Graduation Party Candy Bar

Candy Bars are fun, popular, easy and economical.

Graduation Party Candy Bar

Graduation Party Candy Bar

Choose your favorite candy or pick candy in your school or college colors. Some candy ideas include:

Find large clear glass or plastic jars, vases or bowls. Borrow them from your friends or check your local dollar store or craft store. Large pickle jars from restaurants work great! Decorate the jars with bows or keep them plain and simple. Set out large spoons so your guests can scoop unwrapped candy. Put out small plastic bags with ties so your guests will have something to put their candy in. Or they can make a take-away bag if they want to.

If you set up your candy bar by the front door or backyard gate (where your guests will leave) then they’re more likely to create a take-away bag when they go.

Chocolate Fountain

A fun and popular item at graduation parties is a chocolate fountain.

Chocolate Fountain

Chocolate Fountain

You can rent them at your local rental shop or there may even be a chocolate fountain rental business nearby. You can also buy chocolate fountains but they will likely be smaller in size and won’t be as heavy duty as rented ones.

When you rent a chocolate fountain the rental company will often come and set it up and then come back and take it down. So you don’t need to worry about heating the chocolate to right consistency or cleaning up the mess after. The rental compay will do it for you. Rented fountains are usually more expensive but if you’re having a joint party it may be worth the extra cost.

Here are some ideas of food to serve with your chocolate fountain:

  • Strawberries
  • Pineapple cut in chunks
  • Marshmallows
  • Cut up Rice Krispie Squares
  • Vanilla Wafers
  • Potato Chips
  • Pretzel Sticks (thick, 4″ sticks are best)

Some people like to serve cake but the crumbs may clog up the fountain. Store bought fountains are particularly susceptible to clogging.

You should also have short skewers/bamboo sticks for food such as pineapple.

Hockey Sock Graduation Centerpiece

This cute centerpiece is the perfect balance between sportsy and elegant.

Hockey Sock Graduation Centerpiece

Hockey Sock Graduation Centerpiece

Any small potted plant will work. Even potted annuals which you can plant in your garden after. Simply put the potted plant in the hockey sock and set it in the middle of the table. This one was placed on a mirrored tile as an extra touch. It also has a small, plastic hockey stick on the left hand side and a hockey puck at the base. Of course you can use a sock from any sport. School colors are fun.

Individually wrapped candy is sprinkled at the base of this centerpiece as an added treat for guests. Halloween size candy like Hershey’s Minis, Laffy Taffy, and Skittles are good options. Or buy personalized candy bars (minis or regular size) from Shindigz or personalized M&M packs from My M&M’s.

Hockey Skate Graduation Centerpiece

Love this idea for a graduation centerpiece! Hockey skate filled with licorice. New hockey skates are best :-). You can also use figure skates or basketball shoes. Buy licorice in your school or college colors if possible. This school’s colors happened to be red & black. But you can get licorice in other colors too.

Hockey Skate Graduation Centerpiece

Hockey Skate Graduation Centerpiece

To keep the skate upright, use a hockey puck and cut a slit down the middle. If you know someone with a circular saw this would be a good job for them. The slit should be wide enough to hold the blade and it should be at least half or three quarters the depth of the hockey puck.

This skate was lined with colored tissue paper but you could also use a patterned or solid color fabric. Other fun candy like Hershey’s Minis, Sweet Tarts, Laffy Taffy, and Skittles were scattered around the base of the skate. Halloween sized candy is perfect!

Hire the Ice Cream Truck!

This is one of my all-time favorite grad party ideas. Who doesn’t love the ice cream truck? Memories of running to the curb when hearing that little jingle. It’s music to everyone’s ears.

Ice Cream Truck at your graduation party

Hire the Ice Cream Truck

One grad wanted to hang on to that memory one last time before heading off to college so her parents hired the local ice cream truck for her grad party. It came and sat outside their house for the entire party. Anyone wanting an ice cream treat simply had to walk up and order whatever they wanted.

It’s such an easy way to serve for the hosts, too. No worries about keeping the ice cream cold, how much to order, or what to do with the leftovers. They simply paid for whatever was served (at a pre-negotiated rate). So if your grad loves the ice cream truck why not consider this fun idea?!

