Suad Kamardeen Graduation Light Decor UnsplashSource: Suad Kamardeen / Unsplash

Summer is just around the corner, which means that another school year has wrapped up for many, and for some, it's graduation time. Congrats to the new grads! But this year is a little different in terms of large gatherings, with all of the shelter-in-place orders all over. But that doesn't mean you still can't have a great graduation party. Here are some tips on how to have a socially-distant graduation party with your friends and family.

Have a big video call party

16-inch MacBook Pro FaceTimeSource: Rene Ritchie / iMore

If anything has been on the rise since the start of the shelter-in-place stuff, it's definitely video calling. You can use Zoom, or one of the many alternatives, including FaceTime if everyone uses an Apple device.

Video calling is a great way to celebrate with your friends and family because it lets you chat while also seeing their faces, which you may not have been able to see in a while. It's the next best thing when you just can't meet up together in person.

Use Houseparty for a virtual party with friends

Houseparty on Home Screen iPhone XSource: Luke Filipowicz / iMore

While regular video conferencing software may be great for staying in touch, it can be hard to do things other than talk. Houseparty is a great alternative to consider.

On the surface, Houseparty looks like another video conferencing app, but it's so much more. You can do group video calls, but throw in party games into the mix for a grand time! One of the notable party games that you can play in Houseparty is Chips & Guac, but there are plenty of other options to choose from as well.

So if you want to add a little pizzazz to your video call party, give Houseparty a try.

How to set up and use Houseparty on iPhone and iPad



Houseparty is a free app that lets you hold video call parties with friends, complete with party games.

Host a virtual movie night

Netflix PartySource: Joseph Keller / iMore

For some of us, having a good time is just sitting down and watching movies with our buddies. Unfortunately, that's hard to do right now with social distancing, but that doesn't mean there aren't alternatives. You can host remote movie watch parties with your pals thanks to things like Netflix Party. Or if you and your friends have the same video streaming services, such as Hulu or HBO Max, then schedule a time for everyone to start watching something together, and use video conferencing software to chat about what you're watching together.

If you want to watch movies together with people already in your household, you could even think about setting up a home theater system in the backyard for an immersive experience. To get that started, though, you'll want to check out some good projectors.

Create your own bar with graduation-themed drinks and food

Yuanbin Du Blue Cocktail Margarita UnsplashSource: Yuanbin Du / Unsplash

Are you creative enough in the kitchen? Then you could think about throwing a little at-home celebration for your grad with graduation-themed drinks, cocktails (if they're at least 21 of course), and food. And don't worry about it if you can't think of original school-themed names for everything — it could be something as simple as the grad's favorite drinks and food. Add in some music and fancy grad party decorations, and it'll be a blast!

Or you can always go with the traditional route and even hold a backyard barbecue. I mean, who doesn't like a good BBQ in the summer, right?

Hold your own diploma "ceremony"

Christine Diploma HeroSource: Christine Romero-Chan / iMore

This is another one that takes a bit of creativity to pull off. If your family can come together, this can be fun! You can create a makeshift "diploma" to hand to the grad, and everyone participating can deliver a speech about the school and the experiences of the grad in question. Then after the speeches, have some trivia about the guest of honor. If others want to participate but aren't in the household, just get them with a video call and have them deliver their own speech.

Go out for a celebratory meal with OpenTable

OpenTable on iPhoneSource: iMore

While strict shelter-in-place orders have taken hold for the past several months, it looks like things are beginning to open back up slowly. For example, in California, restaurants can open their dining rooms once again, with new health and social distancing guidelines, of course. If you're itching to go out for a fancy meal to celebrate your grad with close family, then it's possible to do, depending on where you live.

I would recommend using the OpenTable app to find restaurants that are open for dine-in near you. Since the social distancing guidelines require that dine-in capacity be reduced, availability may be limited, and places may require a reservation. With OpenTable, you can find what's open and book a spot for your party in just a few taps.

Opentable Icon


Find local restaurants near you and book a reservation in a few taps.

Congratulations to the grads!

Congratulations, Class of 2020! I know that it is a challenging year, but making it through elementary, middle, high school, and college is a feat in and of itself that needs to be celebrated. Having a regular old graduation party isn't really possible without risks this time, so hopefully, these alternatives still let you have a fun celebration while also being safe.

Have any suggestions? Drop them in the comments.

We may earn a commission for purchases using our links. Learn more.