Temperatures and leaves dropping always make me want to cozy up with friends and celebrate the fall harvest. Whether inside or out, there are tons of great ideas floating around online for how to throw a fall get together that’s fun and memorable for all, but without too much stress or work to put together. Below is a round-up of 5 inspiring Fall party ideas appropriate for kids and adults alike to get you in the mood to host a gathering this season (click through the images in this post for more ideas and inspiration!).
Oktoberfest Themed Get Together
Loosen up your lederhosen with a laid-back take on an Oktoberfest themed party. Have guests volunteer to bring menu items including soft pretzels with fondue dipping sauce, sausages, plenty of mustard and sauerkraut, German potato salad, and apple strudel or black forest cake for dessert. These don’t have to be toiled over all day in the kitchen either – many of these menu items can be easily store bought!
Make sure to have plenty of German beers from lagers to hefeweisens to dunkels (of course) along with some cold, crisp German Reisling. If you feel so inclined, decorate with white and blue checked Bavarian flags, or set up a photo booth featuring paper props on sticks like giant beer steins, flags, hats, and speech bubbles that say “Prost!” (that’s German for cheers). Pop on a playlist of bier hall songs and let the celebrations begin.
Pumpkin Decorating Party (no messy carving required)
Pumpkin carving is a classic fall party activity for adults and kids alike, but all those sticky pumpkin guts and the messy and dangerous knife handling can be a bit much for one host or hostess to take on. This year, why not try a no-carve pumpkin decorating party? Set up a table with sample picture inspirations and craft supplies and let guests bring their own pumpkins, choose their design and get to creating. The best part is – without cutting into the pumpkins they’ll last much longer, so they can serve as decor until well after Halloween.
Some fun and simple ideas include:
- Use fabric puff paint to draw a dot design on your pumpkin – spell out words such as “gather” “fall” “Boo!” and more.
- A few packages of large googly eyes serve as the starting point for lots of cute and creepy creatures. Dress up your pumpkin as a mummy with some gauze, or use cut-out felt shapes to create an owl, or a silly faces with glasses, mustaches, noses, hats and more.
- Create simple patterns of stripes or polka dots with buttons and ribbon affixed to the pumpkins with glue.
- Spray-paint the pumpkins with chalkboard paint, then use white chalk to spell out your favorite message, or draw on sophisticated monogram.
Easy Homemade Fall Carnival
A few easy to put together homemade games set up in the backyard make for a fun and festive fall get together. For breaks in-between games, a table set up with treats for guests to create their own fall trail mixes is a simple way to keep the energy up. Jars or bowls filled with pretzels, cereal, M&Ms, chocolate candies, nuts, candy corn and dried fruit along with scoops and simple paper bags is all you need.
Some homemade game ideas include:
- Poke-A-Pumpkin – nail or tack orange and green party cups in a pumpkin shape to a large wooden board. In each cup, place a small prize, or a paper with a number of points on it. Then, attach squares of orange or green tissue paper over each of the cups with rubber pants. Have players punch 1-3 cups to win their prize or rack up points.
- Pumpkin Ring Toss – Cut the center from plastic plates and have players toss them ono the stems of a row of pumpkins. The farther away, the more points they’re worth! Keep a chalkboard with a running list of scores and award a prize to the highest scorer.
- Bob for Apples – A true classic requiring only a bucket full of water and apples!
- Donut Eating Contest – Tie a string between two chairs, posts, or between two trees in the yard. Slide donuts onto the string (bonus points if you can get your hands on the super yummy apple cider donuts around this time of year!). Line up contestants below the donuts and start the races! First contestant to finish their donut (hands-free) wins!
- Pumpkin Bowling – set up an alley way in a long section of the back yard with bales of hay on either side, and a triangle of plastic bowling pins at the end. Use small, round pumpkins with their stems cut short to roll along the ground and knock over the pins.
Cozy Bonfire Party
Gather around a big bonfire with friends to really get in the spirit of the fall season. Alongside the bonfire circle, set up a warm drink bar with lots of mugs and spoons. Run an extension cord with a power strip outside and hook up several crockpots full of hot spiced apple cider, and mulled wine for adults, along with a hot-chocolate bar featuring mix-ins like marshmallows, caramel sauce, pumpkin pie spice, whipped cream, peppermint and cinnamon sticks and rolled cookies for using as a straw and dunking.
A festive outdoor photo booth featuring a display of bales of hay, pumpkins and squash, fallen leaves and a simple burlap bunting banner make a place where guests can snap some memorable shots from your get together.
Chili Bar or Chili Cook-Off
A chilly fall evening is the perfect time for a party centered around, you guessed it, chili! Put together a crock pot chili recipe and let it simmer throughout the day (or alternatively, ask each guest to bring their own famous recipe and have a chili cook-off contest!).
Alongside, set up a bar with mix-ins and toppings so each guest can customize their bowl. Ideas for these include baked potatoes to top, cornbread cubes or muffins, Fritos or other tortilla chips, grated cheeses, sour cream, chopped green or white onions, bacon, jalapenos, olives, cubed avocado, chopped cilantro and lime wedges. Put on a football game, and chill out with family and friends at your relaxed serve-yourself style party.
Do you and your friends or family have a tradition of throwing a fall harvest get together? Let us know your ideas for food, drinks and activities in the comments below!