Using Facebook for Invitations

In a recent survey, parents said using social media like Facebook to invite people didn’t work very well since lots of guests who confirmed online ended up being no-shows. Of those parents sending invitations using social media, more than 50% were happy with their ability to control who was invited, but less than 40% felt they had a good idea as to how many people would attend.

One mom said that the the people she mailed paper invitations to attended the party. But for the people invited over Facebook, only about 10% showed up.

Another mom said that her older son graduated back in the days of using the US Mail and handing out invitations in school. This time she used Facebook and it was scary since almost 350 people confirmed they were coming! In the end only 60 kids stopped by. recommends using Facebook and other social media websites as a supplement to mailing or handing out fun, attention-getting invitations to the people on your “A-list”. You shouldn’t rely on online invitations  as your main way to invite people, especially those people you really want to come.

For the people on your main list, paper invitations sent through the mail or delivered personally is still the best way to go.

8th Grade Graduation

Graduating from 8th grade is a time for celebration. Your graduate is moving on to high school, which often means kids will be going in different directions.

When Ginger’s son graduated from 8th grade his class went on to six different high schools. This was the last of nine years together as a class. Their ceremony involved looking back to childhood experiences as well as inspiring words about their bright future.

The build up to the graduation ceremony involved several events:

  • A service project
  • Track and field days
  • A field trip
  • A class play

Someone took photographs and video at all of these events so we were treated to a great show at the ceremony.

The Graduation Ceremony

A service was held to honor the grads. Our Principal, one teacher and one student gave speeches. They were very different yet inspiring in their own way.

As you can see from the photo our students do not wear caps and gowns at the 8th grade level. Some schools do.

8th Grade Graduation

8th Grade Graduation

After the Ceremony Celebration!

After the ceremony a group of 7th grade parents served lemonade and cake. They had decorated the cafeteria with jerseys from the six different high schools these kids were attending in the fall. They had placed simple flowers on the dining tables.

Students mingled with their family members and each other. This is my son Charlie with my mother Nancy.

8th Grade Graduation

Charlie & Grandma

All Day Party!

The next day the class met at our local bowling alley for two games and pizza. After bowling they were driven by parents to a lake home where they enjoyed boating and yard games.

8th Grade Graduation Party

8th Grade Graduation Party

Dinner was hoagie sandwiches and chips. After dinner we showed a movie on a large inflatable screen. We were going to show it outside but it started to rain just before we inflated the screen so we moved they show indoors. Selecting the movie involved a very spirited discussion. We wanted something age appropriate and finally settled on Happy Gilmore.

8th Grade Graduation Party

8th Grade Graduation Party

Fun, Unique Graduation Invitations

We’re excited to have found a new Graduation Invitation company, Pear Tree Greetings, that offers a huge selection of fun and stylish graduation invitations, return address labels and thank you cards.

Their products are affordable and easy to order. Just pick a design you like and then customize it by adding your favorite photos, changing the colors and fonts, and adding your own text.

They also have coordinating products so for many of their invitations you can order matching address labels and thank you cards.

We especially love their collage photo invitations and round address labels.

Here’s a peek at some of their fun products:

Graduation Invitation Ensemble

Graduation Invitation Ensemble

Graduation Invitation Ensemble

Graduation Invitation Ensemble

Graduation Invitation Ensemble

Graduation Invitation Ensemble

Graduation Invitation Ensemble

Graduation Invitation Ensemble

Graduation Party Checklist

Hosting a graduation party is a lot of work and it takes a lot of planning. As you’re thinking about ideas and making plans be sure to create a checklist of “to do’s” so you don’t forget anything later.

Create a time line and organize your “to do’s” within that time line. Try to get things done and out of the way as soon as possible. Graduation time is an extremely busy time of year and you’ll be thankful you got some things done early.

