Open House Graduation Party

Do's and Dont's for Hosting a Cheap, Open House Graduation Party


Graduations are approaching fast! Whether you will be hosting an open house for a junior high, college, high school or even kindergarten graduation, these parties can become very costly. And if you have a high school-graduation open house looming, you have probably just finished paying off all the costs of invitations, caps and gowns, prom expenses and all the other hidden costs of high school graduation.


Of course, you want to celebrate your student's graduation; you want a nice party. But here are some really great tips for keeping the costs down and still enjoying yourself.


Don't rent a hall or facility: DO host the open house at your home or a local park with pavilions. Rented facilities can be very costly and sometimes include hidden fees. Live in an apartment or condo? Your rent may include usage of a community hall or outdoor commons. Check it out.


Don't rent tables, chairs, awnings, or any buffet items. DO borrow as much as possible. Being Catholic we have baptism, first communion and confirmation parties as well as open houses. When anyone has an open house, we share and lend banquet tables, lawn chairs, coffee urns, punch bowls, awnings, buffet equipment etc. DO ask around your circle of friends. DO ask your church or school. Some may lend out equipment also. If all else fails, DO consider the purchase of equipment instead of renting; renting is a huge waste of money and if you have more than one child, you will need the items again.


Don't serve alcohol. Obviously, many of the guests will be minors. Also any event with alcohol served can get carried away and expensive. DO pick up some daiquiri mix, pina colada mix or Margarita mix and soda. A bucket of mix costs about $6-$8 and when added to soda will make about 30-40 drinks. Guests will enjoy having these tropical treats!


Don't hire a DJ. Even a simple CD player set outdoors will provide ample music. DO set out your CD collection and assign one of your children to be the disc jockey. This gives the non-graduating children something to do. If you have a portable Karaoke machine or microphone, so much the better. Our 10 year old has proposed all sorts of entertainment for our son's graduation, everything from puppet shows to an impromptu comedy show. Needless to say he is not keen to have his little drama queen sister entertain. She is going to manage the music, to keep her occupied.


Don't worry about having enough chairs. Many people like to mingle. But do borrow and set out lawn chairs, especially for older guests.


Don't worry too much about an awning for your graduation open house. If you don't have an awning, DO set up beach umbrellas. Borrow if possible. You can also create an awning from a tarp attached to poles. Tarps can be purchased from most discount or dollar stores.


Don't hire a caterer. When we have parties or open houses in our large Catholic gatherings, we each bring food to share. In fact many of us have trademark or special foods that we bring, by request, to family or church gatherings. Being German, ours is Apfel Sauerkraut unt Bratwurst. See my article Graduation Open House Foods for ideas. Many people feel honored when they are asked to bring a certain dish to share. DO purchase food, tableware and supplies in bulk from food service distributors or mass merchandisers like Wal-Mart or Target. DO purchases decorations like balloons and crepe paper streamers from dollar stores. DO make your own posters, signs etc. This is another good project for siblings!


An graduation open house should be a chance to visit, celebrate and enjoy with family and friends; these money-saving tips should help you to do just that! To check out over at