Open houses?

So, up here in Michigan, Open Houses seem to be a pretty common thing. After a child graduates from high school, there’s a party and a bunch of people come to eat food, and give the graduate money for college.

My dad, having been raised in the MD/VA/DC area, had never heard of this tradition until moving up here. So is it a regional thing, or is it new, or what? Have you ever heard of them?

Are you saying to me that random strangers can just walk in off the street and start partying with you guys?

Uh, I don’t think I could ever do that myself. The closest I’ve come to that is when I live in California and we would have “Block Parties” Where in everybody on that block would open their home to everybody else on that block including invited friends. It was pretty cool too because each house would have a completely different vibe or music going on. And don’t even get me started on all the food.

/misses San Diego :frowning:

No, its generally an invited-people kind of thing, not everybody in the neighborhood. Famo;y and friends-like. Low-key, table of food. A display of all the things the graduate had done in school, all the way back to elementary, that sort of thing. Mainly used for the money gaining principle.

Open houses (they are traditional in Minnesota for gradutations and housewarmings - sometimes for new babies or some other celebration) are an “invitation” thing, but often fairly informal. Invitations are sent out with graduation annoucements (or moving annoucements), but if you don’t get one and know the honoree, it often doesn’t stop you from attending. Buffet food is left out all day (lunchmeat/buns/vegetables and dip/chips and salsa), there is a cooler full of beer and one full of pop (how closely the beer cooler gets protected from the graduating seniors is a matter of personal opinion). The open house will run from say, 1:00 to 5:00 - which means you are welcome to drop in any time between one and five and stay as long as you wish. (Seniors usually take over after the relatives are gone and finish the food/pop and perhaps the beer).

We have open houses in Calgary all the time. They’re for selling houses. As for grad parties like you’re talking about, we don’t really have those here. We should, though. It sounds like fun, and you get money, to boot.

We do the grad parties down here in Texas, but an “open house” is leaving the door open and letting prospective buyers (and people with nothing better to do) come in and take a look around.

Dangerosa’s right, the only major difference between an Open House party and a regular one is that there’s no formal time you’re expected to arrive or to stay.

If the graduation party invitation reads 2-5, there’s a reason they want you there at 2, could be an activity or how the food will be served, whatever. Open Houses mean you can drop by at any time between the start and finish times listed.

Other types of parties can be Open House, like birthdays or housewarmings, but I think it is most common with graduation parties. In my area, the ‘burbs, graduating classes run near to a thousand kids per school. Nearly all of them will have graduation parties either commencement weekend or the couple of weeks after. Most want to attend their friends’ parties, so it makes more sense to leave things loose with the buffet style eating and informal timing.
Of course, it’s nice for the grownups too, I can put in an appearance at a co-worker’s kid’s graduation and not feel obligated to stay very long, etc.

Realtors use Open Houses to show prospective buyers, somehow we never get the two usages confused.

High school/college grads don’t get parties up north featherlou? Sucks to be you guys!!

Indiana here. “Open house” can mean either a casual celebration or a real estate marketing tactic.

They’re not only common for graduation, but practically expected.

We were just talking about this!

Yes, it’s graduation time, and it’s VERY common up here to have graduation parties for your kids. They call 'em Graduation Parties here, though, not open houses, although I guess it wouldn’t seem odd to hear that so-and-so is having a graduation open house.

Generally speaking, they happen in the afternoons, and typically consist of finger food & beer. They’re very casual, and it’s more or less OK to show up if you know the parents or the graduating kid, even if you didn’t get a formal invitation. One thing nobody has mentioned is that money is involved, at least in this area. People bring cards with cash in 'em for the graduate. A graduate can usually expect to rake in $2K to $3K, depending on how many friends his or her parents have. And it’s not that people give a lot of cash - $10 or $20 or even less is typical. It’s that so many people show up.