Your Go-To Guide for Planning a Graduation Party

Recipes and graduation party ideas for celebrating your favorite smarty!

The Menu
Graduation parties seem to be the “come one, come all” variety, so put together a menu of crowd-pleasers for the masses.


Best Lemonade Ever

Photo by ilovebaking22


Pico de Gallo Chicken Quesadillas

Photo by Jazzy


Apple Avocado Salad with Tangerine Dressing

Photo by Seattle2Sydney

Main Dishes:

Summer Chicken Burgers

Photo by ddapple


Apple Pie by Grandma Ople

Photo by Holiday Baker

Party Tips
No need to put on your thinking cap: we’ve got some graduation party ideas for celebrating your star pupil.

  • Where and when? Start the festivities mid- to late afternoon, and if weather permits, set up seating outdoors and fire up the grill. (Fire up the grill even if weather doesn’t permit–burgers taste just as good indoors!)
  • Beyond the cafeteria. Set up the food buffet-style with drinks on a separate table. Also, put out a few coolers with bottled/canned beverages, as well as simple appetizers like chips and dip on small tables throughout the party.
  • School spirit. Decorate with the graduate’s school colors…we’re thinkin’ balloons, streamers, pom-poms–the works! And make sure that framed diploma is out for all to see.
  • Most likely to… Make a bunch of name tags, each with something different at the end of that sentence. Let guests choose their own, or feel free to assign them as you see fit.
  • Bright ideas. Everyone wants to know: “What are you going to do now that you’ve graduated?” Why not take some pressure off the recent grad and turn the tables? Ask each guest to write what they did the year after they graduated on a large piece of poster board, creating either a cheat sheet for the formula for success, or crib notes for what not to do–it’ll likely end up containing a little of both!

These tunes will have you dancing like it’s the last day of school. (Oh, wait–it is!)

  • School’s Out, Alice Cooper
  • Celebration, Kool & the Gang
  • Summertime, Will Smith
  • Freedom 90, George Michael
  • Golden Years, David Bowie
  • It’s My Life, No Doubt
  • Beautiful Day, U2
  • Good Times Roll, The Cars
  • Smokin’ in the Boys Room, Brownsville Station
  • It’s the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine), R.E.M.

Film School
Here are some flicks sure to take you back to your glory days:

  • Breakfast Club
  • Clueless
  • Never Been Kissed
  • Can’t Buy Me Love
  • Napoleon Dynamite
  • Bring it On
  • Dazed and Confused
  • Rushmore
  • Fast Times at Ridgemont High
  • Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

Party Game
Make a stack of game sheets so each guest can take a crack at matching the quote to the correct movie–extra credit points to those who can name the character who said it:

1. “I did it when I was a freshman, and you’ll do it when you’re seniors. But you’re doing great. Now fry like bacon, you little freshman piggies. Fry!”

2. “What Jefferson was saying was, Hey! You know, we left this England place ’cause it was bogus; so if we don’t get some cool rules ourselves–pronto–we’ll just be bogus too! Get it?”

3. “We’re all pretty bizarre. Some of us are just better at hiding it, that’s all.”

4. “So. Okay. I don’t want to be a traitor to my generation and all but I don’t get how guys dress today. I mean, come on, it looks like they just fell out of bed and put on some baggy pants and take their greasy hair–ew–and cover it up with a backwards cap and like, we’re expected to swoon? I don’t think so.”

5. “All you need is for one person to think you’re cool, and you’re in. Everyone else will be scared to question it.”

6. “I mean, he went from totally geek, to totally chic!”

7. “You know, there’s like a boat-load of gangs at this school. This one gang kept wanting me to join because I’m pretty good with a bow staff.”

8. “My top schools where I want to apply to are Oxford and the Sorbonne. My safety’s Harvard.”

9. “Incredible! One of the worst performances of my career and they never doubted it for a second.”

10. “This is not a democracy, it’s a cheerocracy. I’m sorry, but I’m overruling you.”

(Answers below.)

Answers to Party Game
1. Simone, Dazed and Confused

2. Jeff Spicoli, Fast Times at Ridgemont High

3. Andrew, The Breakfast Club

4. Cher, Clueless

5. Rob, Never Been Kissed

6. Patty, Can’t Buy Me Love

7. Napoleon, Napoleon Dynamite

8. Max, Rushmore

9. Ferris, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

10. Torrance, Bring It On

Ready to shake up the student body?

Related Recipe Collections