Five Steps to Planning a Back-to-School BBQ

It's that time of year, again. How are you prepping for your back-to-school events?

Today’s guest post is from Susie Erjavec Parker, a mom, event planner and Eventbrite user.

With the return to school upon us, parents and teachers are socializing and getting to know each other in school yards and gyms throughout the world. Traditionally, many schools host a back-to-school themed barbeque or event to encourage introductions, mixing and mingling, and generally promote good relations among parents, students, and administrative staff.

These events can be stressful to prepare for but with these fun, time-saving tips you will be guaranteed to get an ‘A’ in first-class party planning and execution.

1. Recruit Party Planners

If charged with planning a large get-together, ask for help from other parents, administrative staff, and students.

Strike committees to handle food, entertainment, clean-up and designate team leads to break down these tasks into smaller chunks for teams of one or two to handle.

2. Outsource Kitchen Duty

Encouraging a local food, beverage, or ice cream truck to visit your event takes care of culinary duty and alleviates you from clean-up.

There are always so many possibilities with food and catering. If budget allows, consider inviting two or three food trucks, or one local bakery or small restaurant, to handle the food service for you. This is great way to support small, local business and release attendees from cooking duties. Food trucks are very popular right now and your local city most likely has a few delicious samples from which to choose.

3. Have a Back-up Plan in Case of Weather

Nothing stresses party planners more than inclement weather arriving on the day you’ve planned for everything to be held outdoors.

Avoid this stressor by having a back-up plan. A simple step such as having the gym or indoor cafeteria set-up and ready to go should the weather turn nasty can mean the difference between a canceled event and one where the show goes on—indoors, where partygoers thank you for your amazing foresight and planning skills.

4. Horseshoes, Bouncy Castles, and Spoon Races, oh my!

Having a party with six children can be challenging. Ergo, it is safe to assume that having a party with 100 or so children ranks up there with high heels in snow—it’s just not smart, but sometimes it has to be done.

Here is where the older students get to show off their finesse and kitten-herding skills. Encourage the older children to supervise games and activities for the younger ones. Craft tables, horseshoe games, egg and spoon races, bean bag tosses and even bouncy castle manager positions are rife with opportunities for tweens and teenagers to demonstrate their abilities to entertain young ‘uns while adults sip punch and swap summer stories.

5. Clean-up is a Cinch

So you managed a brilliant committee of party planners, food was amazing, weather held out, and there is glitter from the craft table all over the place. All signs of a smashing good party! But now comes time for the clean-up.

Ask party planning committee members to ensure food and drink refuse is disposed of properly.  Take down any signs or decorations – even children can help with this task. Stack chairs inside, if appropriate. School maintenance staff will likely take care of the rest. Their efforts should be rewarded by the planning committee in the form of a gift card or personal thank you note detailing the attendees’ gratitude. Flowers or chocolates are always welcome, too.

Following these simple tips can take the stress out of planning any back-to-school party involving teachers, parents and students. Planning for party success relieves committee members of last-minute scrambling and ensures that your party sets a fun tone for all future school events for the year. Way to go and enjoy the school year!

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Check out some of our other recent posts from parents:
Our President and Co-Founder, Julia Hartz, shares her best practices in balancing work and family life.
Kim Tracy Prince tells how she combined two birthday parties into one.
Valente Grant gives her tips on throwing a great event on a dime.

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