Safe and Sober Grad Night Ideas

Published April 17, 2019
Graduating students in caps and gowns

Safe and sober grad night ideas help teens celebrate the end of high school in a low-risk way. School or parent groups typically plan and run the all-night grad night party at the school or another local venue after the graduation ceremony.

Grad Night Game Ideas

When planning for a grad night party, look for games that are unique and can involve large groups of players. This will get teens excited to play graduation party games that feel more mature than simple kid's games and give everyone a chance to have fun together.

Adulting Relay Race

Get grads prepared for adulthood with a fun relay race that illustrates the typical milestones in adult life in silly ways. Split all the attendees into equal groups and choose about five legs from these options. One player from each team will leave the starting area and complete the task for their leg then return to the starting area and tag the next player. Each leg should have its own pre-set station with enough materials for each team.

  • Move into your new apartment - Player carries several full suitcases, boxes, laundry baskets, or a combination of all three to their "new apartment."
  • Get to class on time - Player gets dressed in pants, shirt, and shoes, puts books into backpack and runs to "class."
  • Cook dinner on a budget - Player runs to "store" and chooses on toy food meat, one vegetable, and one drink then takes them to their "kitchen" and puts them on a plate.
  • Graduate college - Player dresses in cap and gown then runs and crosses wooden toy bridge.
  • Get married - Two players hold hands and run to "alter" where they recite vows written on a sheet of paper.
  • Buy a house - Player runs to table where they select a toy house or image of a house and bring back to team.
  • Have a baby - Player puts stuffed animal under their shirt, runs to "hospital" and takes toy out then brings back to team in a stroller or baby carrier.

Mystery Drink Pong

It's no secret many college kids play certain games at parties and high schoolers probably already know about them. Create your own sober version of Beer Pong using uncommon drinks. You'll need a long table, plastic cups, a variety of drinks, and several ping-pong balls. You can set up multiple versions of the game on different tables and host a tournament to make it more exciting.

  1. Set up six plastic cups in a pyramid shape at either end of a standard folding banquet table.
  2. Choose six weird, obscure, uncommon, or even gross drinks and fill one cup from each pyramid with one of the drink flavors.
  3. Teens can play using the same rules as Beer Pong.
    1. Teams of two take turns tossing a ping-pong ball at their opponent's cup pyramid.
    2. Each player gets one toss on their team's turn.
    3. If the ball lands in the cup, the opposing team has to drink what's in that cup and remove it from play.
    4. If both players on a team get their ball in on a turn, they get to go again.
    5. The team to eliminate all their opponent's cups wins.
Mystery Drink Pong Party Cups

Giant Human Games

Celebrate teamwork and togetherness with classic giant games that use graduates and game pieces. Use tape to create the game board on a large, open floor and provide the required number of players and basic instructions. Classic games that can be easily converted to a giant, human group version include:

  • Mancala - Create a Mancala board with tape and use teens as the stones.
  • Trouble - Draw the game board on the floor for four teams of four teens and use a giant foam die.
  • Flip Cup - Use 20 or 32 gallon empty, clean trash cans filled with balloons instead of alcoholic beverages for a giant version of this party game.
  • Scrabble - Some teens will be the tiles and each wear a shirt with one letter on it.
  • Checkers - Have red pinnies or shirts and black ones to create the two teams.
  • Chess - Provide costumes for each type of chess piece.
  • Battleship - Assign one shirt color for a miss and one for a hit then teens sit in the coordinate space wearing the appropriate shirt for the other team's move.
  • Foosball - Use PVC pipes and a wooden frame to build the stadium, then players hold on to the pipes.
  • Hungry Hippos - Plastic balls, laundry baskets, and scooters make this game come alive.
  • Candy Land - Recreate the game board on the floor and each player is their own game piece.

Indoor Laser Tag

Get the whole group playing together with a fun group game like Indoor Laser Tag. You'll need glow necklaces and three laser pointers to play.

  1. Create a "Jail" by roping off an area or using tape on the floor. Leave a pile of glow necklaces in the "Jail."
  2. Choose three volunteers to be "It." They each get a laser pointer.
  3. Define the boundaries all players must stay within.
  4. The "Its" stand at the "Jail" with their eyes closed and count to 100.
  5. Turn off as many lights as you can.
  6. All other players hide before the "Its" reach 100.
  7. When the "Its" finish counting they try to find those hiding.
  8. If they point their laser pointer on a person's front side, that person has to go to "Jail."
  9. Other players can free prisoners by sneaking to the "Jail." and placing a glow necklace around the prisoners neck.
  10. This prisoner can then re-hide, but if they get caught again they can't be freed anymore.
  11. When all players have been "Jailed," the game is over.
Teen boy holding a laser pointer

Grad Night Activity Ideas

In addition to fun games, you'll want to have some cool activities for kids who need a break from being active or want some quieter time with close friends.

  • Escape the School - Make your own escape room or rooms where teens have to solve a series of puzzles to get out of the room.
  • Vlogging Station - Set up a video booth with a camera and props where teens can record themselves and sign up to receive a copy of the vlogs.
  • Tassel Keepsake Crafts - Put together a graduation craft station with supplies and ideas where grads can turn their graduation cap tassel into a keepsake item like a key chain or necklace.
  • Memory Theater - Turn one room into a comfy movie theater with pillows and bean bag chairs where grads can watch photo slideshows and videos submitted by teachers, parents, and students from the graduating class.
  • Signing Table - Give teens the chance to share their future plans with a table setup like the ones where an athlete announces which school they'll attend then hang the signs along the wall.
  • Psychic Station - Hire an actual psychic or tarot card reader to tell teens about their futures.

Grad Night Prize Ideas

Every great grad night includes free prize raffles for the graduates. You can usually get local businesses to donate prizes teens can use as they enter adulthood. Prize ideas include:

  • Flat panel TVs
  • Video game systems
  • Car safety kits
  • Gift certificates to buy books
  • High school spirit gear
  • Cash
  • Gift certificates to chain grocery stores

Grad Night Venue Ideas

Most grad nights are held in the high school because it's free and offers a last chance for graduates to roam the halls. If you need an outside venue for your grad night, look for places that are close by, have a lot of space, will be closed for your event, and are inexpensive.

  • Arcade or sports complex
  • Trampoline park with party rooms
  • Local fire hall
  • Local banquet hall
  • Observatory
  • Zoo or aquarium
  • Teen center with gymnasium

Grad Night Menu Ideas

Keep the grads going all night long with graduation party menu ideas inspired by graduation and intended to provide real energy. Provide drinks and snacks teens can graze on throughout the night.

Things Shaped Like Diplomas

Foods rolled up and shaped like diplomas tie the menu into the graduation theme.

  • Taquitos
  • Crepes
  • Egg rolls
  • Turkish Cigars
  • Pepperidge Farm Pirouettes

Sugary Sweets

A sugar high won't last all night, but it can provide a push toward the end.

  • Set up a candy bar with candies in your school colors.
  • Get a cotton candy machine to make the sweet floss.
  • Make a Viennese table full of sweet pastries.

Protein-Packed Snacks

Teens who want real energy without the crash from sugar can opt for these protein-packed snacks.

  • Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (Use PB alternatives in case of allergies.)
  • Beef, pork, and turkey jerky
  • Yogurt parfaits
  • Trail mix bar

Celebrate All Night

Keep the graduation celebration going long after the ceremony with fun and unique high school graduation party ideas. Think about who you'd most like to celebrate this occasion with, then plan one last memorable experience to share after graduating high school.

Safe and Sober Grad Night Ideas