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The Perfect Graduation Party from Kindergarten through College

Parties are a great way to celebrate a graduate's achievement with family and friends. Here are some ideas to help you host a party with lots of pomp and circumstance, whether your student is graduating from Kindergarten, high school or college.

Grade A Invitations
Make a grad cap invitation from black cardstock tied with a tassel and write details in silver ink. Or, make personalized report cards with party details added. If you're celebrating a little one's graduation, use lots of block letters and a variety of colors - even let the guest of honor get involved in decorating the invitations with crayons or colored markers. For a high school graduate, including "Before" and "After" pictures of the guest of honor is a creative way to show the student's progress throughout the years.

Use school photos to decorate the party scene. Then, enlarge one of the recent photos and add it to a "Class of ..." banner. For added fun, have guests autograph the banner and add words of advice for the future.

You can also decorate the party space with balloons in the graduate's school colors. Affix balloon bouquets and clusters to party tables, signage and tents.

Games & Activities
To celebrate the graduate's achievement, invite your guests to help make a memory book. Have a table with craft materials and ask guests share a memory and decorate a page. Be sure to ask guests to bring photos and keepsakes from the years to include in the book. Then, use the pages to create a graduation scrapbook. Don't forget to take photos at the party to capture all the memories.

When it comes to the menu, have some fun by giving each dish a school-themed name, such as "Chip off the old block," "Honor rolls," and "Brownie-noser." And give your entrees names such as "Science Experiment Surprise," "Biology Broccoli" and "Kindergarten Paste Pasta."

Create "fortune balloons" by writing predictions and words of wisdom on slips of paper then inserting them into balloons and inflating. Give the fortune balloons to guests and have them pop the balloons to get their fortunes.

Penny Warner has more than 25 years of experience as an author and party planner. She has published more than 50 books, including 16 specific to parties. Additionally, Warner writes a weekly newspaper column on family life, penned a column for Sesame Street Parents magazine and has appeared on several regional and national TV morning programs. Her latest book, HOW TO HOST A KILLER PARTY, debuted in February 2010 from NAL/Penguin.

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