Flashback to when you were 17 or 18 and graduating from high school, or add a few years and recall finally obtaining that college degree at the ripe age of 21 or 22. The future was a blank canvas.

How to mark such an important milestone?

Long gone are the days of busting a piñata filled with candy or playing “pin-the-tail on the donkey” like you might have done in elementary school.

Adulthood awaits, and a high school or college graduation party should fit the mood. But you can still have fun!

Here are some party ideas to mark the joyous occasion of graduating from high school or college.

The canvas is yours to paint.

High School Graduation

Chances are your high school graduate has a group of loyal friends – and that is likely to change as he goes off to college and meets a new set of companions.

•    Make a video. Gather as many photos you can of your special graduate and his friends and make a video slide show. Add a soundtrack of songs that are fitting for their high school days (might want to consult a teenager) and watch the tears flow. Include earlier photos of your graduate’s life and pass the tissues.

A high school graduation is a passage to adulthood, signaling that the real world is now at hand, so you might want to rethink that Snoopy cake and party hats.

•    Punch with a purpose. A delicious and easy way to celebrate a college-bound graduate’s future school is to make a non-alcoholic punch in the chosen school’s colors. You can even name the creations after iconic campus buildings. Mix up a green or yellow (gold) batch if the University of Notre Dame is the next destination and call it Golden Dome punch. Or make a red batch for Indiana University. People can assemble around the Assembly Hall punch.

Leaving for college or embarking on a post-high school career can be a scary time. Having any reminders of home, of family and friends, can soothe the transition.

•    Put your guests to work. Set up a table where guests can assemble some crafts to adorn a dorm room or a new apartment. Decorate picture frames or customize a bulletin board to help remind the graduate of their roots. Sew up laundry bags that can be decorated for that personal touch.

College Graduation

The college graduate is most likely of age to enjoy an alcoholic beverage. And what better way to temporarily forget about those student loans than with a cocktail?

•    Raise a glass. Be creative with cocktail creations by using a college theme. Find drinks with colors that match the graduate’s alma mater. Or make them fun, such as the The Jolly Green Rancher. What you’ll need: 6 sour apple Jolly Ranchers; 4 ounces cranberry juice; 1 ounce vodka; 1 lime; ice. Directions: Take 3 jolly ranchers and crush into pieces; rim the glass with lime wedge. Place glass upside down and line glass with Jolly Rancher mix. Add handful of ice, cranberry juice and vodka and garnish with 3 Jolly Ranchers. Watch your student loans disappear!

After spending all that money at a higher institution of learning, hopefully the college graduate has developed a sense of pride in the place that prepared her for the future.

•    Rah rah, sis boom bah! Use college banners in the colors of the graduate’s alma mater for any kind of announcements or notes at the party, or for placeholders.
•    Freeze frame! Find some poster board in the color of the graduate’s alma mater and place interest facts about the college inside a frame, arrange around house.

College caps a lifelong time of learning and marks a transition into years of discovery.

•    Words to live by. Along with a sign-up book, place a blank journal nearby so that guests can depart words of wisdom and inspiration to the graduate.
•    Jar of hearts. Find a large mason jar. Have guest write good luck messages on slips of paper and place them in the jar as a keepsake for the graduate.

Whether you decide to party with your cap and mortarboard at home, or venture out into the great wide yonder to shake your tassel with friends, family and other sky’s-the-limit bound grads, we’ve got you covered with our tips, tricks, ideas, inspirations and suggestions.  Take a quick peek to see who’s got space for your graduation shindig in your own area by checking out our comprehensive Indianapolis venue database!
Any graduation party is a time of celebration marking a passage into adulthood.

Just like the journey ahead for the graduate, the party represents a blank canvas.

Paint with gusto!