From pleasantly chill weather to delicious Harvest vegetables, there’s plenty to love about Autumn. If you’re looking to share your love of the season with others, consider hosting a neighborhood Fall festival. Not only will you get to express your creative ingenuity, you get to bring the joy of Autumn to all your favorite neighbors, family, and everyone in between.
Plan Ahead of Time
Proper planning is the secret to any successful event. Start by listing out each family that will be invited. These numbers will help give you an idea of how much food to prepare, how many goodies to give out, and the general size of your neighborhood festival.
Choose a date that falls on the weekend, and clear out any plans you may have on the day before and after so you can have ample time to set up and clean afterwards.
Invite the Neighborhood
Send out your Autumn-themed invitations far ahead of time. This allows your guests to clear their schedules ahead of time in anticipation of the big Fall fling. Be sure to include a request for dietary concerns on the invitations, and provide contact info should your guests need to get in touch with you in regards to their dietary restrictions.
Clear Out the Yard
One of the necessities for hosting a Fall festival is wide open space. You won’t be able to set up in a messy backyard, so you will need to give it a good clear out before inviting any guests.
The first step in prepping your yard is to rake up any and all fallen leaves and haul them away in storage bags. Next comes pruning weak branches and moving toys, equipment, and machinery into storage. Once your yard is properly cleared, you can move on to the next step in the planning process.
An Autumn-Inspired Menu
What would a Fall festival be without the culinary staples of the season? Pumpkins, apples, and maple flavored foods are nothing short of essential when it comes to festival fare.
Consider serving finger foods as opposed to a full sit down meal. Your guests will most likely be on the move while they socialize and enjoy the activities, so options like pumpkin hummus and apple pie fries are the way to go.
Of course, your Fall festival finger foods must have some beverages to match. Draw up a drink menu featuring Fall favorites such as apple cider, mulled wine, and pumpkin juice. These can all be prepared in large batches to ensure you have enough for each of your neighborhood guests to enjoy.
Autumn themed decor is crucial for setting the festival scene. No matter if you purchase your Fall decorations from the store or go the DIY route, be sure to stick with the classic colors of the season: gold, orange, red, and brown.
Make sure that your decor is properly suited for outdoor usage. Weatherproofed options such as specialized yard ornaments or dining set covers emblazoned with Fall graphics are the perfect combination of aesthetics and functionality.
Set Up Some Games
Keeping your guests entertained is simple with the help of backyard games. Set up Autumn themed cornhole boards, a pumpkin ring toss, or pine cone bocce in a designated play area. Set up teams by ages to keep things fair, and have small prizes on hand to award the winners of each game.
Combine creativity with competition by holding a jack-o’-lantern contest for your festival guests. Set up a carving station complete with pumpkins, carving tools, and a disposable table cloth to make cleaning up a breeze. Once the carvings are complete, announce a winner for each category: Scariest, Silliest, and Most Creative!
If you’re the proud owner of a fire pit, now is the perfect time to put it to use. A backyard bonfire is a great spot for your guests to relax and warm up on a cool Fall day. Pull off the sectional covers or bench covers for fireside seating and provide supplies for making s’mores to make relaxing by your fire pit even more enjoyable.
Sweet Tooth Station
You can’t celebrate Fall without including sweet treats in the mix. Set up a sweets station where kids (and kids at heart) can stock up on their favorite candy. Divide each type of candy into separate serving bowls (i.e. chocolates, fruit candies, bubble gum), and be sure to mark possible allergens to keep everyone safe.
One simple activity to provide at your Fall festival is a crafting table for little ones. Gather up glue sticks, markers, and construction paper along with bits of nature like leaves, pine cones, and acorns. Lay them all out on a designated crafting table for kids to peruse. All that’s left to do is sit back and let their creativity flow!
When it comes to hosting your festival, safety should not be neglected. Have kids stick with their parents as they enjoy the festivities, and keep an eye out for any wandering little ones. Kids should also be kept a safe distance from your fire pit while it’s in use.