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10 grad party success tips

Graduation season is a bustling time of year. Not only are there many school-sanctioned, graduation-related events to attend, but also job fairs or other opportunities for grads to contend with.

Many soon-to-be graduates also host parties of their own. Even though the school lessons may be finished, there is still much to learn, especially as it applies to throwing a successful party that marks the end of school.

1. Set a budget. As with any other party planning, a budget is key to determining the scope and affordability of what you may have in mind. It may dictate whether you’re hosting a party at home with some finger foods or hosting something more elaborate.

2. Speak to your graduate. Ask the future graduate what he or she desires of the party. After all, this is about the grad and not necessarily the parents. Does he or she want a party at all? If so, should it be an intimate gathering or a come-one, come-all event?

3. Pick a date carefully. If your town’s school has graduation in May or June, you’ll be fighting the crowds and competing with many other people for vendors and services. Think about hosting the graduation party after party season slows down, such as in July. This reduces the likelihood of scheduling conflicts.

4. Send invitations early. The experts at Shutterfly.com advise sending invitations at least a month in advance of the party. This way guests can mark the date and plan accordingly. Formal invitations are fitting for a formal occasion, so skip the casual invite text and use a paper or digital invitation instead.

5. Clue in neighbors. If the idea is to have a party at home, don’t leave neighbors in the dark about a large group of people descending on the street. Be courteous and let them know you’re expecting crowds and noise. Better yet, invite some neighbors to join in the fun.

6. Provide extra seating. Give guests plenty of places to congregate. Borrow or rent extra tables and chairs to maximize comfort.

7. Consider catering. Whether you host a party at home or at a venue, professional caterers can take a big load off of your shoulders. Let the experts calculate how much food is needed and then be on call to set up chafing dishes or buffet bars. If your grad prefers fast food, many franchises now offer catering as well.

8. Set up beverage stations. Chances are you’ll have a mix of adults and underage guests in attendance. Set up alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverage stations that are clearly marked. Enlist the help of someone to monitor the spirits so that everyone drinks responsibly.

9. Share the memories. A photo board or another way to highlight photos of the graduate can take guests on a trip down memory lane.

10. Plan some activities. Whether it’s a DJ, a favorite game like volleyball or a karaoke machine, give guests something to do to stay engaged.

Graduation parties are something to think about well in advance of the big day. With planning and follow-through, special occasions can be successful.

Exposing myths about ultraviolet light

Ultraviolet light is all around us. UV light is a type of electromagnetic radiation that does anything from causing sunburns to making black-light posters glow. The sun is a notable source of ultraviolet radiation, but lamps and some items like arc welding torches also can transmit it.

UV rays fall in the middle of other types of radiation, ranging from very high-energy like X-rays and gamma rays to low-energy radiation, such as radio waves. UV rays are divided into three main groups: UVA rays, UVB rays and UVC rays, advises the American Cancer Society. Even though UV rays are so common, many people remain unaware of the dangers associated with UV exposure.

True or False: Age makes people more vulnerable to UV exposure and damage to the eyes and skin.

True. The Canadian Association of Optometrists says an estimated 50 percent of lifetime exposure to UV rays occurs before age 18. This is because youngsters tend to spend more time outdoors, have larger pupils, have clearer lenses, and are less likely to wear sunglasses or hats.

True or False: All UV rays are equally damaging.

False: UVA rays are the least powerful, but have the potential to cause premature skin damage and increase the risk of certain eye conditions. UVB rays are more damaging because they give off more energy and are responsible for most skin cancers. UVC rays do not penetrate the atmosphere, so they are not often linked to eye damage, wrinkles or skin cancer.

True or False: A base tan is healthy.

False: No tan is healthy or safe, advises Hackensack Meridian Health system. A sunburn and a suntan are the body’s response to cellular DNA damage from UV radiation. A base tan cannot prevent sunburn.

True or False: Tanning from the sun and tanning beds are equally damaging.

True. There is no such thing as safe tanning, whether from a tanning bed, a sun lamp or the sun itself. The American Academy of Dermatology says just one indoor tanning session can increase one’s risk of developing skin cancer.

True or False: The eyes are most exposed to UV radiation in early morning and late afternoon.

True. Unlike the skin, which is most susceptible to UV rays between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., for the eyes the damage occurs early or late in the day.

Get the facts about UV exposure to stay safe all year long.