backyard camping - Group of kids in tent

Creative Back to School Party Ideas

Colby Coward Lifestyle and Entertaining

The beginning of the school year is just around the corner! If your children are like most, they are none too thrilled at the idea. This year, make the return to school an exciting time with a back to school party for your kids and their friends.

Costume Party

Fun for students of all ages, a costume party is a great way for kids to acknowledge some aspect of school that gets them excited. On your invitations, encourage students to dress up as their favorite person from history, a character from a book they enjoy, or mimic an occupation they hope to have when they finish school.


Costume Parade – Let all of the kids showcase their costume with a little supervised stroll around the block.

“Guess Who” – Have the kids guess who or what an attendee chose to be for the party.

Fashion Show

After all of the pre-school year shopping is done, host a back to school party with a fashion show for your kids. They will love the opportunity to show off their cool new outfits, especially those that they may not be able to wear to school.

Another option is to use the fashion show as a way to collect used clothing for a local shelter. Have each child bring an outfit or two that they want to show off before they donate the used clothing. The kids get the chance to have fun while helping others.


Paparazzi Line – Roll out the red carpet and have the kids use their phones and lights to flash pictures as attendees walk into the party.

Dance – The runway and seating areas for the fashion show translate easily into a dance floor for older children.


A backyard campout allows your children to spend time with a few of their closest friends right before school starts. Set up a tent in the yard, fire up the grill, and let the children experience a night of bonding ahead of the hustle and bustle that comes with school. A backyard campout is a back to school party that does not require a lot of planning or supervision, and can easily become an annual tradition.


Story Time – Almost everyone likes a good ghost story right before bedtime.

S’Mores – This classic American treat always tastes better under the stars, in front of a cozy fire.

My Favorite Things

Popular with adults, a My Favorite Things party is a perfect theme for a back to school party. Ask each quest to bring 2-3 copies of something that they find useful for making it through the school year or helps them get ready for school. At the party, you will draw names equal to the number of gifts each person brought. The person who brought the gifts will then explain their importance and hand them over to the people whose names were drawn. It is important to set a low dollar limit on the gifts, or the cost of the party may be too high for some quests.


Guessing Game – Have attendees place their gifts on a table away from other guests. During the party, ask guests to guess who brought which gift

Words Of Wisdom – Ask parents and older children to write words of wisdom or advice to share with the guests as they hand out their gifts.

A back to school party can get your kids motivated and excited to return to school. Soon, they will be begging for the next party at your house!

Enjoy Your Home

See more ways to enjoy your outdoor space throughout the year with our tips on Lifestyle and Entertaining.