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Discussion Forums

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On Graduation
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You may even see your question and answer posted in the space below.

Angela asked:

Occasion: surprise college graduation party for husband
I need some more ideas on decorating. I have some good ideas but I need some more ideas using books in order for it to really be a "theme". Nothing really flows together yet.

The Party Girl's advice is:

Ask each of the guests to bring a new child's book to donate to the hospital. You could have everyone come in their favorite character. You can get tons of used books, see garage sales, etc. and use them as centerpieces, decorations on food tables, etc. Blow up a pic of your husband and mount it on a board. Let the guests play "Put the book in (name) hands like pin the tail and them let them sign in. You could play charades using only book titles

Tamara asked:

Occasion: pre-school graduation
Any creative, fun menu ideas for 25 five and six year olds graduation pre-k?

The Party Girl's advice is:

Check and for some ideas. Also, see if you can get a baby picture of each graduate and mount them on a large poster along side a current picture to show how "big" they have gotten. Depending on the theme and time of day, don't knock yourself out about. Kids that age just want fun, sugar, and fingers and don't want to worry about getting messy. Give them their way on this. Also, disposable stuff when possible.

Debbie asked:

Occasion: son's graduation party
I will be having a graduation party for my son, I wasn't following any special type of theme. (just graduation) Could you please suggest some type of table decorations. I plan to have balloons but would like to have something else. For my daughters party I also had flowers on the table, but for a guy I didn't think that would work.

The Party Girl's advice is:

Make some fake diplomas tied with ribbon and some miter boards (the grad hats) with tassels. Put them together along with pix of your son and some glitter. Make a large picture of your son and let the guests sign it.

Melanie asked:

Occasion: Hawaiian luau graduation party
need some food suggestions and decorating ideas

The Party Girl's advice is:

Check out for the beach/Hawaiian themes for ideas. Be sure to have ukes, leis, hula skirts, and umbrellas for the drinks. typical food is a pig roasted in a pit but I doubt you want to do that so just do a cookout with scooped out watermelons filled with melon balls and strawberries, pineapple and kiwi on wooden skewers as kabobs. Have a sweet tropical punch.

Kelly York asked:

Occasion: College Graduation
What kind of food can we serve at my luau? I need some recipes for our theme. Thank you, Kelly

The Party Girl's advice is:

Cut watermelons in half and scoop out in balls. Fill the empty halves with melon balls. Also have fruit kabobs using kiwi, oranges, pineapple, etc. Since you probably don't want to dig a pit and roast a pig, you might want to look at party411.themes under the beach/Hawaiian area for ideas. Be sure to have punch, grass skirts, ukes, leis, etc.

The Graduate, asked:

Occasion: High School Graduation Party.
Hi Party Girl!!, I'm having a little problem with planning a graduation party for my friends and I. I want the theme to be Hawaiian or luau. I have one of those gazebos with the green top and white sides. I plan to wrap crepe paper around the 4 metal poles in each corner and stick green construction paper to the top to make it look like palm trees. I'll give every one a leis as they arrive and have coconut half's on the buffet table. For games, I came up with limbo. Can you suggest any other games please? I plan to serve finger sandwiches chicken cutlets, fruit kebabs, mac & cheese, hot dogs, & chips. Can you suggest any other snacks/food to fit the theme or that you think teens will eat? I'll have Hawaiian grass skirts around the buffet table. Can you suggest anything, ANYTHING PLEASE to help me?? There are going to be 10 people attending this high school graduation party. They are all between the ages of 17-18. I am 17. The party will be in my back yard. I need games to keep them occupied, great food, and cool decorations. This is my first party ever (I'm not kidding!) and I want it to be perfect. Please feel free to use the wallpaper on this e-mail. I want to congratulate you on your web site. As you can see, I got many of my ideas from it. Thanks a Bunch!!!! :0)

The Party Girl's advice is:

You seem to have it pretty well covered. Look at and gameguide for extra suggestions. check out for other decorations and stuff if you need it. also check out your dollar stores. Remember, everyone like to play with bubbles so get lots of them and lots of different kinds of blowers. Play pass the orange - 2 teams, hands behind the back, pass the orange from neck to neck. If everyone is in a good enough mood, lay kiddie games like duck, duck, goose.

