5 TIPS ON PLANNING A SUCCESSFUL GRAD NIGHT
(FROM SOMEONE WHO WAS THERE 5 YEARS AGO)
In 2007 I graduated high school. By 2008 I was performing magic and comedy at grad nights throughout California. I have the unique perspective of being a professional with a big hand in making grad night special, while still having recent and vivid memories of what it was like to attend a grad night myself.
Coming from that background, here are my 5 Tips on Planning a Successful Grad Night (From Someone Who Was There 5 Years Ago).
1) Give Them Choices!
A typical grad night lasts all night and well into the morning. It is the ultimate sober party- however without a wealth of enticing things to do it may feel more like a prison for your new grads. The key to keeping this from happening is to provide guests with many activities and entertainment options to take part in throughout the night. There should be a featured event (usually some sort of stage performance with a strong comedic element) for the guests to look forward to, but there need to be plenty of other things to do. Remember, the grads are there all night and cannot leave! Here are few tried and tested ideas to get you started:
- Casino Tables
- Henna Tattoos
- Close-up Walk-around magician
- Yearbook signing table
- Memory wall
- Caricature Artist
- Inflatables (sumo wrestling, boxing rings, obstacle courses, slides, even bounce houses)
- Mechanical bull
- Games (Apples to Apples and Catch Phrase are very popular)
- Pie-A-Teacher (Or other faculty member)
- Laser Tag
2) Plan Ahead!
Professionals who specialize in grad nights (venues, entertainers, equipment rental) are often booked upwards of 9 months prior to the event! To be sure that your grads don’t miss out, be sure to start planning and booking the necessary professionals early! Contact they with any questions and get your grad night on their calendar!
3) Promote Early and Often
My grad night was a lot of fun, but to be honest- I wasn’t at all looking forward to it. In fact, I only decided to go at the last moment due to the persuasive urging of my friend who pointed out, “Well, there’s nothing else to do.” My school did a terrible job of promoting this event to the seniors as an essential and unforgettable end to the school year- a party to look forward to. Which it was! I wish I had known earlier! The lesson to be learned is that you really need to make a priority of getting the word out early about how fun and exciting this event will be for your grads. This goes along with booking your entertainment early so that you can let the student body know exactly what to look forward to. Use the channels already in place at your school to get the word out, such as morning bulletins (especially if it is a video broadcast), posters in the halls, rallies, etc.
4) Have Plenty of Food
This is a problem I’ve run into at some of the grad nights which I have performed at. That is, there isn’t enough food or, even worse, the food is taken away too early. I tell my clients all the time, you cannot hope to entertain anybody until they have been fed and are comfortable. Have plenty of food, snacks and drinks available throughout the night and early morning for your grads. Many grad nights serve a full breakfast!
5) Provide a Community
Here’s a tip which you don’t read very often: keep the sense of community and togetherness going throughout the night. In fact, make it a focus. Begin strong, and end the night together. This is the last time all of the grads will be together in the same place at the same time, so make sure they enjoy that fellowship. Yearbooks, memory walls and other nostalgic activities help with this. At the end, don’t just wish everyone a safe trip home, plan a speech or a final activity. A senior sunrise is perfect for this, where everyone gathers to watch the sun rise up- a great symbol for the new chapter each of the grads is just beginning.
For more information on my services for grad nights throughout California, please visit here or give me a call at 916-524-1692.