Worst Grad Party Food Ideas
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Worst Graduation Party Food Ideas

Dish it to your friends!

Updated January 24, 2024

Congratulations! You made it through school and now you’re probably fishing the internet looking for the best Graduation Party food ideas for your celebration.

WARNING: Read this post before you consider those cute and trendy Grad party food ideas on Pinterest because they may lead to a disaster. 

Here are some crucial Graduation Party food don’ts that we’ve seen stand in the way of having an absolutely perfect party.

We’ll also give you tips on what TO DO instead that’ll make the planning process fun and easy!

Keep posted as we add new ideas we remember all of the time.

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Don’t Encourage Guests To Use Their Hands…

Best Graduation Party Foods - Fruit
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 Don’t make it easy for guests to use their hands. Although it looks great, it’s nearly impossible for every guest at your Grad Party to not put their fingers all over those finger foods like the fruit (pictured above). 

Graduation party ideas food table and food bar decorating ideas Chacuterie table
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Although tables with a lot of loosely placed items (like the one above) look stunning, it may encourage guests (especially kids) to touch and play with the food (and maybe even put it back).

Graduation Party Foods Watermelon serving idea
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Serve fruit for guests in a way that’s pretty to look at yet easy to eat (like above)!

How to serve Grad Party Fruit
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Don’t forget tongs or a large spoon to make your fruit accessible and sanitary, sticks and skewers are even better! 

How to serve Grad Party Fruit
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Graduation Party Food Ideas numbers charcuterie and fruit
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SUPPLIES for Number Charcuterie (pictured above): Paper Mache Numbers (click here), Exacto knife (to cut the front off), Food Grade Wax Paper to line them with (click here).

Same goes for the popular cookie, lunch meat, and crudite platters that people have to grab with their hands.

Worst and Best Graduation Party Foods - Charcuterie Platter
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Best Graduation Party Food Ideas
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Arrange self serve crackers, meats, or cheeses in individual portions, or at the very least provide tongs or utensils.

Graduation Party Food Charcuterie Cups Idea
JARCUTERIE RECIPE (UPPER LEFT PHOTO), CHARCUTERINI (UPPER RIGHT PHOTO), CHARCUTERIE CUP (LOWER LEFT PIC), CHARCUTERIE FRIES CUP (LOWER RIGHT) FOR PHOTO CREDIT CHANGES OR REMOVAL PLEASE CLICK HERE

BUY SUPPLIES: Charcuterie Brown French Fries Cups (click here to purchase), 3 oz Charcuterie Jars (click here)

Grad Party Color School Themed Candy
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Don’t Put Out Hand Sanitizers

Hand sanitizer Alcohol based doesnt kill noro
Skip alcohol based hand sanitizer.

After 2020 we all appreciate the presence of hand sanitizer but what many people don’t know is the alcohol based hand sanitizers do NOTHING for highly contagious stomach bugs! Even worse, putting hand sanitizers on the table could entice your guests to skip hand washing altogether!

Our Diy solution : Hydrogen Peroxide. It kills both types of viruses effectively after 5 minutes. Check out our video below…

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Twins Dish (@twinsdish)

Fill plastic spray bottles from Dollar Tree or Five Below and make these visible and available for guests to easily use.

Fun Grad Party hand washing sign : Please Wash Your Hands So You Don't Poop Your Pants
TwinsDish.com fun Grad Party hand washing sign for boys (Right click and Save To print)

The most effective way to combat nasty germs is still handwashing so it’s a good idea to make signs as a reminder, especially if you’re serving those trendy Charcuterie platters.

Taylor Swift hand washing sign for Grad Parties : Would you skip hand washing if Taylor Swift Was Washing
Grad Party Hand washing sign for girls (right click and save to print)

Double Think Serving Chocolate On Your Backyard Grad Party Candy Bar 

Worst Grad Party Food
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We know you’ve seen a ton of these trendy candy bars with clever candy pun names but be warned: Don’t serve chocolate, especially loosely wrapped, if your Grad party is outdoors and in a warm or sunny climate. Within minutes that chocolate will become mushy and cause a mess when handled, it’s happened to us.

