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.
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?!
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
After the Ceremony Celebration!
After the ceremony a group of 7th grade parents served lemonade and . . . → Read More: 8th Grade Graduation
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:
Well, the summer is over and the kids are back in school. Last year’s juniors are this year’s seniors.
A new group of parents is thinking about graduation next May or June and some are already making plans. If you’ve had a graduation party in the past then you know the ropes already. You know that you should start working on some things now before it gets too busy, like your scrapbooks and photo books.
But if this is your first graduation then you may be feeling a little overwhelmed or worried because you don’t know what you don’t know.
Not to fear. There’s lots of great information out there. You just need to find it. Start with our website, GraduationParty.com. It has tons of free advice and great suggestions. It’s a great resource that can help you decide what to do and what not to do.
If you feel more secure with something you can hold in your hands and make notes on, check out the book, “Graduation Parties: Everything You Need to Know From Start to Finish!”. You can buy it from GraduationParty.com. Most of the information in the book is also on the website.
. . . → Read More: Time to start thinking about your graduation party
Teachers, counsellors, coaches and other people who work with kids every day get invited to many graduation parties each year, especially if they’re well liked or make a significant contribution to the community. The dilemma these folks face is whether to bring a gift to every party they attend.
In general, gifts are not mandatory and it would be unrealistic to expect teachers, school staff, coaches, etc. to bring gifts to every party they attend. In fact, most grads don’t expect gifts from these people. They’re just thrilled if their mentors take the time to come to their party.
If you’re invited to a lot of parties and can’t afford to bring a gift to each one it would be nice if you could make or buy a card and write a little congratulatory message or words of wisdom to the grad. But even that’s not necessary. Just making an appearance to the party is often “gift” enough.
If your son or daughter is bringing home graduation party invitations you may be wondering if you’re invited to these parties too, especially if the invitations didn’t come through the mail addressed to you. What is the etiquette for these situations? You don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings by not going to their party but you also don’t want to show up to a party if the invitation wasn’t meant for you.
First look at the invitation to see what kind of party it is. For open house type parties go to the parties for the students you know personally and avoid the parties for the grads you don’t know. If it’s an open house then chances are many people have been invited and even if you weren’t specifically invited it’s probably okay for you to go. If it’s a sit down dinner (most aren’t) and an RSVP is required then if the invitation wasn’t addressed to you then you weren’t invited.
Another question is whether your other kids are invited. If you’re not sure if you should bring your younger children it might be best to hire a sitter. If you know the family has kids the same age it’s probably okay to bring yours. But when in doubt . . . → Read More: My grad got an invitation. Am I invited too?
Most people have their graduation party at their home, in their backyard or at a friend’s house but if you’re planning your graduation party at a location where you need to make a reservation then you should book the location as soon as possible. Since most graduations are in May and June not only will you be competing with other graduation parties, you may be competing with weddings as well.
If the weekends you’re looking at are too busy or if the location is already booked then consider having your party during the week on a weeknight. You will have more dates to choose from and you may be able to rent the location at a cheaper price.
Locations that are great for graduation parties include:
- City parks – many have pavillions that can be rented at reasonable rates. Call your city office for information. If the park charges an entrance fee try making arrangements with the city/park administration so your guests don’t have to pay. You may also need or want to post “Private Party” signs so other park patrons stay away.
- Health clubs, country clubs, churches and community activity centers - most have party rooms that are available for rent.
- Apartment complex party rooms – if . . . → Read More: Booking a Venue for your Graduation Party
Scrapbooks are a great way to display photos at your graduation party. They’re beautiful keepsakes and people love looking through them. But they take time to create and they can be a lot of work. On the other hand, they’re a labor of love and will last forever. If you get started early enough you can create one or more scrapbooks with minimal stress.
This is definitely not the time to take all the photos you have stuffed in shoe boxes and closets and scrapbook them all. Start small. Start with a theme or two. Here are some categories or themes to consider:
- School Scrapbook. Have a page for each grade including pre-school. Include your child’s school picture, their class picture and a couple of random shots if you have some. Just have a school photo or a class photo? That’s okay. Include the one photo and decorate the page with other things like classwork, artwork or age appropriate stickers.
- Sports, Team or Club Scrapbook. Have a page for each year of sports, teams or clubs your child was on. Include individual pictures, team or club pictures, and some casual photos if you have them. Include medals, awards and newspaper clippings.
- High School or College Scrapbook. . . . → Read More: Scrapbooks for your Graduation Party
Not sure what to do for your graduation party or even where to start? Not to worry … there’s plenty of help out there!
Start by talking to friends and neighbors who have been through it before. They will have plenty of advice on what worked for them and the things you should try to avoid. There are also books and websites that offer tips, hints and graduation-themed products that will help make your party extra special.
Our book, “Graduation Parties! Everything You Need to Know From Start to Finish”, quickly becomes a favorite with many parents. Written by our very own Ginger Venable and Mary J. Anderson, this book includes ideas that will help you create a fun and memorable party AND will save you money when it comes to menu planning, decorating, invitations, etc.
Although small (it’s only 100 pages), this book is FULL of helpful to-do lists, budgets, schedules, unique ideas, and many other tips and hints. Here’s a detailed list of topics that are covered:
- picking a party date & time
- picking a location for your party
- graduation party themes
- invitations – formal, casual, print your own, etc.
- out of town guests
- invitation checklist
- planning entertainment & activities for your . . . → Read More: A Guide to Planning Your Graduation Party