Sharing is caring!

Originally published on April 21, 2017. Updated January 25, 2020 and April 1, 2023.

Graduation Party Ideas

Celebrate the academic accomplishments of your child with these easy and festive graduation party ideas. Graduation is such an important milestone for the graduate, for mom and dad and the entire family. Celebrating graduation is a wonderful tradition and an opportunity to find unique graduation ideas to show your graduate how proud you are and recognize their accomplishment.

collage of 5 images of crafts, recipes and ideas for graduation parties.

As a mom, I’ve thrown two (so far) graduation parties and helped several friends  with graduation party ideas for their children’s parties. I love creating a fun and celebratory party, but because I’m a busy, busy mom, I need the recipes and tutorials to be easy to do, while still looking impressive.

Graduation Party Ideas

There are so many different aspects to graduation, ranging from gifts, to food, to talking to your child about drinking. We’ve got it all right here.

If you’re planning a graduation party, you’ll want to make sure it’s a special event that the graduate will remember for years to come. To get started:

  • Choose a theme. A theme can help you narrow down your choices for everything from decorations to food to activities. Some popular themes include “black and gold,” “beach party,” and “red, white, and blue.”
  • Decorate. Decorate your home or party venue with graduation-themed decorations, such as balloons, streamers, and banners. You can also put up photos of the graduate throughout their life.
  • Plan food and drinks. Serve food and drinks that the graduate loves. You can also have a cake or cupcakes with the graduate’s name or initials on them.
  • Plan activities. Plan some fun activities for your guests to enjoy, such as playing games, watching a slideshow of the graduate’s photos, or giving speeches.
  • Send out invitations. Be sure to send out invitations to your guests well in advance of the party.
  • Take lots of pictures. Be sure to take lots of pictures of the party so that the graduate can look back on them for years to come.

Graduation Gift Ideas

Finding the right graduation gift can be challenging, but these gift guides make it easy to find the right gift for your favorite graduate. 

Last-Minute Graduation Gift Idea – Make this cute graduation gift for party favor for just pennies.

glass jar decorated with graduation cap and filled with chocolate candy.

Easy Fabric Gift Bag – A simple sewing tutorial that creates a festive gift bag.

chambray and colorful gift bag with purple tissue paper.

Gift Guides – Collection of gift ideas for all interests and budgets.

3 brown paper wrapped gifts with yellow, orange and green ribbon.

Money Lei Tutorial with Ribbon Lei – The Hawaiian tradition of giving a money lei for graduation is a memorable gift. This tutorial is easy to do & makes a comfortable to wear graduation lei.

overhead view of money lei and graduation mortar board with text overlay

Money Lei – Maile Lei Style – A money lei made in the maile lei style is the perfect gift for a graduate. This easy-to-follow tutorial creates a memorable graduation gift.

money lei and graduation cap on white wood table

Flower Money Lei Tutorial – A graduation lei made with real money. This easy flower money lei tutorial makes a great gift for any graduate.

flower money lei with red and white ribbon base on white wood table

Graduation Party Ideas

DIY Paper Star Decorations – Make DIY Paper Star Decorations with this tutorial & 15+ tips for unique paper bag stars for weddings, graduation, birthday parties, etc.

large white paper star decoration on wood railing

Candy Graduation Caps – It’s easy to make your own DIY candy graduation caps for parties and party favors

small candy graduation cap favors.

Graduation Party Idea – Provide a card writing station. Keep the cards and mail one each week once your student is away at college or working.

box with open lid filled with card writing supplies.

Upcycled Box Party Serving Tray – A simple way to create a personalized party tray on a budget.

red and white polka dot box holding paper plates and napkins.

Graduation Party Crafts

If you are planning a graduation party, you may want to consider making some graduation party crafts. Crafts can be a fun way to add personal touches to the party, and they can also be a great way to save money. There are many different types of graduation party crafts that you can make, and they can be as simple or as complex as you like.

Candy Graduation Caps – Easy to make with beginning crafting skills.

small candy graduation cap favors.

Upcycled Jar Party Lanterns – Perfect for party decorations and so-ooo easy to make.

image of three blue glass flower vases made of jars with white flowers and text overlay

9+ DIY Lei Tutorials – Leis are a traditional graduation gift in Hawai’i. These are easy-to-follow tutorials for a variety of different lei styles.

collage of 8 colorful handmade leis in different styles

How to Make a Ribbon Lei – It’s easy to personalize this traditional graduation lei with the student’s school colors.

3 purple ribbon leis on white wood table.

Small Gift Ideas for Any Occasion – A simple tutorial that creates adorable party favors.

paper craft sleeve for pack of gum that looks like a shirt with tie.

Recipes for a Graduation Party

If you are planning a graduation party, you will need to plan some food and drinks to serve your guests. Here are some ideas for graduation party recipes that you can make:


Best Strawberry Lemonade Ever – This is the best strawberry lemonade ever. It’s quick and easy to make , can be prepped ahead of time and is perfect for large parties.

glass jug of red lemonade next to red plastic cup on table outside.

Easy Pineapple Lemonade Recipe – An easy pineapple lemonade recipe that’s refreshing on a hot day. It’s a perfect afternoon treat & easy to make in big batches for a party.

Glass of lemonade with jug of lemonade in background with sign.

Mocktail Hawaiian Sangria Recipe – Make this easy Mocktail Hawaiian Sangria Recipe with pineapple and mango. It’s perfect for relaxing on a warm summer day with friends.

glass of orange drink with hula girl embellishment.

Jolly Rancher Cocktail – Green apple jolly rancher cocktails are perfect for your summer gatherings, Halloween party and anytime you’d like a grownup but still fun cocktail.

3 wine classes with bright green liquid and hint of orange at bottom.


No Bake White Chocolate Cheesecake – Make this easy white chocolate cheesecake recipe for a nostalgic no-bake treat. Making this family favorite dessert as a mini cheesecake is a fun twist on a delicious and easy-to-make recipe.

close up of white chocolate mouse dessert in silver foil cup with nuts.

Mini Finger Pies with Butterfingers – Make these scrumptious Mini Finger Pies with Butterfinger candy. They’re always a big hit with family and guests. These mini pies are perfect for entertaining and a great way to use up extra holiday candy.

mini pies with whipped cream and mini candy bars

Rolo Pretzel Surprise Cookie  – An ooey gooey chocolate chip cookie with a bit of crunch.

chocolate chip cookies on white plate with one opened to show caramel.

Oreo Surprise Cookies – Delicious chocolate chip cookie + favorite chocolate sandwich cookie = yummy!

chocolate chip cookies on white plate with one cut open to show chocolate sandwich cookie inside.


Easy-to-Make Salsa – This Easy-to-Make Salsa Recipe gets rave reviews every time and is so very easy to make.

hand holding tortilla chip and scooping up red and green salsa.

Side Dishes

Crispy and Simple Coleslaw Recipe – Make this tangy and crispy Simple Coleslaw Recipe for your barbecue and cookout meals. It’s easy to make in minutes and is the perfect summer salad.

white bowl of colorful coleslaw on blue and white tablecloth.

Hawaiian Macaroni Salad  – Make this authentic Hawaiian Macaroni Salad Recipe for your cookout or barbecue. This Hawaiian Mac Salad recipe is the best ever. Really.

blue bowl with macaroni salad and tropical leaf decor.

Make celebrating graduation special and memorable with unique graduation ideas. Pin for later so you can always find these graduation party ideas when you need them.

collage of 3 images of graduation party decor