At this time of year, many parent groups are in event planning mode. Whether you’re sticking with a tradition your school families have loved for years or taking a leap and trying something new, these tips can help you have a successful event.

Offer fun food. Invite local food vendors and ask them to supply easy-to-eat foods or operate small concession stands. When planning the menu, be sure to check with the school about food allergies.

Ask for student input. Tap kids’ natural enthusiasm by asking what they think. Put together a simple survey to email to parents or to go out to classrooms. (Middle school events in particular benefit from this.)

Remember the little ones. It can set parents’ minds at ease—and boost event attendance—if younger siblings are taken into account. Most events could be adapted to include younger children, but yours is meant for older students, providing babysitters and some games can make it fun for everyone.

Get social. Use this idea from New Albany (Ohio) Middle School PTO’s red carpet welcome for students. The event included a “selfie station” that kids could go back to all week long and throughout the week, students and parents posted their favorite pictures on the PTO page. Most events could include a photo booth or selfie station without too much fuss.

Scale back. If your event has grown to the point where it involves a lot of manpower without a lot of profit, consider eliminating some aspects so you can enhance others.

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