Fall-Theme Party Ideas for Celebrating the Harvest

people sitting around carved pumpkin bonfire
Celebrate the beauty of autumn with a fall backyard harvest party. Use gourds, pumpkins, apples, and sweet potatoes for inspiration: These fall festival ideas for food, pumpkin decorations, and activities will infuse your gathering with the spirit of the season.

Seasonal Celebration

Celebrate fall with a harvest party. Use the bounty of the season in your decorating and recipes. Plan a few autumn-theme activities, invite some guests (young and old will enjoy this party), and get ready to toast the beauty of fall.

Pumpkin Greeting

This cheery welcome is one of our favorite fall festival ideas. Fill a wheelbarrow with an assortment of pumpkins and gourds. Use a paint pen to write a welcoming greeting on one of the larger pumpkins. Set up the fanciful fall display in your front yard to usher guests into the party.

Doorway Display

Draw attention to the party's entrance with a fresh and colorful display. To make these fall party decorations, poke holes into pumpkins with a screwdriver and insert leaf-covered branches into the holes. Arrange the branch-bearing pumpkin decorations around your front door, along with a few extra gourds for color.

Walkway Decorations

Decorate a walkway with stacks of pumpkins in a variety of shapes, colors, and sizes. Illuminate the path with candles set inside canning jars. If you're planning to do some pumpkin carving or painting at your party, invite guests to pick out their own pumpkin canvas along the path.

Editor's Tip: Don't leave lit candles unattended. If you cannot monitor the candles, use battery-operated votives instead.

Bountiful Buffet

Infuse your party with fall flavors and serve up recipes using the season's bounty. If you plan on hosting a potluck, ask guests to bring their favorite autumnal dishes to share. Browse our favorite fall recipes on the next few slides for some delicious dishes to serve at your party.

Ideas for Fall Produce

From apples to sweet potatoes, autumn brings out the best in both sweet and savory flavors. Try making a fall fruit salad with apples or make zesty sweet potato fries.

Yummy Fruit Desserts

Many fruits are at their peak during the fall months. Take advantage of the fresh produce and launch it into a starring role for the dessert course.

Pumpkin Punch Bowl

Refresh parched guests with a pumpkin punch served in fall style. Hollow out a pumpkin, scraping the sides well and removing all the seeds and pulp before filling it with apple cider. Add apple slices and cinnamon sticks for garnish and serve in canning jar glasses.

Table Decorations

Set up a table outside so guests can eat in the crisp autumn air. Top a table with burlap tablecloth. (Try making your own by purchasing a length of burlap to fit your table and fraying the edges.) Dress up the table top with a cozy runner, miniature gourds and pumpkins, and candles inside large glass hurricanes.

Pretty Place Cards

For easy-to-make place cards, write guests' names on small pumpkins using paint pens. Tuck the finished pumpkin decorations inside a bowl at each place setting along with a napkin and a few decorative leaves.

Colorful Jack-o'-Lanterns

Add extra glow to your table with carved jack-o'-lanterns. Use different colored pumpkins, such as gray and green, for a variation on the classic carved orange pumpkin.

Pumpkin Painting

After dinner, whip out the pumpkin and paints. Invite guests to use their artistic skills to paint pretty designs or goofy faces on pumpkins.

Editor's Tip: Pour paint into old muffin tins to minimize mess.

Party Pinata

Challenge guests to take on a pumpkin-face pinata (available at party stores or easy to make at home). Fill with candy or small prizes before the party. Suspend the paper pumpkin from a backyard tree limb. Provide a blindfold and bat and let guests have at it.

Blanket Protection

Fall weather can be unpredictable: Prepare for the possibility of cooler temperatures by rounding up a basket of blankets for guests to use if the air becomes chilly.

Pumpkin Bonfire

Get cozy without having to build a real fire. Download our free flame stencil and follow the easy carving and assembly instructions for this bonfire-inspired pumpkin pile. If a guest plays the guitar, ask them to bring it along and have a good, old-fashioned sing-along while gathered around the light up pumpkin "campfire."

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