To give you an idea of what a time line might look like and to help you get started thinking about your own here’s one to start with …

6 weeks before the party:

  • Check your calendar and call the school to get a schedule of events happening at graduation time – graduation days & times, prom days & time, senior parties, etc. Don’t forget to include regular holidays and special events like Mother’s Day & Father’s Day.
  • Decide if you want to co-host a party with another family or multiple families.
  • Start collecting memorabilia – pictures, awards, trophies, newspaper clippings, special projects, artwork, etc.
  • Start assembling scrapbooks, poster boards, DVD’s, etc.
  • Determine your budget.
  • Pick the date & time for your party. The time is important for planning things like food. If your party is from 2-4pm then perhaps you’ll serve finger foods. If your party is early afternoon (eg: noon-3pm) then maybe you’ll serve a brunch. If your party is in the evening (eg: 4-7pm) then you’ll want to plan a more substantial menu.
  • Pick a location – your home or somewhere else?
  • Decide if you need to rent party supplies like tables, chairs, tent, catering supplies and start visiting your local rental companies to see what they have. Reserve these items as soon as you can as other people will be looking for them too.
  • Decide on a theme. Call for entertainment prices.
  • Start your invitation/guest list.
  • Decide on food and shop around for caterers. Select and reserve a caterer as soon as you can.
  • Buy tableware – plates, napkins, cutlery, serving dishes, glasses/cups.
  • Buy decorations – centerpieces, banners, yard signs, table cloths.
  • Buy party favors such as candy & chocolate bars.
  • Buy thank you notes, stamps, return address labels.
  • Find a place for your pets for the day of the party.
  • Buy greetings cards & gifts for your graduate & friends.
  • Save or buy storage containers for leftover food.
  • Notify out of town guests so they can make hotel & car reservations. Call them or send save the date cards.
  • Determine if any house repairs or yard work needs to be done.

3-4 weeks before the party:

  • Finish your scrapbooks, poster boards & DVD’s.
  • Decide on a cake or cupcakes and place your order with the bakery.
  • Order balloons.
  • Mail your invitations.
  • Confirm any reservations you have made – caterer, rental company, pet boarding, hotels for out of town guests.
  • Wrap gifts for graduate & friends.
  • Make cardholder box.

The week of the party:

  • Pick up beverages and store them somewhere cold – extra fridge or in your neighbor’s fridge.
  • Pick up non-perishable food as early as possible. Pick up other food closer to the party. Some food may need to be picked up on the day of the party. Recruit someone to do this for you.
  • Make sure you have lots of blank camera cards and video cartridges.
  • Charge video & camera batteries.
  • Send invitations to school with your graduate.
  • Review guest list and expectations with grad.
  • Confirm delivery of rental equipment. You’ll want this to arrive the day before the party. Plan to be there when equipment and supplies are delivered so you can check it.
  • Clean your house. Do as much ahead of time as you can.
  • Set up/hang decorations, banners, posters.
  • Confirm hotel reservations for out of town guests.
  • Mow the lawn (day or two before the party).
  • Clean your garage if you’re using this for your party or as a backup in case it rains.

The day before the party:

  • Pick up perishable food.
  • Last minute cleaning.
  • Last minute yard work.
  • Put up last minute decorations.
  • Set up tables.
  • Set up tent. Depending on weather this may be done day before the party or day of the party.
  • Pick up cake/cupcakes from bakery.

The day of the party:

  • Sleep as late as you can. You’re gonna need all the energy you can get!
  • Wake up your graduate with breakfast in bed.
  • Take your pets to a kennel or a friend’s house.
  • Pick up food from caterer or make sure you are there if it’s being delivered. Check what is picked up/delivered so you get what you expect.
  • Set out trash bins and recycling boxes (for cans and bottles).
  • Do last minute cleaning and tidying.
  • Sweep walkway, sidewalk & garage (if using).
  • Pick up balloons.
  • Set out yard signs and directional signs.
  • Put up outside decorations.
  • Set out tableware.
  • Set up serving dishes. Put out non-perishable food early in the day, persihable food at the last minute.
  • Set out coolers with ice and beverages.
  • Give your graduate a letter saying how proud you are of them.
  • Give your graduate a big hug and let the celebration begin!

Get ready for 2010 Grad Parties!

We haven’t posted in a while because we’ve been busy getting ready for the upcoming 2010 graduation season. We’ve updated our website,, with lots of new tips, ideas and 2010 graduation products. More will be added as they become available over the next few weeks so make sure you check back often.

New 2010 items include 2010 graduation invitations, 2010 graduation party decorations, 2010 graduation apparel (t-shirts, hoodies & more), college wear for those high school grads heading off to college, and lots, lots more.

Personalized Graduation Banners

Personalized Graduation Yard Signs

Personalized Mint Tins

Personalized Candy Bars

Casual Graduation Invitations

Graduation Party Invitations

Graduation Apparel