Samantha asked:

Occasion: Graduating college (Master's Degree)
My apt. isn't that large and I'm wondering if the casino theme would work in my living room. I'm expecting about 20 - 30 people which should be fine once I move a few things around. Also, what time do you suggest starting this type party? Any suggestions??

The Party Girl's advice is:

I don't know how many people you are having but 21 tables can sit up to seven, poker, unlimited, craps unlimited. Measure your space and see what fits. You can rent the equipment. Have the dealer for 21 with his back to the wall to save space. A spinning wheel could go against a wall also. the time depends upon what you're serving. If not dinner, start about 8PM. That way you can get away with beverages and snacks.

James Cook asked:

Occasion: Daughter' High School Graduation
Apart from having lunch with the family member who traveled form distance place to see my daughter graduate, what kind of entertainment should I provide? I plan to use a hotel ballroom for about two hours. I need a suggestion on preparing a program.

The Party Girl's advice is:

Ask all the guest to write down a memory or an amusing story about your daughter and invite them to read it at the party. Tell them to keep it brief and hopefully funny. Put together a montage of her birthday photos and mount them on poster board for the guests to sign in on. If you have a bakery with a scanner, have them put her picture on the cake. And, ask her what she would like. Most parents forget to do this, we're all guilty of that.

Bev Friedberg asked:

Occasion: College Graduation
I'm serving a family-style luncheon for about 100-125 people @ 3:30. I've considered hiring a pianist and/or DJ, but would like some other ideas on how to entertain my guests and pass the time. I figured I would give a little thank-you speech before we eat and have the pianist play during the meal. I don't know where to go from there and how to transition over to the DJ. I was thinking the DJ could play some specially selected music meaningful to my life and the event. Any ideas? Time is running out! Thanks.

The Party Girl's advice is:

Have the pianist take requests from each table and acknowledge the table when playing their song. Once that is over, you might want to announce something like "Enough sitting, we need to work off all this food" and have the DJ take over. He could make this announcement. While the pianist is working, have some stools and high top; tables, like in a lounge and let people drift over and sing along if they would like to.

Brenda asked:

Occasion: after high-school graduation dinner
x-wife and I will be hostessing. Both sides of families will be there (appox.60) Some hostility. Eight to 10 tables. Seating arrangement? Both grandparents at same table with both parents and graduate? Took some good ideas from your event themes, but any table-top suggestions - was planning on red & white roses (school colors red, silver & black). Banners, balloons appropriate for a restaurant. Room will hold 100, but will have a buffet. Should we have separate tables for dessert (we're providing)& gifts & greeting table?

The Party Girl's advice is:

Lets take this one thing at a time. You could have random seating with no head table and thereby eliminate who sits with whom. You could have a head table with the graduate, her parents and grandparents. Most kids like to sit with friends and contemporaries. Second, why not take a picture of the graduate and have it made into llxl4 blowups and mounted front and back on foam core (see Kinko's). Put these into a Styrofoam base with a miter board (grad. cap) and a fake diploma wrapped up and ties with ribbon. Sprinkle glitter in your colors and attach balloons. Have the same picture enlarged and on an easel with markers so that the guests can sign in. Dessert should always stand alone. Some suggestions, have her picture scanned and put on top of a cake and have do-it-yourself-sundaes. Everyone loves that.

Nagueyalti Warren asked:

Occasion: Graduation brunch
I'm wearing sandals, white leather med. heel; should I wear hose?

The Party Girl's advice is:

Are your legs tan yet? If not, try a self tanning product so that you don't have to wear hose

Mary Ann Shults asked:

Occasion: 8th grade graduation party
Can you give me some ideas of games and decorations for this years graduation party of 8th graders. Sorry it is so late asking, but, the kids just decided which kind of party they wanted.

The Party Girl's advice is:

If you look at you will see some great suggestions. Also check out Look at for inexpensive stuff for decor and favors.

Amy asked:

Occasion: graduation party
What are some fun activities that we can do and do you have any decorating ideas?

The Party Girl's advice is:

Check out or /gameguide for some ideas.

Pat asked:

Occasion: 8th grade graduation
Any ideas for centerpieces for the food table? Individual tables will have balloon centerpieces....looking for something different.....low budget

The Party Girl's advice is:

Keep the balloon theme but put numbers on some of theme to signify each year of school with the number 8 bigger, brighter and better. If you can find a class picture for each grade, have it with the balloon

Deborah asked:

Occasion: graduation
I'm giving my son a open house type of gathering for graduation. I need suggestions on decorations, party favors, ideas. The food will be Mexican: tacos, fajitas, chips and dips. His school colors are black and gold. Any suggestions. Thanks.

