40th High School Reunion Ideas?

April 1, 2005

Two old friends at a party, each holding a glass of wine.I am on the planning committee of our 40th high school reunion. We have got the basics done but we want to do some great unique things done by ideas from other reunions that went over well. We need prizes, decorations, name tags, music, photos, unique things done that was a big hit at your reunion. Break the ice tips, anything your class did to make it a great reunion.


I must add we are on a very tight budget! Please let me hear from all to make our reunion that will be talked about with fond memories afterwards. Thanks now for everyone that takes the time to help.

Carolyn from Arkansas


By syd (Guest Post)
April 1, 20052 found this helpful
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I worked on our 40th and 50th class reunion. When you have locked into the place the reunion will be held prepare, on the computer, an information sheet in large print on the event, specifiying the school stating 40th class reunion, the place, and date of the event.

For prizes I visited merchants and got many donations for door prize drawings. If you prepare yourself when you visit the merchants, you stand a better chance. Carry the information I mentioned above about the event with you when you are soliciting donations. If there is any question, they can call the hotel/conference center to confirm it. Many places require a letter request, which I did, some came through and some didn't. You can also prepare a receipt for them, and get their name and address so you can have a page in the program showing the merchants who made donations.


Food stores are generous with gift cards, you have to put in requests to some in writing. Visit several branches.

Liquor stores may donate a bottle of wine, etc. We gave a bottle of champagne for the longest married, most grandchildren and great grandchildren.

For table decorations we purchased balloons, cheap spools of the narrow ribbon to attach to the balloons, weights and helium tanks and inflated balloons prior to the dinner.

Plan on a hospitality room ... if you have a specified number of rooms reserved, they will give you a complementary hospitality room.

We selected a hotel with a conference room and negotiated room prices for those that wanted to stay overnight. If asked, they will usually give a complementary restaurant donation for your door prizes.


Have someone make the name tags on the
computer, in large print!

We also had, what you call 50/50 drawing, but actually had two drawings.

Hope this helps.

By (Guest Post)
April 2, 20052 found this helpful
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Put photos from the yearbook onto nametags for those who pre-register.


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April 3, 20051 found this helpful
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I helped plan my classes 20 year reunion. Several of us got together, printed and mailed letters with questionaires with their yearbook picture on it. The ones who were returned were put into a cute little album. We asked questions like: favorite teacher, favorite funny memory, closest friends, things learned in the school of life, along with the usual info.


We chose a picnic--better response---bring the family. Not may will attend the stiff starchy dinners that cost $25 or more per plate. Leave out alcohol---divides the crowd. Had a dance with music from our hs years. Also awards printed for the class officers (cheaply framed), most miles driven, most changed (physically) most grandchildren. - Sharon, KY

By Linda (Guest Post)
June 2, 20051 found this helpful
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I, too, am on our 40th class reunion committee from a small town. We always bring in a photographer at a pre-arranged separate cost. We started a scholarship fund that classmates donate to.

We always have a low cost memento: we've done pens, root beer mugs (had a root beer stand hang out in high school), coffee cups. This year we are looking at a keychain with a mini maglight.


We are also going to take candy bars, remove the outer wrapper, and create our own wrapper with names of our classmates, etc., print, cut, and re-wrap.

We've also started a Memoriam with photos of classmates who have passed away. It's on large poster boards and we decorate with silk flowers.

Our classmates do like to dance. For some reason the Electric Slide seems to really get them going - even though that's not from the 60's.

One year we scheduled the reunion in conjunction with our town celebration and had a class of 65 float in the parade. That was fun!

Another year we did a local trivia contest, who changed the least contest, people brought in old class newpapers, photos that we have on a table for anyone to browse through, went on the internet and copied the top songs of our high school years and posted them, this year we are bringing in our grade school pictures which will be a laugh.


Hope this will give you some ideas.

February 17, 20060 found this helpful
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I helped plan our 30th reunion and now am helping with the 35th reunion. We have an exceedingly large class (over 600), but many don't come to the reunion. We found that many didn't like the expensive dinner parties and have opted for a more personal approach. Some of our classmates are musicians and have put together music and perform for the evening. This is not only cost effective, but makes for an incredibly fun time. It also encourages more classmates to attend the reunion and reconnect with old friends.

By Pat (Guest Post)
September 23, 20070 found this helpful
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We always have done an entertainment hour with classmates doing their "thing". Last reunion our group of girls did a Rap song/dance about our class and the things popular in the 60's. This year we are hunting for vintage clothes and doing a Fashion/Dance routine with all funky clothing. We are also having the local High School Dance Troupe do a routine to "Welcome to the 60's" from the movie "Hairspray". GREAT movie!

By 45th reunion (Guest Post)
December 6, 20071 found this helpful
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For our 40th, I used the questionaire from the 35th asking their favorite song. Then I made a CD of the songs (16) and put the song name (i.e. House of the Rising Sun: Bill Smith) with the classmates name instead of the artists. We sold them for a $10 donation to the class fund. Also a classmate has a winery, so we prepared 45th Reunion labels and he donated a bottle of wine to each classmate (1 to a couple) with the commemorative label.

