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8 Graduation Party Alternatives for Celebrating While Social Distancing

8 Graduation Party Alternatives for Celebrating While Social Distancing

You can still celebrate your 2020 graduate with these four socially distanced graduation party ideas and four virtual commencement ceremonies.


Updated June 23: If your child is part of the class of 2020, particularly in high school or college, she’s probably not happy about how the year ended and might be coping with graduation loss. Luckily, Governor Cuomo recently announced that schools will be permitted to hold drive-in and drive-through graduation ceremonies this year. While your child's graduation party might not look as planned, with a little creativity, you can still make a special celebration for your graduate with these graduation party alternatives that adhere to social distancing guidelines.

Celebrities and officials have even made it their business to properly celebrate the class of 2020 virtually. These awe-inspiring figures—including the likes of Oprah, Barack Obama, and LeBron James—are dedicated to celebrating 2020 graduation with livestreams, commencement addresses, and more. It might not look like the celebration your family planned, but your child’s graduation can still be special. Here are some of the virtual commencement addresses you can tune into and socially distanced some graduation party ideas.

In honor of an unprecedented school year, the NYC department of education will be celebrating the class of 2020 with a similarly outside the box graduation celebration. The event will highlight the graduates’ accomplishments, and will feature family messages and words from well-known celebrities including Lin-Manuel Miranda, Kenan Thompson, Nick Kroll, Nia Long, Pitbull, Angela Yee. Mayor de Blasio, First Lady Melania Trump, Chancellor Carranza and other public officials will also be there to congratulate the inspiring graduating class. The celebration, occurring on Tuesday, June 30, will be broadcast on PIX 11 at 7pm. and accessible via social media livestream.

Socially Distant Graduation Party Alternatives

Turn the house into a bar with a personalized food and drink menu for college graduates.

Have you seen those viral videos of families who have turned their homes into bars—complete with a bouncer, DJ, and bartender—for kids turning 21 in quarantine? You can do the same for your child graduating college, with school-themed drinks and a menu of foods he loves. It’s not quite the same as a university commencement, but it’s personal and make celebrating definitely still possible.



Order a personalized graduation montage from Rad Grad Creations.

Soon-to-be college graduate and Hewlett resident Carly Fisher created Rad Grad Creations to give kids an opportunity to commemorate graduations through photos and videos of their school or college experience. Upload photos and videos to create your own montage of memories, which will be personalized for your child and include traditions, imaging, and messages specific to his school.

Have a pretend diploma ceremony with a placeholder diploma and “special guest” speakers.

Just like the school-themed bar, if your family works together and gets creative, your child can have a “graduation day” full of laughs and surprises. Create a makeshift diploma and have family members give speeches about the school and your child’s experience (friends and relatives can call in on Zoom to give their own commencement addresses!). You can also play guest of honor trivia after the speeches end. Good luck not fighting over who gets to give your child her diploma!

RELATED: Everything You Need to Know About Safe Summer Fun as New York Reopens

Have a party and invite your child’s high school or college friends on Zoom so everyone can celebrate together!

There’s no doubt your child is missing his friends right now and the last memories they would’ve made. Host a virtual grad party for him and invite all of the family and friends who would’ve been in attendance for a regular party. Bring in the food and drinks and let the memories and friends make this a party your graduate will never forget!

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Jacqueline Neber

Author: Jacqueline Neber is an assistant editor and a graduate of The Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University. When she's not focused on writing special needs and education features, you can find her petting someone else's dog. See More

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