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High School After Grad Parties
This is a busy time of the year in the Event World. Here at GW Events we are entering After Prom season, festivals are coming up with the nicer weather as well as company picnics, as well as so many other types of events. We are gearing up for yet another very busy High School After Grad season!
What an exciting time for so many students, parents, and hey! School faculty as well. The After Grad celebration is a party to help these young graduates close one door to open new ones. They want to enjoy every minute with the friends they have made ans sat next to for so many years.
While many schools already have a solid plan for this year's party, it's not too late to make adjustments.
Let's talk about some of the things we have learned over the years.
There needs to be activities there that will appeal to many different types of personalities and that can keep them engaged. The goal is to keep the new graduates together in a safe environment for the evening.
Competitive inflatables, arcade games for the gamers, psychics and tarot card readers with positive messages for their futures, caricaturists to create a keepsake for them to always remember, a photo booth to freeze the moments of smiles with their friends, a casino area for them to try their luck and maybe earn entries for prizes, adult trikes for them to ride and be silly, carnival games setup like a festival midway, an arts and crafts area for them to relax and be creative, the possibilities are endless and need to be.
Food is huge! Many local businesses will donate and/or give great deals to their community and this population should definitely be a target audience for them. Try to stagger time slots to have food brought in or put out.... Having it all set out at the very beginning sometimes leads to a ton of wasted food. Having large coolers filled with ice and bottled water and drinks is an easy solution - the grads will be thirsty, count on having extra water for sure. If the students stay in a designated area with food and drinks, it will make cleanup easier on an already exhausted staff of volunteers at the end of the evening.
How do you keep them there until the very end? Prizes!
Have them earn extra entries by participating in every activity and getting a stamped card or by creating challenges in each area that will help them get more opportunities for prizes. Give most of the top prizes away at the end of the evening of course where they must be present to win. Again, work with local area businesses to get donations and amazing deals on prizes. Acknowledge those gifts with a slide show that thanks the businesses, add them to signage or have them printed on swag bags. Prizes for their first apartment, their dorm room, and of course gift cards are always huge hits.
Decorations often get overlooked. The idea is to celebrate and create a festive environment. And the old saying "presentation is everything" should apply here as well. Huge banners of congratulations are a must! They made it, let them know you are proud. Lighting can help transform spaces. Uplight the area with their school colors or have a theme that evokes different lighting. We had an Oz themed event for the Class of 2016. Bright colors everywhere with balloons, lighting, life size cutouts, oversized poppies, banners, Wizard of Oz quotes on custom signs that applied to their graduation- the kids loved it and felt special.
The thing is- there aren't rules and there aren't limitations. Sometimes the committee meetings can get stressful when planning the party but someone needs to remind everyone that the point is to give these kids a great party. The graduates should leave knowing that their school, community, and families support and applaud them.
Our GW Event Specialists can help still for the Class of 2017 or start planning for the Class of 2018.