By fmc (Guest Post)
May 4, 20080 found this helpful
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I too find my class prefers a casual setting rather than a meeting room dinner. Our class was around 60 members Most years my husband and I host a backyard party (we live on an acreage). One year we had a cowboy cook with his authentic chuck wagon and poetry. Those that missed it were really sorry. This year because it is our 50th we chose to meet in a local church with a new first class dining room. Our own people will be the speakers. We have found the class will, prophesy and history that was published in our school paper 1958 which we will use. That should be fun. Also we encourage those who have vintage/restored cars to bring them.

By Mary SMith (Guest Post)
June 19, 20084 found this helpful
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We copied Junior High and High School pages from our annuals and laminated them. Made place mats out of them. Different things at each setting.

The center pieces were different pics of one or two people inside a hand made flower. Everyone had to move around to look at pics. We had Cheerleader uniforms, twirler, jerseys... anything we could get someone who had something and hung all over a Wall!

We made a table of the games we played as kids... pick up sticks, jacks, hula hoops,barbies jump ropes, skates with the key, etc.

We had a light shining on those who had passed for a "In Memory of them" with the light on their Senior Pics.

We had a dinner with the receipes from our hangout AL's, Chili Fries, Chilie Frito Pies.

We just did a lot of things to take everyone back in time. We had a D.J. play our music, limbo contest and we had 45 records hanging over the dance floor on fishing line, the top hit for the year hung down lower than the others.

After it was over, we had everyone send in the pics they took and several of us got together and sold Reunion Annuals with fun memories and pics in it and saved the money for the next reunion.

By the way, this was our 30th and next year is our 40th.

By Ralph (Guest Post)
June 20, 20081 found this helpful
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Please keep in mind that at the 40th reunion, people are 60 years old. They have had knee replacements, hip socket replacements, heart by passes and they drive Buicks, Cadillacs, and are used to comfort. Keep one event an air conditioned meal in a place where they can talk. Hold the music down, ok? If you're going to have a picnic, make that an option. Keep the thing simple if you go over $35.00 per person you BETTER provide a good meal for that! If you have a two day event, make the billing ala carte split the billing or offer a discount for both days. Have fun!

By Barb (Guest Post)
July 15, 20084 found this helpful
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My class will be having our 40th next month.

Table decorations are stack of 3 books, covered in black roll paper with subject written on top book in stack, tied with curling ribbon , school colors and then attaching three balloons in school colors. Makes for a nice center piece. Surround with tea lights for small tables and globe and large candle for the large tables. Gell lights in school colors to put behind the DJ, cheap, borrowed small spot lights and then just added the gell paper.

Another idea is to set out tea cups and add an apple in each cup. I used this when one place didn't allow candles. Safer.

Created a crossword puzzle with your graduating year as the theme. That can be done online, I enlarged it to put next to our memorbilia table, but one could also just make copies of the crossword and leave it on each table for folks to solve.

We also found a mascot, we were the warriors, and put that as a center piece on the memorabilia table. So if you were the mustangs , get a model car. You get the idea.

I have also planned to have the room surrounded with the school name, and our year, again in school colors, with large 40's sprinkled about in clusters. Find someone in your class who has a circuit, it makes this an easy decoration to create. It only cost me 14 dollars to surround the room.

WE are having our reunion in a hall and I wanted to make sure that everyone who came into the room thought school reunion, not wedding.

For the memorial table, I enlarged the person senior school picture ,. most copy machines do that with ease now, to 5 x 7 and then pasted the pictures on stiff paper , school colors, then put them in small stand, I used those large black clips from stables, two per picture, then put drop cloth and layered table with boxes under cloth to create levels , sprinkled ten picture on stand, ten pictures on wall behind table, and the other pics just placed flat on table. Added a large glass globe with tissue paper, in school colors and some objects, such as pencils, note pads, rulers. It looks nice without giving it a funeral type feel. The tissue paper in a glass globe makes for nice center piece for tables as well. two crumples in the globe.

IF you have a low type drop ceiling you can create hanging decorations. take magnets/ place them on the cross metal supports, then find a decoration that is light, but matches your theme, then add a light strings to the object thread for sewing works well, then tie a paper clip on the other end and they will hang from the magnet. you could use picture of classmates from your year book, stars, or things from you school days, or just streamers of your school colors.

Hope these suggestions help someone with decorating for their reunion.

By Duane C. (Guest Post)
January 28, 20091 found this helpful
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In 2005 I helped Chair our 40th high school class reunion. We were from a small school and decided to include the two classes in front of us and two classes behind us. We sent out the questionnaires in February, prior to the reunion held in August,which asked for pictures of the past, families and now. As the registrations began to come in, we scanned their graduation pictures and made name tags. It really helped to recognize some of them. We also had available for significant others, tags that said "I'm with_________! During our planning time, the pictures we received and scanned were used to make a wonderful 18 minute DVD with music background of the music we all grew up with.

