16 Graduation Party Ideas your Grad will Love

graduation party ideas

Do You Have a Special Someone Graduating this Year?

Graduation for both high school and college students is an accomplishment we as parents look forward to most of all. Not only is it a reflection of positivity as parents on the roles we played in our kids lives but a celebration of your children growing up and now becoming adults. 

The best way to celebrate this accomplishment is by throwing a small or large graduation party. With graduation parties, you can invite the grad’s friends, family, and maybe even professors / teachers if they were close to your grad. 

With so many creative ways to throw parties, what is the best way to create a celebration for your grad that stands out? Today, we’re going to discuss a few ideas. 

Graduation Party Theme Ideas for Busy Moms

Parties are a lot of fun but planning them can be a drag. Not only do they take a lot of time, but if they are not properly planned they can cost more than anticipated. 

Today, we’re going to help you plan a party for under $100.00. Yes, you read that right! Nothing overly elaborate but that gets everyone in theme mood and excited to show up. 

First things first, creating a graduation party theme is the first item of business. Let’s brainstorm some ideas. 


Unisex Graduation Party Theme Ideas

1. School Colours Theme

This one is so versatile for a party theme… And can also be used to throw a party for more than one graduate. It makes sense if some parents get together to throw a combined graduation party for a group of friends and use school colours as inspiration for that party! 


2. Cereal Bar (Breakfast Theme) 

This one is great for younger grads because it’s childish in nature. I love breakfast and so does everyone in my family, especially my little guy. He wakes up and the first thing he asks for is cereal. My older one is more of an eggs and toast guy. This one is perfect for kids that love eating breakfast. 

3. Animal Characters Theme

Again this is a great idea for little kids. Who doesn’t have a favourite animal? Mine is little baby pigs – I think they are adorable. My kids are into dinosaurs! Image a dinosaur wearing a graduation hat? Now that’s something kids will talk about forever!! 

4. Picnic in the Park

Always a favourite with kids and adults alike. Great for kids that love to play! 

5. BBQ Party

For meat and vegetarian lovers alike, a BBQ party brings a lot of pizzaz and fun to the graduation celebration and makes for a chill time for all hosts and guests. Again, this party will be more fun when parents decided to throw a combined graduation party for kids! 

6. Science Theme

This one is slightly specialized ;) This party would be great for kids that love science and have aspirations to become doctors, engineers, biologists, astronomers etc. A perfect way to encourage their dreams is to throw them a party celebrating their dreams. Also this theme is great for kids that have shown a little interest in the subject and want to know more. Frankly, I love learning new subjects – whether I have a long term or short term interest in them because I can have more detailed conversations with my kids about it. This morning I learned so much more about Archimedes through wikipedia as I was helping my son with his Math homework. 

7. Musician or Band Theme

Musical parties are amazing…. A perfect way to honor and celebrate the musician in your family. I would also invite neighbours to this one as this not theme not only helps you bond and connect with people around you but also exposes the musician in your family for any potential gigs in his / her future. Adding their favourite band in the decor is also a fun way to celebrate the arts.

8. Career or College Theme

This one is slightly more serious but depending on what your daughter or son is interested in, you could curate a party with that subject in mind. Maybe it’s a business degree they want to pursue. You can base the party on a business how (Shark Tank) or get them to talk about a business they started etc. You get the point. 


Boy Graduation Party Theme Ideas

9. Marvel Characters (Spiderman – Batman – Capitan America – Hulk)

Recently my kids watched the Avengers and are still talking about the characters, stones, space and the universe. Hosting a Marvel party would delight them and keep the conversation going for months! Frankly, it’s better than throwing them a DOGMAN themed party. 

10. Muscle Car or Nascar

My kids aren’t into cars yet but for car fans a Nascar themed party would amaze them and make them even more interested. Maybe you can teach them a thing or two about the history of nascar. 

11. Nautical or Sailor

This is a favourite among boat lovers and if your family is into boating and sail often, I would suggest showing pictures and videos of your memories at that party. 

12. Favourite Sports team or all sports

My kids love baseball, basketball and hockey but the clear winner would be hockey for my boys. They love the Maple leafs or any team that’s winning so this one is easy to plan. In fact for my son’s 8th birthday I planned a Maple Leafs Hockey themed party and he and his friends enjoyed it so much…. They are still talking about the puck cookies :)

graduation party theme ideas

Girl Graduation Party Theme Ideas:

13. Hawaiian Luau

Being a woman myself, I would enjoy planning any girl themed party! Hawaiian Luau is one of my favourite themes as its flowery and colourful! 