The Party Girl's advice is:

Get a piņata in those colors and look at for favors in those colors that work for your theme. If he is into sports, check out the teams with those colors.

Treva Madore asked:

Occasion: 6th grade end of the year party
Our 6th grade has an end of the year party. We need ideas of things that 12-13 year olds would find fun and interesting

The Party Girl's advice is:

Check out and gameguide for ideas. Check especially the Bat/Bar Mitzvah section which will appeal to that age group. You also might consider the kids donating their time to a hospital ward or retirement home. The gift of giving.

Amy Graham asked:

Occasion: Graduation Dry grad party
Do you have any ideas? I mean we don't have a lot of time and anything would be a appreciated. We want to make this a lot of fun for the people who aren't allowed to go to the other grad party and the ones who have chosen to come to ours. We are a small youth group and so we don't have a large budget but any decorating and big group game ideas would be appreciated.

The Party Girl's advice is:

Check out and /themes. Use the dollar stores for decorations.

cat asked:

Occasion: girl's high school graduation
How can we make this a memorable party? We will be having an open house for 4 hours. Budget is flexible. thanks for your suggestions cat

The Party Girl's advice is:

Get pics of the graduate at all different ages and have them blown up and use as decorations. Since people will be coming and going for 4 hours, the food must be finger style or easy to maintain. Instead of one cake, get cupcakes with suitable decorations such as a miter board or a diploma. I would serve all sorts of beverages knowing that some of the guests are not of age. Have some good music playing, nothing too loud or punk or new age. Maybe you would like to have a book available for people to not only sign in but write a personal note to the graduate. Maybe the guests could write a memory and bring a picture. Go to the dollar store and get fun stuff and put it in a large decorated box and have the guests draw a prize before they leave. Lots of balloons.

Janet asked:

Occasion: 8th grade graduation party
I need to decorate around the song School's Out For the Summer". The colors are teal, silver, and black. Any help at all would be great.

The Party Girl's advice is:

How about using those colors on balloons, bikes, bathing suits, etc. all summer things. Also large numbers such as 12 + 20 = 32 or ABC. Get some plastic swimming pools and pails and shovels, lots of pools come in blue and later donate them to a shelter or home for kids. Check out the dollar stores for other items that would apply and look at for some theme items.

Vicki asked:

Occasion: graduation party
In great need of graduation party ideas for 18 year old daughter: nickname "Princess" if this helps you out at all! I am not a "party planning person"!!! Desperate for ideas/decorations, etc.! This will be an open house type event (kids like to go around to all the various parties that day, so no DJ or anything like that, just a good food (finger type) selection, great decorations, etc.! Thanks for any advice!

The Party Girl's advice is:

You can still use a theme. Check for ideas on Check for inexpensive theme party decorations and items. Once you pick the theme, you can figure out the food. example, Beach, island, luau, pineapple, paper leis, palm trees, watermelon, limbo games, etc.

Skye asked:

Occasion: Graduation party
My graduation party is including my friends as well as their parents, and I'm having a hard time picking the right type of music to play. I want up-tempo, happy music, since it will be summer. Any CD suggestions?

The Party Girl's advice is:

Why not ask your parents? Or check out the music that was popular when they graduated and play some of that for old-times-sake. I don't know what decade they were in but there's lots to choose from. Ask your friends to ask their parents.

V asked:

Occasion: 5th grade graduation
For the graduation dance I was thinking a Then 80's and now 90's theme using baby pictures of all the students for then and current pictures for now. But I am stumped on what was hot in the 80's , besides Pop Rocks that is LOL. I also am responsible for coming up with the Graduation theme and I am not sure on that :( I was thinking something with a silhouette of each child's head or hand something like that but I cant think of the theme. Please help any advice you have would be GREATLY appreciated. Please email me directly because I may never find this spot again. Have a great day!

The Party Girl's advice is:

First of all, try for some ideas. The 80's were a hard decade, o real themes for kids other than some movies, check at the library. You could get clay and have the kids make those handprints that we all made in kindergarten. Play games they played as little kids such as hide and seek, and Red rover.

