Graduation season is upon us, and for many families, that means planning an event to honor the grad in their lives. Whether you’ve got someone graduating high school or college, you may be wanting to plan something different than the tried-and-true open house style party. Here are some unique ideas you can use to throw an epic party that will honor your grad in style.

1. Think Outside the Box for Entertainment

What’s the entertainment going to be at your grad party? A slideshow of pictures is great, and you’ll definitely want to pull out those embarrassing baby photos at some point, but why not kick it up a notch with the entertainment.

 Don’t be afraid to hire a DJ and have a little bit of a dance. After all, you will have the opportunity to supervise the festivities, but your grad can have a little bit of fun with the friends that are heading out on their separate paths.

 2. Make the Venue Unique

 Who says a grad party has to be held in your backyard or an event hall? Why does it have to be a park shelter? Instead, consider a unique venue that will make your party stand out. In fact, with the right venue, the venue itself can be part of the entertainment.

 Look around your community to find the unique ideas that exist. Maybe you have a bowling alley with a party room? That could be a great idea. Not only can you congratulate your graduate, but you can stick around to play a few rounds. Did your grad love the roller rink while in school? Rent it out for your party! Do you have a local charter cruise company? Rent it out for a day. For those living in Minnesota, Paradise Charter Cruises and the Minneapolis Queen are a great venue for a grad party. You can celebrate your graduate while taking to the lake or river and watching the scenery pass you by.

Planning a Unique Graduation Party

 Of course, if you’re doing a unique venue, especially one with a time frame like a cruise or renting a skating rink, you’ll need to schedule your party accordingly. Pick a weekend when other grads aren’t having their open houses, so your guests will be free to attend. Then, have some fun in your unique venue as you enjoy family and friends who come together to congratulate your graduate.

 3. Hire or Make a Photo Booth

 No matter where you hold your party, a photo booth would be a great addition. A photo booth not only adds a layer of entertainment, but it captures memories that your grad will love to look back on.

 Making a photo booth isn’t hard. First, you’ll need some props, but these can be picked up at just about any party store in your area. Choose the ones that the guests can hold up to make silly faces or signs while taking a picture.

 Then, set up an area where the pictures will be taken. If you don’t have professional photography equipment, choose an area with natural light. If you do hire a professional or have pro equipment, you’ll simply need a curtain or other backdrop.

 Finally, put someone in charge of snapping the pictures, and make sure all guests visit before they leave. You’ll end the night with a photographic memorial of all the people who came to your party, and your guests will have a chance to showcase their personalities a bit as they pose for their photo.

 4. Enjoy a Last Chance to Be a Kid

 Graduation is really the “goodbye” to childhood, so celebrate childhood in style. Have a piñata. Bring out the water guns or NERF guns. Have childhood board games out for people to play. If this is the theme of your party, you just might be surprised at how quickly the guests get in on the fun! Invite them to bring their own water guns, yard games, board games and more to join in the festivities. You can even bring a slushie machine to have a kid-friendly drink option!

 5. Do Brunch Instead of Dinner

 If you know that your friends and family are going to have a lot of parties pulling their attention, why not switch things up and do a brunch or breakfast party instead of a dinner one? You can have pastries, egg bakes, bacon and sausage, with gourmet coffees and fruit drinks, and your guests will have the freedom to sit around and visit before having to rush off to the other parties they’re needing to attend.

 6. Host a Bonfire

If you’re not a morning person but still want to avoid the 3-5 open house rush, why not host a bonfire. You can roast hot dogs and s’mores while celebrating your graduate. You will need to have a lit area for the obligatory photos, but if you have an outdoor space, a bonfire is a great way to have some unique graduation fun.

 7. Throw Back to the Year the Grad Was Born

 Think about life 18 or 22 years ago when your grad was born. Could you throw a party that is a throwback to that era? You probably can. This is a great way to celebrate your graduate in a unique way, and to invite your guests to have just a little bit of extra fun. As an added bonus, mom and dad will have the chance to embarrass their grad with their retro clothing and hairstyles.

 8. Host a Block Party

 Are there multiple grads in your neighborhood? Save everyone a little time and effort by throwing an epic block party to celebrate their mutual graduations. Even if everyone invites their own individual guests, you can block of some parts of your neighborhood, or meet in the neighborhood park, and share the responsibility of food, venue, and entertainment costs. You can even advertise it as a community potluck to spread out the food costs a bit farther.

 As you can see, the traditional graduation open house is just one of many ways to celebrate the grad in your life. Think outside the box a little, and you will be rewarded with a fun and memorable party that will be something your grad won’t soon forget.