Graduation Party Candy Salad recipe Dessert Bar
CANDY BAR SALAD RECIPE & TUTORIAL BY BUSY FAMILY RECIPES (FOR PHOTO CREDIT CHANGES OR REMOVAL PLEASE CLICK HERE)

You can keep it simple with the viral “Candy Bar Salad” instead (pictured above). It combines your entire Grad Candy Bar into one large bowl and scoop and also eliminate the need for a large candy dessert bar or table. Add a sign that says “A Sweet Ending To a New Beginning Enjoy the Candy” 

Best Graduation Party Foods
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You can also opt for hard candy that’s securely wrapped like ring pops. You can also make an entire candy bar with Grad themed candy puns.

Best Graduation Candy Bar
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Here are some other candies that make great puns for a Graduation candy bar :

  • ring pops
  • smarties
  • nerds
  • Tootsie Pops
  • Tootsie Rolls
  • Starburst

fillable acrylic letters for Graduation Candy Bar
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Display your candy in fillable acrylic letters for a show stopping candy pun bar for any gender. They may be available to rent for cheap at your local event rental company or you can purchase them here on alibaba or here on etsy.

Graduation Party Candy Bar Idea Acrylic Fillable Letters
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You can use one acrylic letter, or two for initials, or your whole name, or a phrase like “Yay” or “Grad. They also have numbers available. Everyone will want to take a picture of this candy bar. It will definitely double as a photo backdrop!

Grad Party Food Candy Bar
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Candy puns are the best way to put a Graduation party food spin on an otherwise ordinary candy bar without chocolate. Don’t forget those candy pun labels! 

Graduation Party Food ideas Candy Bar Dessert Candy Kebabs
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BUY CANDY KABOBS READY MADE ON ETSY HERE.

Don’t Serve High Maintenance Food..Serve This Instead

Worst Grad Party Food
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Unless the Queen of England is going to be in attendance you may want to save the super fancy gourmet food for your Wedding. Food that requires a lot of prep time, set up, or is difficult to cover are all foods you may want to avoid. Rather than serving gourmet food, dress up quick and easy delicious dishes that have mass appeal.

Walking Taco Bar Easy Graduation Party Food
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Instead opt for low maintenance food like Walking Tacos (above) that require very little prep time and will save you on paper plates, plus they’re delicious. You can cook the taco meat and have it stored in a crock pot or covered hot plate if you’re worried about bugs.

Best Cheap and Easy Graduation Party Foods
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For a super quick and easy Graduation Party food idea everyone will love, order boxed pizzas and packaged snack foods! You’ll be able to ditch the utensils.

Easy charcuterie cones Graduation Party Food ideas
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SUPPLIES:

 

You want something that’s easy for guests to pick up and easy to throw out.

Don’t Let This Popular Grad Party Food Make You Sick…

Graduation Party Food Display idea
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If your Grad party may be a long one you may want to rethink that pasta and rice. If left out too long and not stored properly, cooked pasta and rice can grow bacteria that’s especially harmful and possibly deadly for teens and young adults. Just read this article about a College student and his friend who ate left over noodles and rice and became gravely ill.

Don’t Leave Food Uncovered At Your Backyard Grad Party

Graduation Party Ideas Nacho Bar
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Although beautiful and easily accessible, uncovered food can be problematic. You run the very high risk of serving your guests bugs or germs in their food.

Chips and Salsa Graduation Party Food Bar
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Do you live in a windy climate? We’ve been to a Grad Party that had similar to the above chips and salsa bar and it turned into a nightmare. 

Not only did bugs fly into the salsa but a gust of wind blew off the chips and we watched a real life recreation of the Alfred Hitchcock movie The Birds as they all feasted on the chips scattered on the lawn.

Germ Free Single serving covered Graduation Party Food Ideas
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SUPPLIES:

  

Covering food is just as easy and will put your mind at ease. Repurpose plastic drinking cups and use take out boxes, food tents, a simple dinner plate or platter over a bowl, a covered casserole dish, a crockpot, a smoker for bbq, or even an apothecary jar.

Clever Graduation Party Food Ideas for Dessert table display, party food hack

GRAD PARTY FOOD HACK: Use plastic Sterilite drawers to store or display your desserts or food for a BUG FREE party! Either use them on the table and label each drawer to display cookies, candys, desserts, and even food for guests, OR store them under the table behind the tablecloth to easily replenish food when the platters run out!

Graduation Party Drink Bar Soda idea
SODA DRINK BAR BY : JACLYN SHIMEL @CRAYONSANDCRAVINGS.COM

Don’t forget the drinks! You can also serve boxed or canned soft drinks and juices, or make “drink bars” like the one above using sodas, lemonade, or even tea!