14. Tiffany and Co. Theme

Oh so sassy! For older Tiffany lovers, this is a perfect way to not only support their unique tastes but also celebrate their sense of style. 

15. Princess Theme or Disney Theme

This one can include their favourite Disney characters and you can relive your Disney tales at the party! 

16. Favourite City or Bucket List Vacation Spot (Ex: London or Paris Theme)

What better time to print some pictures from your favourite vacations than at a graduation party for your child. Frankly this one is a unisex theme as well and you can recount what your child liked about their favourite vacation and recreate those memories at home. My kids loved their Mexico trip recently and talk about the ice cream store in the resort whenever they see our local ice cream store. 


Graduation Party on a Budget

Now that you’ve had some time to pick a theme, the next step is to create an overall budget and choose the venue. For this post, we are going to show you how to create a graduation themed party with $100. 

With a $100 budget, you’re going to host the venue somewhere that’s free or by donation-only. Free venue locations could mean your back yard or a neighbor/family-member’s yard. A donation-only location could be your city hall, local church, or city park. The goal is to not spend any money and if you choose a donation-only location to spend $20.00 or less. 

It’s time now to plan the menu and then get the decorations. Using the assumption that the venue is free, with $100 you’re going to spend $60.00 on food + beverages and $40.00 on the decorations to match the party theme. If you can get it to 70/30 with the food and beverages being the higher number, then that’s even better. 

Remember, most people who go to the graduation party bring a gift, look at the memorabilia that’s all over the tables, eat and then leave. In other words, the décor isn’t as important as the food. That’s why we recommend spending more on the food than the decorations. 

Pro tip – look through your local newspaper and see if you can find grocery coupons. Using the “currently on sale” items to fill your menu will help you save money and get creative in your menu choices.  

Another tip – don’t purchase a cake made at a bakery. A graduation cake can be anywhere from $60 and up. Around graduation time most bakeries increase their rates due to it being peak season… it happens for weddings as well so don’t be offended! 

In fact – if you choose to order a cake ask them not to write a special memo on the cake, if you purchase some cake icing, you can write “Happy Graduation” yourself this way you never mention the word “graduation” and get a hefty 10-20% rate increase. 

Want to keep it even more budget friendly? Have a family member, or you + your grad, make homemade cupcakes. A box of cupcake mix is $3.00 or less at the dollar store and Walmart! #cha-ching

graduation party ideas

Budget - friendly party decoration

Theme Chosen … ✔

Venue Chosen … ✔

Budget Chosen … ✔

Menu Chosen …. ✔ 

Now, it’s time to use the remaining $100 to purchase party décor. A couple tips here – If you can incorporate the color white into your theme, you can purchase cheaper plastic cutlery, plates, and napkins. The reason we say this is, you would not need to purchase from a party planning store so you can save a little by going to the dollar store or buying in bulk at Sam’s Club or Costco. 

Next, see what you or family members have around their homes that you could incorporate into the theme décor. For a Nascar or car theme, empty a large tool box and use the drawers for holding food, utensils, gifts, etc. If you’ve decided on a Hawaiian theme and you have a plastic or blow up water floaty or a kiddy pool, you can use those as indoor coolers by filling ice and putting beverages in them. Simple tricks like these are ways to get creative, use what you already have so you don’t spend more, and keep on point with the theme.

Graduation Party Invitations

One thing families tend to forget is part of the party décor means you must purchase invitations to go along with the party. Here at Wishme.io we say save your money on invitations and instead download our free invitation app! With the Wish Me app, you can create personalize invitations that get texted or emailed to everyone you know. Forget lost invitations in the mail and hefty stamp rates. And with the option of sending a photo or video invitation you can now get faster RSVP’s as personal invitations get your guests attention faster and create excitement for everyone attending as soon as they receive the invite. 

Another benefit of sending a photo or video invite is you save time choosing a boring invitation template and you can jazz up the invite by dressing up your kid in the theme colours or outfit and then have them create their own video inviting guests. Can you get any more personal than that? 

With Wish Me your guests can also send back video or photo wishes for your child – The wishes stay until you want them to and your family and child can enjoy them for years to come! Wish Me helps you create a virtual shoebox of memories for your family. 

Celebrating Your Child's Graduation can be Inexpensive and Easy

graduation party theme

Graduation parties are a fun way to celebrate your grad’s accomplishments. Whether they are graduating from high school or college, both are something to cherish and celebrate. You don’t have to go all out and spend thousands on a party. Here we broke down what a $100 budget could look like for your party. We can’t wait to hear how your ideas come out. 


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