Graduation Open House Ideas

graduation Swiss Cake Roll diplomas

We recently hosted an open house for my daughter, who graduated from high school. It was a fun day, full of visits with friends and family.

Of course, lots of planning goes into a graduation open house. Here are some of the ideas I used to make the day more memorable.

Graduation Open House – Displays

graduation open house memories table

We held the open house in our house. In the dining room, I set up displays featuring the grad for guests to look at. I put up band posters I’d made for her during high school (they were pretty time-consuming, so it was nice to be able to use them again). Add in a box for cards. This was a great one. I liked the currently-popular chalkboard look, and my youngest daughter used the included piece of chalk to decorate it. After the event, I can just “erase” it and re-use 😉 At 12″ square, it’s roomy enough for a lot of cards.

I also added a globe and a ribbon-wrapped stack of books to contribute to the school days theme, and a Barbie featuring her future university completed the look.

graduation open house display

Another table featured scrapbooks with childhood photos, framed photos, graduation cap candy/cookies, and a grad chalk centerpiece.

graduation open house display

The table also featured the grad’s copy of Oh, The Places You’ll Go!. Throughout elementary school, I asked each of her teachers to sign it (affiliate) for her. I gave it to her in middle school. At graduation, guests could leave her a message.

Graduation Open House – Centerpiece

grad chalk centerpiece

This grad chalk centerpiece garnered lots of compliments. It was reasonably-priced, and came personalized with my choice of text. A vase fit perfectly inside for flowers, or it would look nice on its own as well. I placed one of these in the dining room, and another in the kitchen with the food. Speaking of which …

graduation open house food

Graduation Open House – Food

For food, I served walking tacos. If you’re not familiar with the concept, this involves small bags of Fritos (or Doritos). Each guest takes a bag, opens it, then adds shredded taco-seasoned chicken, sour cream, lettuce, salsa, and cheese.

I found a case of Fritos (50 bags) for a reasonable cost at Sam’s Club. For the meat, Gordon Food Service sells bags of seasoned chicken (pre-cooked) for a good price. I just stocked up on cheese and sour cream when they were on sale. Since lettuce has to be a last-minute purchase, no bargain tips there 🙂

grad open house cupcakes

I also put out a bowl of fruit (fresh pineapple, strawberries, grapes). For the sweet stuff — I made two types of cupcakes: Vanilla Cupcakes with Fresh Vanilla Buttercream and Peanut Butter Stuffed Brownie Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Buttercream. Both were excellent, although the chocolate-peanut butter ones were a true hit.

Reese cup chocolate cupcake

A brownie cupcake with a Reese’s cup inside — how could you not love that?

graduation Swiss Cake Roll diplomas

Here’s another idea I saw that I thought was cute: buy Little Debbie Swiss Cake Rolls and tie with ribbon in your school’s colors to look like diplomas.

Most of my party supplies came from Shindigz. They sell thousands of party supplies in a ton of themes, and you can find pretty much anything there. Many of their products can be personalized at no extra cost (like my centerpieces). Next time you’re planning a … um … shindig, check them out.

graduation party plates Shindigz

Be sure to check the clearance section. That’s where I found these plates and napkins. They were very reasonable!

Thanks to Shindigz for providing some party supplies. All opinions my own.


11 thoughts on “Graduation Open House Ideas

  1. I was so pleased to attend Caroline’s graduation and party! You did a great job!

  2. I really enjoyed the graduation open house. The concept of walking tacos was totally new to me, but I enjoyed it. I’m sorry I didn’t know we were supposed to sign her book. I would certainly have done that had I known about it. It was a pleasant time and the decorations added a lot.

  3. Very nice!! I loved the “Oh, the Places You Will Go” book idea. And those peanut butter filled cupcakes! I hope you pinned that recipe! I did not know there was an IU Cheerleader Barbie!

  4. Congratulations to your daughter! Love the idea of the “Oh, the Places You Will Go” book.

  5. So sorry that I missed this truly outstanding shindig! All of the decorating and food ideas look so clever!
    Bet the party guests can’t wait until your shindigs for Isabel and Sophie in a few short years!

  6. Graduation congrats!! But I think we need to have a party to celebrate you too Susan! Such clever ideas!

  7. I certainly enjoyed the day. I hope the graduate enjoyed it as much as I did!

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