6 Best Graduation Party Ideas Worth Tossing Your Cap For

We took the most popular graduation party favors and graduation party ideas and compiled them here, in a one-stop shop for graduation party planning that is easy and inexpensive. 

Whether your graduate is finishing grade school, high school, or college, a celebration is always in order. You might be hosting a party for an entire class, a group of friends, or one lucky grad. If you’re the parent of a graduate, you’re probably stressed out by a bunch of other things, including summer camps for younger kids, scraping together tuition money, and making sure nothing and no one is forgotten in the chapter closing, life-transitioning mayhem that is graduation.  

With this in mind, we offer you six simple, low-cost, ideas for a graduation party along with graduation party favor ideas that allow for meaningful memory making on a budget.  

1. Grade School, High School, College: To Earn Top Party Grades, Keep It Age Appropriate 

Consider these can’t-miss winners when you need ideas for a graduation party for little kids, “middle kids,” or young adults: 

Grade School Graduation Party Ideas

  • Bounce Houses: A “jumpie” makes every little kids’ party a fun-filled event, and will ensure your graduation bash includes a lot of giggles, and bouncing galore. If you have multiple grades, rent a bounce house for each grade, or separate kids by height between two bounce houses. This helps avoid injuries caused by bigger kids and littler heads colliding in the chaos.
  • Pizza: Make things easy for parents and chaperones by providing easy-to-eat food that most kids either love a lot or like just fine. Pizza is inexpensive and doesn’t require sharp objects or a parent’s help to eat.  
  • Goody Bags with Sweets: Definitely consider a sweet or two for a graduation send-off the little ones won’t forget. (Apologies in advance to all the parents who have to deal with post-party, sugar-driven, whirling dervish child graduates.) Include directions to the nearest park or playground in your souvenir bag to help them run it off before bedtime.  

High School Graduation Party Ideas

  • College Flag: If your graduate is heading off to college, order customized napkins and balloons decorated with their college colors or flag. Add some shine or metallic to say “special” every time. For napkins and balloons, we like these:

Foil Stamped Colored Beverage Napkins 

11″ Balloon – Metallic Colors 

  • Photo Booth: From introverts to extroverts, bookish types to party animals, absolutely everyone gets a little nutty when high school is ending. There is freedom in the air; a world of possibilities awaits; a chapter is closing and a new one is about to begin. Let guests and guests of honor express their joy and zaniness in a photo booth, complete with props and costumes like mouse ears and boa scarves to bring out the photogenic and photo bombers alike.   
  • This Is Your Life (to Date): Ask guests to bring photos of the graduate from younger years, and have them write something about the photo on a piece of paper at the event. Provide a personalized sticky notepad and customized pen to encourage participation and leave every attendee with a souvenir. Collect each photo and supporting description in an envelope and place them all in a decorated basket. For sticky notes and festive pens as high school graduation party favors, we like these: 

Soft Touch Falon Slim Stylus Pen with Gold Mirrored Imprint  

Design Wrap Sticky Notebook 

College Graduation Party Ideas  

  • All Grown Up but Still Gotta Eat: Cater a party with your graduate’s favorite food, or gather a small group of close friends and family for a special night at their restaurant of choice. 
  • Pen Sets for a Lifetime of Success: Every graduate going off into the wide, wide, working world can use a custom pen set meant to last through multiple careers, kids, and chapters of life. This one’s engraved and includes a keychain flashlight for life’s dimly lit moments. It also makes a great college graduation party favor for family, friends, and other attendees. 

Executive Alpha Pen Gift Set

2. Good Old Fashioned Graduation Cards 

Any graduate deserves a few cards. And if your guests forgot to send one, no problem! Be sure your ideas for a graduation party include a blank graduation card and matching envelope for every guest upon entry.

  • Let your guests write something special about the graduate right then and there—no address to be looked up, no stamp to be bought.
  • Include custom pens your guests can keep as souvenirs after authoring their card.
  • Collect the cards in a decorated bin or basket for distribution later. 

Check out these 3D graduation cards options that are sure to get creative juices flowing: 

Pop-Up Graduation Cap Greeting Card 

Pop-Up Female Graduate Greeting Card 

Pop-Up Male Graduate Greeting Card 

Tip: Wondering what to write? See our blog, What to Write in Graduation Cards for College Graduates & High School Grads, for snippets that work for all different graduation ages and relations. 

3. Pave Memory Lane with Graduation Games 

One good game brings all guests together for laughs and perhaps a few sentimental tears. Choose one of these game-based graduation party ideas and guarantee graduation fun:  

  • DJ for a Day (er, a Song): Sit in a circle and have each guest play a song (use a bluetooth speaker or just a smartphone speaker—this isn’t a rock concert, folks!) that reminds them of the graduate. This could be a special occasion, funny anecdote, or an entire season or grade. Each guest offers a short introduction and then the group listens to the song together. The songs and stories add a bit of depth and meaning to the graduation gathering.   
  • Pick a Theme, Tell a Story: Set up a bowl with chips or paper of various colors. Each color represents a different story theme, e.g., yellow means funny, blue means sad, red means sporty, green means outdoors. Each guest closes their eyes and picks a color out of the bowl and tells a story according to the theme. 
  • Know Your Graduate: The host asks a series of questions about the graduate of honor. For each correct answer, the guest wins a point. The first guest who reaches 10 points gets a grand prize. Of course, in this party school everyone’s a winner, so be sure to have consolation prizes on hand. For prizes that also become graduation party favors, check these out:   

Grand Prize: Wood Bluetooth Speaker with Wireless Charging Pad 

Runners Up: Large Shopping Tote with Wave Pattern & Metallic Imprint 

4. Get the Graduation Party Started with Dazzling Decorations  

Whatever age your graduates are, bright colors and shiny objects turn up the volume on good times. Include these staples on your graduation party ideas list. They also serve as graduation party favor ideas for decorations that do double-duty: 

5. Keep the Good Times Rolling Well Past Graduation with Customized Keepsakes 

Make sure every graduate and every guest leaves with a gift of their own. A graduation party favor is a great way to thank guests for making your graduate feel like a star, while keeping them in mind for years to come: 

  • Custom Engraved Tumblers : A graduation gift that’s prepared for travel far and wide, choose an engraved tumbler for graduates and guests. 
  • Ball Caps: Let everyone they pass know there’s a graduate in their midst with a ball cap customized with their alma mater or graduation year.  
  • Customized Stadium Blankets: Wherever their next chapter leads them, there will be picnics, bleachers, and concerts in the park.  

6. What Are the Best Gifts for Graduates? 

If the big bash isn’t enough, add a meaningful gift to ensure your graduate heads off into the sunset well equipped for glory. Consistent winners include: 

As your kids, friends, colleagues, and relatives bid adieu to the old and hello to the new, we can experience  mixed emotions including excitement, nostalgia, sadness, and hope. Be there by their side with graduation party ideas that leave everyone smiling.

Karleen Wise Andersen

From marketing tips to product recommendations, I’m here to help small businesses be their best.

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Karleen Wise Andersen

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