Vicki in MI asked:

Occasion: graduation
In great need of graduation party ideas for 18 year old daughter: nickname "Princess" if this helps you out at all! I am not a "party planning person"!!! Desperate for ideas/decorations, etc.! This will be an open house type event (kids like to go around to all the various parties that day, so no DJ or anything like that, just a good food (finger type) selection, great decorations, etc.! Thanks for any advice!

The Party Girl's advice is:

Well, if you like the princess idea, go with crowns, scepters, capes, etc. Use lots of glitter and stars and faux jewels. Use cookie cutters shaped like stars, etc and make the sandwiches and all the food in shapes that match the theme. Use the color purple (that's the official royal color). Go to the dollar store and check out the stuff you can use. Also check out on the web.

Tonya Saele asked:

Occasion: Graduation party
I would like some ideas for a catching theme that has something to do with the 50's. I would also like some idea's of activities and decorating idea' soon as possible....

The Party Girl's advice is:

Think Happy Days. Think pink and black. Think leather jackets and poodle skirts, crew cuts and ponytails. How about a blown up pic of a juke box or renting a real one for the DJ to use. Bobby sox, saddle shoes and penny loafers. check out the music of the 50's and play some of that. Hamburgers, soda, fries and onion rings were all the rage. Motorcycles and letter sweaters and jackets. Dancing in socks with no shoes. Chewing gum. The twist and hula hoops. Could go on and on

Christina Wormer asked:

Occasion: college graduation
I need some very innovative ideas that would make this party a blast. Anything you could suggest would be helpful.

The Party Girl's advice is:

check the dollar store for fun stuff to hand out and to use as prizes. Make sure everyone dresses in traditional luau. Get those little umbrellas for the drinks, even beer. Laugh! Have Hawaiian music going. Scoop out pineapples and watermelons to hold fruit and other foods. Why not play "kid" games and bill it as the last time to do this before having kids of your own. You know, 3-legged races. toss the egg or water balloon, hide and seek, Red rover. Get pix of Hawaiian man and woman and have a Kinko's blow it up and put on foam core. Cut out the face and take pix of guests. Check out to see if there is anything else to use and check Oriental Trading for favor ideas

Denise asked:

Occasion: graduation
How do I make the backyard look festive for my son's high school graduation open house/bar-b-que? I need suggestions on decorations, ideas for centerpieces, and a theme. My budget is small and time is getting near. So any suggestions are welcomed greatly.

The Party Girl's advice is:

think western. Wear lots of plaid (shirts), cowboy hats, boots, etc. The food for a bbq lends itself to this, hamburgers, hot dogs, chips, etc. Use corn stalks and ropes for decor. Get a pic of a cowboy and a cowgirl and have Kinko's blow it up to life-size and cut out the faces. Take pics of the guests looking thru. A cake can be in the shape of a cowboy hat or boot. Find a dollar store and look for stuff. You could have picnic activities such as 3-legged races, hide and seek. toss the egg or water balloons. Use balloons for centerpieces and table decorations. Have copies made of you son's face and mount them on foam core to add to the balloons. have fun

Kate asked:

Occasion: Graduation
I'm working on my invitation and can't seem to come up with good text. I love motorcycles and trucks if that helps.

The Party Girl's advice is:

How about something like: won't you drive (pic of car) on over (date) at (time) and help celebrate my graduation from (pic of tricycle) to (pic of motorcycle. Go from there

Michelle Stump asked:

Occasion: 5th grade Graduation
Not sure on any ideas and haven't seen any to strike me good yet. This is an elementary graduation for children who will be going on to middle school, grades 6-8. Most will attend the same school and later high school, however for some children, this will be their last year together. Most are into "today" music and whatever sport it's season for. Some parents will attend, but not on the guest list, if that matters to you. I'm really lost, can you tell? Please help! Thanks,

The Party Girl's advice is:

I don't know what your budget is but one great idea is to nurture the idea of "Caring and Sharing". These kids are still young enough not to think it is hokey. Make arrangements with a nursing home or hospice or hospital. Have the kids have a party for these people and work with the caregivers on the plans. Just the planning is a good experience and you never know just where this might lead a child!

H asked:


The Party Girl's advice is:

I will have someone contact you about this. Too much to put in advice column.