One of our classmates died in Viet Nam, so we had the privilege of introducing his son who read the final letter that he had received from his dad. This moment was forever embedded in our hearts and minds.

We invited our favorite teacher who also coached everything! (Something to be said about small high schools). He said that after attending about 1000 of these events, this was undoubtedly the best ever.

We had about 90% turnout because I personally called everyone on my 800 line about three times.

Even though it was for the class of '65, we had 4 guest classes attending. We made a memory book for our class only. We copied the cover of our '65 annual and inserted all the updates from everyone since graduation. We covered it with a clear page with a Ruby insignia "40 Years Later". It was filled with so many memories. It is our treasure forever.

We had a great turn out and are now planning our 45th reunion. We are including especially the two classes before and behind us. Everyone who graduated from our school will be invited this time.

Thanks for the ideas. Let me know more if you have any more that we can use.

September 10, 20091 found this helpful
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For a smaller school, we looked up all classmates for grad class of 1969 that attended any time during 1965-69. Forty-six of 128 attended the reunion and 13 are deceased.

I made pom poms from crate paper and felt pennants in school colors arranged 2 or 3 on each table. Scanned and cropped photos of all 128 from yearbooks and used 4 or 5 pictures with graphics on letter size matte finish photo paper, also made photo copies of grade school class pictures. EVERYONE enjoyed looking at all the photos. Names were not on grade school pictures so it was fun going through and seeing who remembered who and writing names under each picture.

Got roll of paper for kids activity easel from Ikea and made 8' or 9' posters like we used to hang at school.

I will post picture for examples.

Hooked up Ipod with 60's music up to facilities system.

No one needed further incentive as everyone got right into the spirit of the evening and the picnic the next day. Used the pictures at both events and really must say they were the hit!

I made a separate display for deceased classmates. Using a photo frame that looks like negatives (from Ikea) & held 7 black and white photos. I used formal class picture of each person in 4 slots and 3 slots had some pics of these people doing school activities they participated in and using 3 of these frames hung on a wall with small table with flowers in front.

A booklet was compiled of all address, phone and email address info. Some people also shared funny/interesting stories from the past or what they have been up to since leaving school and that was included. These were handed out at the reunion.

We used several venues to share pictures of the reunion: Facebook, Video slideshow in YouTube and a shared album on Picasa that allows all invitees to add their pictures. Then shared the links through mass email.

We have posted on the web targeted reunion in 5 years and hope to find more classmates this time. We started the process about 5 months ahead of time for this one. Very short time frame!

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More Questions

Here are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community.

May 22, 2012

I want to come up with great ideas for gifts and prizes to give away. I need some good categories and then prizes to go with them!
Please help.

By Debbie


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May 22, 20120 found this helpful
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If it is a 40 year reunion get prizes that would have been reflective of 40 years ago. Maybe a 1972 greatest Hits CD. DVDs of greatest movies of 1972. Or books for that matter.

Was there anything special that happened in that year in your city (besides the graduation). Maybe you can find memmorabilia of the event.


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May 24, 20120 found this helpful
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For award categories: Farthest distance traveled to attend, married for the longest, most children or grandchildren, changed the most and changed the least in appearance, who acheived the highest educational degree(s), drives the oldest car, first person who RSVP'd for the reunion, who has the most pets, who has most gray hair and or least amount of hair - LOL ;-)

As for door and award prizes, definitely music CD's with songs like Dark Side of the Moon, Summer Breeze, Thick as a Brick, Let's Stay Together, Baby I'm a Want You, Jammin' with Edward, Sail Away, etc. Oh, and a must on the CD is American Pie ;-)

Movie DVD's such as The Godfather, A Clockwork Orange, Caberet, Dirty Harry or even TV series like The Brady Bunch, All in the Family, Partridge Family, Hawaii Five-O, Sanford and Son and Ironside.

How about a model or replica of a VW Bug? That was the most popular standard car overall at that time and just so happened to be my favorite what with owning a used '59 with a canvas roll back sun roof and a pedal switch to kick on for an emergency one gallon of gas backup which came in really handy when I was running out of gas on an freeway in L.A. on the way to school one day. Oh, to be young and dumb enough to not watch the gas gauge again - LOL.

Okay, okay, I know we weren't supposed to drink in high school but you know many of us did so I can't help but to suggest perhaps a bottle of Gallo - LOL. My first thought was a bottle of Tyrolia but it isn't made anymore, however, you can always print out the photo of it here or perhaps search the internet for vintage Tyrolia bottle for sale; O've seen them for sale in the past.

I so wish I could attend my 40th reunion this year in Pacific Palisades, Ca but health issues will be preventing me :-( My heart will be there though and my first boyfriend will be cell phoning me from the event so I can chit chat with others attending :-)


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May 31, 20120 found this helpful
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During my 40th, each attendee received a beautiful tote bag with a large beach towel embroidered with our school mascot. In the beach bag was also samples of suntan lotion and various other samples from a company that gave them away.

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