|“||You have to go. It's our first spirit squad event. And it sets the bar for the whole year!||”|
The Back to School Party is an annual bonfire where students from Mystic Falls High School gather together in the woods to celebrate the beginning of the new school year.
This event first appeared in the premiere episode of Season One and showed the entire school gathering to celebrate the start of the school year. It was there that Vicki Donovan was attacked by Damon Salvatore while she was walking alone in the woods. Stefan and Elena also attended the bonfire together after Elena invited him the previous day, and while they hung out there, Elena confided in Stefan about her parents' death at Wickery Bridge after she had gone to the end-of-school party four months previously.
The event appeared once again in Season Three after one year had passed since the previous bonfire. Alaric, Damon, Elena, and Caroline used the party to execute their plan to capture Stefan, who had turned off his humanity after he was compelled to do so by Klaus. Elena pretended to be overly drunk, much to the amusement of Stefan, who followed her as she left the party to go look at the stars by herself on the football field's bleachers. Still pretending to be intoxicated, she climbed up the side railings to the bleachers and purposely fell from a large height in order to force Stefan to catch her and prove that he still cared about her. While he was distracted, Alaric shot him in the back with his vervain dart gun. However, thanks to interference by the corporeal ghost Vicki Donovan, who had been sent to kill Elena by the ghost of Esther Mikaelson, their plan to capture and imprison Stefan failed, and they were forced to free him so he could save their lives.
- This is the first event to happen twice in a series, with the first Back To School party taking place in the Pilot, and the second in the Season Three episode Smells Like Teen Spirit.
- In Season Three, Stefan's humanity was turned off for the party as a result of Klaus compelling him to turn it off. He also compelled Stefan to ensure that Elena was not harmed by anyone, as he needed her blood to create more hybrids. It was this compulsion that motivated all of Stefan's actions at the second Back To School party.