Melvina Parsons asked:

Occasion: grade six graduation
I'm just looking for a graduation theme for a grade six graduation

The Party Girl's advice is:

First of all, try the themes category on the home page. If nothing strikes you, write back

debi asked:

Occasion: 8th grade graduation dance
Any ideas for inexpensive activities for the kids who are to shy to dance?

The Party Girl's advice is:

Since a wizard can go anything he wants to, get a really silly hat and the one who is wearing it has to do whatever he is told. make up some funny things to do (bark like a dog on all fours, sing a silly song, etc) and put them in "Toto's basket". The person draws his own silly thing. Maybe everyone can come dressed as their favorite character from the story. Have music playing that everyone likes. You never know, sometimes the boys will "set it"

Letty Tagle asked:

Occasion: Graduation
I am having a graduation dinner/party for my daughter. She loves butterflies and candles. We thought of floating candles for centerpieces????? I'm trying to work on a low budget and need ideas for a theme

The Party Girl's advice is:

How about calling it something like "Flying High" or "A New Pair of Wings" using pastels. You can buy lots of butterfly stuff because it is so "hot" right now, including things for the hair and printed fabric. Maybe you could use fish bowls filled with colored water floating votive candles. Sprinkle glitter on the cloths.

Greta Dohrmann asked:

Occasion: high school graduation
I am a parent on the after prom party. We are having trouble coming up with ideas to keep the kids busy for four hours. We do have things like 3 on 3 basketball tourn. and drawings. We are needing some help coming up with other things for the kids to do. Please help.

The Party Girl's advice is:

Have you thought about a carnival? That would keep the kids busy (before and after the party). They can assist to make some of the games and the rest can be rented or donated from a local prop company. Have you checked out the Andersons prom catalogue. They have some great ideas. Get it at Does this help?

Deborah asked:

Occasion: high school graduation
I need help with a theme, school colors are black and gold. Active in baseball and football. We're having an open house with mostly family and friends from school. I need help with decorations and a theme. Budget for decorations will be really tight. Thank you for your help.


The Party Girl's advice is:

Have you thought of the theme being you??! Are you having tables where you need centerpieces? If you are trying to save money, stick with balloons. You can do a fabulous black and gold theme with balloons for very little. Bouquets on the tables with black and gold Mylar bases. At the door, on the buffets and bars, etc. This will make it look very nice for a lower budget. On the other hand, if you want to include some of your interests, let me know what those are, and I'll see if I can help!

Donald asked:

Occasion: high school decorations/graduation
I need help. IM in charge of decorations for my daughters after-graduation dance. the event is in a very large room with balcony over head. also any ideas for games etc to include at the dance. other things they could do at the dance besides dance? any suggestions will be greatly appreciated!!!

The Party Girl's advice is:

Definitely go to for a catalogue. They are a company that specializes in proms and after proms and their catalogue lists tons of ideas that you can "steal." Or order the props from them. In the meantime, are you having a DJ? If so, he should come up with plenty of games for the kids to do (Club Med type) keep them busy when they are not dancing. You may want to add casino games, carnival type games (call a prop house in town) or a scavenger hunt of some sort with prizes. Go with balloon work, though. If the room is large, you need to fill it BIG and with COLOR! Balloons are your least expensive way to go. Does this help?

Kate asked:

Occasion: graduation
Hello again, this is Kate. I love the idea of the wine bottles with the dripping candles. But when you say fill the baskets full of bread are you talking about sliced bread or whole loaves and are they just decoration or are they eatable? I was thinking of also using different types of pastas tied or glued together to put in the baskets for decorations. Thanks again for your help.

The Party Girl's advice is:

Kate, I answered this once and my computer crashed. Let's try again. Put the breads in whole, facing this direction and make a fabulous looking centerpiece. Scatter uncooked pasta around the bottom of the basket as confetti! Who knows--they have so many shapes of pasta now, maybe you can find a graduation cap!

Kate Bradley asked:

Occasion: graduation
Ok, well first I want to say thanks for answering my last question. I think I have decided on an Italian spaghetti feed and I think I want to do checkered table clothes and stuff but was wondering if you have any idea where to find Italian table settings? I want to do something with pastas and breads I think. Any suggestions would be appreciated. thanks kate

The Party Girl's advice is:

When you say Italian table settings, I'm not sure what you mean. However, for the tables you could do the fabulous wine bottles with dripping candles (not expensive) or fill baskets with tons of Italian bread, draped with the colors of the Italian flag. Let me know exactly what you meant!

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