first need to consider the guest list. Will this party be a family only event, or are you going to invite your grad's friends too?

Either one can be great, but this may make all the difference when it comes to the theme you choose, as well as whether you should break out the embarrassing baby butt photos. It is a party after all, not a hazing.

The Budget

Yes, dollars and cents. No party would be complete without it. Figure out how you are going to finance the party. I won't go into all of the boring personal finance stuff, but you should have a budget in mind and stick to it. Only you know what you can afford.

What would you rather have?

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Two things to consider when deciding on your party budget:

  1. This is a once in a lifetime event, so it might be worth splurging.
  2. Thrifty party planning can result in a bigger graduation check.

Talk with your graduate to find out what they would prefer; a larger party or a larger payday!

The Theme

Now that you've decided on a budget, it's time to decide on a theme for your high school graduation party!

You can go any which way with the theme. You can go super sentimental and almost do a timeline of your grad's life theme, you can do just a general party with no real theme or you can choose something that your grad loves and theme the party that way.

It might be expensive, but imagine how unforgettable it would be if your grad walked into a party where everyone was dressed up as their favorite cartoon or video game characters.

I'd be stoked if I walked into my house and saw a huge group of "Master Chiefs" wearing party hats and sipping punch.

Theme ideas for your high school graduation party:

  1. School Pride: It's a basic theme idea, but a classic one! Decorate your party in school colors and order the school's mascot made out of cake!
  2. Hollywood Red Carpet: Everyone all dolled up in their best, walking the red carpet! Don't forget to award show acceptance speech!
  3. 70's Throwback: Get ready to catch Disco Fever! Boogie graduation night away with your friends and family at this fun and funky party!
  4. Rock'n Roll'n Graduation: Theme the party around the graduate's favorite band and your party is sure to rock all night long!
  5. Toga Party: Get your high school graduate ready for college life with their first toga party!
  6. Black & White Party: What a classy way to celebrate your grad's big day!

The Decorations

Obviously, decorations will go along with the theme. If you don't have a specific theme in mind, then a general party store should have everything you need including balloons. If you have a more specific theme in mind, then you might need to get out the Google machine and see what you can find.

With sites like Zazzle and other customizable item sites, it won't take long before you find what you need to make the perfect party.

Some party decoration staples you'll want to look for are:

  1. Balloons
  2. Banners
  3. Streamers
  4. Party Balls
  5. Paper Lanterns

If you want to add a personal touch then you can also get items printed custom with your grads picture on them. Sites like Zazzle & Cafepress make this a cinch, and it is also relatively affordable for a low quantity of items versus purchasing from a print shop.

*Note: Buy only from trusted online sites. If you are unsure, then check a website with the Better Business Bureau.


The Music

As much as we might love "The Boss" Springsteen, your grad and their friends may not completely dig it. Use your parental ninja knowledge to craft a playlist that your grad will love. Of course, you can also find some cool techno and hip hop remixes of some of your favorite songs to bring in a bit of fusion.

Ninja Tip: For $10 (less than the cost of a single CD!), you can get a 1 month subscription to, which gives you access to nearly every song ever made.

With Spotify & a smartphone or computer, you can create a custom playlist of songs that will be perfect for the party. It is sure to have your grad's favorite songs- totally commercial free. Make sure you cancel the subscription after or else you'll continue getting billed $10/month.

Here are some songs you might want to include in your party playlist:

  1. "Life Your Life" by Rihanna
  2. "Good Riddance" (Time of Your Life) by Green Day
  3. "Celebration" by Kool and the Gang
  4. "The Climb" by Miley Cyrus
  5. "Graduation Day" by Kanye West

Activities & Games

When it comes to your high school grad's party, activities are best tailored to their interests, but that doesn't mean you can't have a little fun.

Interactive Activities

If you have any experience with PowerPoint, then you can create an awesome presentation that highlights some of the milestones of your grad's life.

You can play the presentation on loop either on a TV or a projector if you have access to one. Another fun activity is a newly-weds style of game where you try to see which friend or relative knows your grad the best. There is sure to be some embarrassing laughter.

If you have a brave crowd, then karaoke is always a fun way to let loose and be embarrassed at the same time. If you can't laugh at yourself...

Party Games

As for games, Corn Hole is extremely popular as well as Bocce Ball. Whatever game you choose, make sure it is easy to learn. You don't want to turn your high school graduation party into a seminar on game rules.

If you want to get a little custom, then you can do renditions of other classic party games: Pin the Graduation Robe on the Grad anyone?

Sky Lanterns

While all of these activities are a hit, I've saved my personal favorite for last. Once the sun sets, imagine each person sending their own sky lantern off into the sky?

This would be both cool and memorable. Sky lanterns are very affordable, and pretty much available at all party stores. Make sure you check your state's laws regarding these as you are sending a torch into the sky. Some states have requirements on the materials used to make them, or some states have them banned entirely.


Party it Up!

I hope I've provided some really useful ideas for your high school graduation party, but ultimately, you'll know your grad best.

If you take their tastes into account, then you're sure to have a hit. I hope the best for your grad, I'm sure they have a very bright future ahead of them.


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