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Back To School Family Fun

How to Have a Back to School Backwards Dinner!


Celebrate the beginning of a new school year with this fun and simple Back to School Dinner idea– a Backwards Dinner! Read on to hear how to make this a fun family celebration for everyone!

back to school dinner

What’s a Back to School Backwards Dinner?

As a young girl, I attended a backwards dinner with my mom for a mother/daughter activity in my church group. I remember it being so fun. Of course, my festive mom and I really got into it. We dressed backwards, including our jeans, shirts, earrings, and even did our pony tails backwards. The fun didn’t stop there. The entire evening was done in a backwards fashion, including the order in which we ate our food!

The backwards dinner left a memorable impression on my young festive-loving heart. So much so that I have put on a few backwards dinners in my day, including Back to School dinners for my youth group and even my own family.

I bet you can get the idea of what a backwards dinner entails. You get to eat dessert first, then the main dish, and then the appetizer. How fun is that?


The Menu for your Back to School Dinner

Of course, since you’ll be eating dessert first, you’ll want to choose a dessert that isn’t too sweet or huge. If you do, then no one will want to eat the main course, which would just be a waste of your time and energy in preparing it.

For dessert, I chose apple cupcakes. They go right along with the Back to School theme and they are just the right size. Plus, since the apple cupcakes are pretty adorable, they double as a table decoration, since you can have them on the plates from the beginning.

For the main dish, I served Baked Mac n’ Cheese. I chose baked mac n’ cheese because 1. my children love it! I wanted to have a meal that was enjoyable and not one that I was fighting with my kids to eat every bite. 2. Baked mac n’cheese is easy to prepare in advance and then you can keep it warm in the oven until dessert is over.

For the drinks, I picked up some Apple Beer. We save soda for special occasions, so Apple Beer was a treat for everyone. I love how the packaging ties right into the apple theme.

For the appetizer, I served veggies or salad. By this point, it’s likely that everyone will be full. So, don’t bank on needing a lot of appetizer foods. You could do a simple veggie or salad, or bruschetta.


Simple Back to School Dinner Decorations

I literally decorated for this Back to School Dinner in about 5 minutes! When you are preparing the meal and the dinner, it’s hard to spend tons of time decorating, wouldn’t you agree?

I have found that if I have some basic decorations in my party stash, I can decorate quickly and reuse the same items.

Here’s what I used:


How to Make The Adorable Apple Cupcakes

These apple cupcakes are just too cute and fairly quick to make. But if you don’t have time to make these for your back to school dinner, you might like The Easiest Back to School Cupcakes .

Step 1-Make the cupcakes 

I wasn’t going for gourmet cupcakes here, so I just used a boxed cake mix. Choose a white or vanilla cake mix that can easily be colored red, or use a red velvet cake mix. I used vanilla and added red food coloring to make the batter red. By dyeing the batter, you’ll have nice, red cupcakes all around that can be seen through the cupcake liner. I keep a stash of these white cupcake liners at all times that I use for all cupcakes and muffins. They are cheap and they last me forever. There is nothing worse than not having cupcake liners when you need them!

Step 2- Bake

Once your batter is red, divide into muffin tins, lined with white cupcake liners. Now bake according to the package directions.

Step 3 – Frost & Decorate 

Once the cupcakes have baked and cooled, your ready to decorate. To make the cute apple cupcakes, you’ll need:

  • red frosting – homemade or bought
  • red crystal sprinkles
  • stick pretzels
  • green strip candy like Airheads or these sour apple belts 

Frost the cupcakes with the red frosting. Before the frosting dries, sprinkle the red sugar cystal sprinkles on top. Then stick a pretzel in the middle for the apple stem.

Finally, you’ll want to add the green leaf. To make, simple cut an oval shape out of the green strip candy. Stick firmly into the cupcake next to the stem. And now you’ve got adorable apple cupcakes!



Family Theme

Each year, we like to pick a scripture to memorize as a family. I wrote ours out on a Giant Chalkboard I have hanging in the kitchen and we talked about what it means over dinner and how it can help all of us in the new school year. Our theme last year was Deut 31:6- Be Strong and of good courage, Fear not, nor be afraid, for the Lord God will not fail thee nor forsake thee. 

And of course, I needed to snap a few photos of my cute Kindergartner.


So what do you think? Will a back to school backwards dinner happen at your house?



Melissa loves simply celebrating life through holidays, travel, photography, and the simple moments at home. Her best friend Brandon and her are raising their 4 adorable little ones just north of Salt Lake City, UT. Sunshine, gelato, a good run, planning a trip, and an organized house make her really happy. She loves sharing simple ideas to inspire everyone to celebrate life. Simply.

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