High school graduation is a definite milepost in the travel through life. Most people are so eager to finish it up that they forget it harbors some of the best times of their life. Themes and activities at backyard graduation parties that are aimed at congratulating the graduate while reminding them of the better times they experienced are important. Asking for a glimpse of their plans for the next 5 years brings a reality to the whole experience.
Time Capsule Party
Have each guest bring a digital camera and have at least one or two on hand to supply those who do not have access to one. Set up a barbecue style cookout in the backyard with all of the food prepared ahead of time except for the burgers. In addition to the camera, ask each guest to bring a memento of high school that has meaning for them. Items such as a trophy, an article in the school paper, favorite clothing or anything else that symbolizes their high school experience will do fine. During the cookout, encourage everyone to take as many pictures as possible and to have others take pictures of them with close friends. Place the pictures on discs labeled with the name of the person who took them. Finally, have everyone write a message to themselves for five years into the future. Place the discs, mementos, messages and a graduation book in a time capsule. The time capsule can be any container that is air-tight, moisture-proof and difficult to break or damage. Bury the time capsule at least three feet into the backyard and have everyone sign a vow to return in five years for another cookout and the opening of the capsule.
Whew! That Parts Over
A high school graduation party is about the completion of young childhood and the beginning of adulthood. The theme of the party is “relax, we’ve finished the first step,” the completion of high school. The party invitations ask each guest to bring pictures of them from kindergarten through the 9th grade. The invitation also asks each guest to bring a brief written statement about their plans for the year after their graduation. The dress is ultimate casual with big hats, sunglasses and sunscreen. A banquet of snack foods is prepared and sitting out on tables and plenty of lawn chairs are available. Provide a variety of music and a disc player. The pictures brought by each guest are placed on a wall with a sheet hanging down to shield the view from others. The written statements are dropped into a sealed box with a hole in the top. The guests arrange themselves around the wall with the pictures and as one person points out a picture a consensus, amid much laughter and discussion is reached as to who the person is. The statements are then removed from the box and read aloud and again the group guesses who wrote them.
Decorate the back yard with a large “Good Luck Graduates.” The party conveys the message, congratulations on finishing high school, and the food and décor reflect that. Muffins and cookies with that message, as well as lots of snack food and beverages are available. Guests receive invitations with tassels attached, and a special request to use the invitation to write out a moment in high school that has stayed with them. This moment could be about them or someone or something they have observed from others. They are also asked to briefly write out thoughts they have for the future. The invitation stresses that future thoughts do not have to be set in stone. Upon arrival by the guest, the host or hostess collects the invitations, and after everyone has eaten, reads them and lets the group decide who wrote it. The host guides and encourages the others to comment or talk about each answer.