13 Shelter-in-Place Graduation Party Ideas
Whether the Class of 2020 gets to walk across the stage, or they go virtual, I’ve collected unique ideas for celebrating graduation so you can still create fun and memorable moments for your High School Senior.
Psst...Did you catch the last two podcasts? Last week I interviewed my high school senior and captured her thoughts about her senior year. And previously, I interviewed my son (though off-mic) just before he moved out about how parents can make those young adult years special without being patronizing. Catch those here.
Here are 13 Unique Ideas for High School Graduation Parties while honoring the shelter-in-place orders. You might even be able to alter these for Mother's Day or Father's Day celebrations. Birthday, anniversary.....
*Disclaimer – Orders are different from state to state so not all ideas are viable in all areas. You are welcome to add your ideas in the comments – be sure and mention your state so others can share your great idea!
Create a Facebook Group and Post 14 days of Content
Our school district may not know when graduation will actually happen, but I know when it was supposed to be and THAT is when we will be celebrating it this year. So, each day, up to her graduation day, I’m going to post content for friends and family to see as we make live videos together, have a Q & A and post 14 Days of Content leading up to graduation. Post a few pictures or comments throughout the day.
Day 1: Post baby pics – show them where it all began!
Day 2: Interests & hobbies – post sport pics, school activities, hobbies & special interests
Day 3: Post elementary school pics – tell stories of how they’ve grown.
Day 4: Family pics! Post pictures of cousins, aunts and uncles, great grandmas and everyone in between. Post ancestor pics or something that highlights your heritage.
Day 5: Post pictures that shows their personality. Tell a story through the pictures.
Day 6: Post Senior pics and describe their unique qualities. What are their strengths? What do they get from mom? What do they get from dad? Where do you see them in five years?
Day 7: Who knows the graduate the best? This or that (music, movie, food, clothes, shoes, hat, car, vacation
Day 8: Post a memory of the student
Day 9: Give student your best advice for life.
Day 10: What is your favorite scripture or encouraging quote?
Day 11: Tell the student how you met.
Day 12: What advice would you give for their final days of summer?
Day 13: What advice would you give for their first week of full-time work/college?
Day 14: Let it all out! It’s graduation day! Say Congratulations to Student!!!
As part of how the Class of 2020 gives back to its community, shop locally. Before hopping on to the internet for all your needs, CALL YOUR LOCAL BOUTIQUE SHOPS. Need decorations? Call your local party supply and let them know what you need. They will likely to be thrilled to put something together for you. Call your local coffeehouse to see if they would consider supplying cupcakes, salads, or other food needs. Many local places are willing to do whatever it takes to keep their places going. Please consider making a phone call before hopping on the internet for your needs.
Send out graduation announcements and invite friends and family to send cards. If YOU are one of those friends or family, don’t forget to include a personal note, scripture, inspirational quote or recipe on an index card they can keep and easily organize.
Having to cancel a big grad party is no excuse to back out of decorating responsibilities!
· Buy a customized yard sign.
· Hang your student’s graduation gown on your front door (Thank you for the idea, Laura Forst Hesslau!)
· Fill poster board with pics, quotes, inspirational sayings, and scrap booking stickers and hang them on your student’s door. Here’s a picture of my daughter’s door:
Do the Food
Food is big in our home, how about yours? We want all the food…the fancy cupcakes, the dip, and all the fixins. You may not have to serve it up for a crowd of 50 or more, but the VIP will be there and that’s all that matters anyway. So, have the taco bar, order the cupcakes, and make the trendy customized candybars.
Kirk Warman recommends hosting a by. Schedule the date and time and have friends drive by honk, wave, and cheer. Encourage people to decorate their cars, paint their windows, etc.
Our town organized a community drive by in the high school parking lot. They also lit up the football field, put 2020 on the scoreboard, and parents honked and cheered as students drove by in decorated cars. It was a very special moment for parents and students and highlighted the bonds that have been formed in the last four years.
Lisa Conley suggests getting hosting a cruise route where all the seniors end at the high school parking lot to collect food, gifts, cards, etc., then parking in a big circle to honk and make some noise. Maybe this could be planned for the original date of graduation. For bigger schools, parents or school districts could coordinate alphabetically at different times.
Kelly Trevino also suggested creating a scrapbook to memorialize your student. This is a craft you can do with your student at home. Create beautiful and adventurous pages that reflect all the crazy ups and downs of their last four years. Call up a local shop and see if they’ll put together a scrap booking package in your price point that will reflect the personality and mood of your student. They can collect your payment info over the phone and meet you at the curb.
I’m not as crafty as most, so I might consider a photo album from any of the online photo labs. Pages are easy to create, complete with your own text, and if you use Canva, you can really create some unique and beautiful images. You won’t believe the finished product you’ll get with a few clicks.
Get the Community Involved
Willa Stock says that her community recognized each senior with a banner on the light posts. Her son’s high school also lit up the football field at 20:20 and ran a YouTube video of graduating seniors with their plans for post-high school.
Local radio and tv stations can get involved by highlighting a student or ten each day on their website or on the air. Information could include a short bio, their personal quote, and plans for the future, along with a picture. For students who never got to walk through their Senior Night with their parents during their favorite sport this last semester, this might be a nice substitute.
Adopt a Student
This might take some coordination, but do you remember doing Secret Santa’s in the workplace? This works the same way. In both cases, a parent or two sets up a Facebook Group and parents (or students) have the opportunity to post senior pictures, a short bio, and a list of their favorite things. Local community members then ‘adopt’ a student and shower them with cards, gifts, and snacks. Safety and security of each student is of utmost importance, of course, but, good news, parents only have to give out information to people they know and trust. I’ve seen a few High Schools start a group and one trend I’m seeing: blankets. Students cannot have too many big, fuzzy, blankets.
Consider asking the Class to adopt a charity. Students can collect food for the food pantry, make tie blankets for a halfway house, make sensory blankets for Alzheimer patients, or fundraise to buy books and donate them to their favorite cause. Ann Marie Smith suggests roomtoread.com that helps young girls around the world who struggle to read.
When I graduated, my friends and I took a short weekend trip to Branson, Missouri. We spent most of our money on one adventure: bungee jumping. It was one of the most thrilling experience, at least up until that point, of my life. Brad Perucki suggests offering an extreme experience they’ll never forget: sky-diving, bungee jumping, hot air ballooning, helicopter ride, a pilot lesson…your imagination can run wild! Just make sure your student is on board before you spend money on tickets.
Adjust Based on Personality Type
Of course, as The Introverted Believer, I love looking at personality types to understand strengths, needs, and fun. Brad Perucki also suggests using personality types to help guide you in your planning. He suggests, and I wholeheartedly agree, 16 Personalities, for their free personality test.
This may seem like a foregone conclusion, but ask your student what they want or need. As them what they want now, and ask them to consider what they might want to remember and pass down. Do they want an epic tale with all the elements of excitement or do they want story that conjures intimacy between friends and family? Neither is better than the other, but takes a much different approach to planning, if you’re the parent. Kelly Trevino said, “I think people basically need to ask their kids instead of assum(ing) they’ll know how the kid wants to remember the end of high school at this time.”
What Did I Leave Out?
The possibilities are endless. The opportunities are different for small towns verses large schools but these ideas can be adapted to meet the individual needs of the community or student. How will you be celebrating? Share some new ideas in the comments below!
Big or small, or not at all, I wish you the peace and love of our Lord. I prayed for God’s blessings over each person who reads this and I pray you pass peace and love on.
Here’s to the Class of 2020.
Don't forget to catch The Introverted Believer Podcast!