Graduation Party Food Ideas Drink Cover
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You can use cupcake liners, mason jars with lids, or self serve drink stations to keep bugs out. 

Best Grad Party Food Ideas
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SUPPLIES:

 

You can use those same plastic cups for your cupcakes and treats too!

Graduation Party Cupcake Display
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You don’t have to say good bye to those fancy DIY cupcake stands…

Covered Germ Free Cupcakes Graduation Party Foods
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Just place plastic cocktail cups over your cupcakes.

Luau Graduation Party cupcake ideas using jello
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Bonus: Don’t Forget the Citronella Candles to Keep Bugs Away!

 

Don’t Only Offer Junk Food

It’s your Grad party so splurge a little but be sure to offer healthier options for your guests. Friends or relatives with heart problems or who are diabetic will appreciate the gesture.

Put out fruit next to the candy, vegetable crudite next to the chips, and salad next to the hamburgers and hot dogs (To make the fruit Palm Tree display pictured above cut the tops and bottoms off of two pineapples, stack on top of each other, and insert wood skewers to secure the pineapples together, stick fake palm leaves in top, for additional support core both pineapples and insert on a dollar store paper towel holder.)

Don’t forget an alternative to sugary sodas and sports drinks too!

Don’t Let This Happen To Your Dips…

Graduation Party Ideas Food
PHOTO CREDIT
There’s always that one child or tipsy adult who dips their chip directly into the bean dip after they already took a bite!

Yes, we’ve actually seen this in action at parties and it’s mortifying. The chances of it are greater if little kids are coming and adults are drinking.

Graduation Party Food Salad Display Table
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Keep germs at bay by putting dips, guacamole, and even salad in single serving plastic cups or glasses that guests can quickly grab to prevent absent minded double dipping.

Usually with self serve batch food you get random spills and messy accidents on the tables, individual portions will keep your food table clean.

Don’t Serve Big Portions

Worst Graduation Party Foods Grilled Corn On The Cob

To avoid wasting a ton of money on excess food, serve smaller portions at your Graduation Party, especially if you’re having a larger party.

SUPPLIES:

 

Most guests don’t end up finishing everything on their plate.

With smaller portions guests can get second and third helpings if they choose. 

SUPPLIES:

 

You can still make all of your favorite foods just cut them into smaller pieces or serve them in smaller helpings. 

SUPPLIES:

 

You’ll end up wasting a lot less money on excess food! 

Don’t Forget To Check The Weather Report

Preparation is key, especially when it comes to weather.

If you live in a windy climate please don’t forget to secure any table clothes or napkins.

Keep those trash cans visible, handy, and secure to avoid a mess. If they’re eye sores then don’t worry about covering them up to fit your Grad Party theme! 

FOOD TABLE DECORATION IDEAS

Now that you know what food to have at your Graduation party here are cheap yet stunning ways to display your food that Pros use. WARNING: Your Food bar will look professionally catered!

USE FOOD RISERS

Food risers are used by 5 star restaurants and caterers to raise food platters to varying heights creating a stunning display for food or dessert tables at any budget. You can use a simple DIY method or purchase food risers on amazon that fit any style. 

You can use leftover boxes and books for food risers under an extra tablecloth or napkins (as pictured above).

Graduation Party Ideas Food bar Table with Fruit and cheese
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They will also make it easier for guests to view and access the food. 

Turned over cups and/or water glasses to prop up platters and food plates works too (as pictured above)!

The food risers above can be purchased on amazon. They come in acrylic, white box, gold with glass, and even wood boxes and crates. Don’t forget those tiered trays! You can purchase them or DIY them.

TURN YOUR SENIOR TABLE INTO A DESSERT BAR
Graduation Party Ideas Dessert Senior Table For Boys
REBECCA ROUSE/ PINTEREST

Senior tables or memory tables are a super popular Grad Party decoration. Why not make it do double duty by adding some desserts? It’s a great way to save room and decorate the table!

We hope this list helps you plan the Graduation party you’ll never forget. Congrats Grad! The future is yours!

Love,

Don’t forget to pin for later!

Other posts you may like:

10 THINGS NOT TO DO AT YOUR GRADUATION PARTY 

FREE GRADUATION PARTY IDEAS THAT LOOK EXPENSIVE

Worst and Best Graduation Party Foods - Charcuterie Platter

Dish it to your friends!

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