23 Fall Backyard Party Ideas for Celebrating Harvest Season

decorations outside house during Halloween
Photo: Carson Downing

Celebrate the beauty of autumn with a fall backyard harvest party. Use gourds, pumpkins, apples, and sweet potatoes as inspiration for fall harvest party ideas. You'll love all of our food ideas, fall party decorations, and activities that will infuse your gathering with the spirit of the season.

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Seasonal Celebration

pumpkin party table set outside under a tree
Helen Norman

Celebrate fall with a harvest party! Use the bounty of the season in your fall party decorations and recipes. Plan a few autumn-themed activities, invite some guests, and get ready to toast the bounty of fall. We love the gorgeous setup on this outdoor table!

02 of 23

Hit the Pumpkin Patch

decorations outside house during Halloween
Carson Downing

Throw a harvest party on a budget by using decor that serves double duty! Hit the pumpkin patch and grab everything you need to complete your front porch fall decor scheme. Rather than buying a set of fall decorations for the porch and another set for party decorations, set the porch decorations around the yard. After the party, transfer the decor to the front porch for decor that lasts until Halloween.

03 of 23

Harvest Greeting

message painted white pumpkin fall decor
Carson Downing

Don't say it, paint it! Painted pumpkins on a porch step will set the scene for a cozy setting for a crisp fall gathering. Black paint on white pumpkins is a bold way to welcome the harvest season; use autumn colors—like yellow, red, orange, and warm brown—as accents.

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Festive Felt Decor

felt mum garland
Carson Downing

Decorate your outdoor space with a simple festive garland. Make felt mums in fall colors (it's actually so easy!) and string them up with wood beads. Attach them to a deck rail or string them between fence posts. When the gathering is over, move the garland inside for pretty, easy indoor fall decor.

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Blanket Protection

2 children under blanket with basket and pumpkins
Helen Norman

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.

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Doorway Display

child looking out of door with pumpkins and fall leaves
Helen Norman

Draw attention to the party entrance with a fresh and colorful display. To make these fall party decorations, poke holes into pumpkins with a screwdriver and insert leafy branches into the holes. If you're comfortable with power tools, carefully drill the holes. Arrange the branch-bearing pumpkin decorations around your front door, along with a few extra gourds for pops of color.

07 of 23

Dish Up Apple Cider

Hot Spiced Cider
Blaine Moats

Is it possible for cozy to have a flavor? If so, it would be warm apple cider served up to guests. Plus, apple cider has so many recipe variations. Try it with pomegranate, ginger, or lemon.

08 of 23

Walkway Decorations

adult and child walking down path with pumpkins
Helen Norman

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 of fall party decorations.

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

09 of 23

Easy-Transport Baked Treat

Maple-Glazed Baked Apples
Andy Lyons

Whip up a delicious backyard treat for party guests. These maple-glazed baked apples are so easy! Bake them before guests arrive and keep them warm in the oven until you're ready to serve appetizers. Then simply carry the pan out to the backyard gathering. Remember the plates or bowls!

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Bountiful Buffet

serving table with food and pumpkins
Helen Norman

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.

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Twig Pumpkin Craft

finished stick pumpkin piece leaning against wall with copper bowl and wheat

Your harvest party needs a craft for adults, too! Before your guests arrive, gather some small sticks and twigs from your yard. Use the sticks to create fall shapes (like a pumpkin) on a canvas or piece of whitewashed wood, attaching them with hot glue or wood glue. As you craft, enjoy cider and snacks.

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Colorful Jack-o'-Lanterns

3 lighted pumpkins on table
Helen Norman

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.

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Pumpkin Bonfire

people lying around pile of lighted flame designed pumpkins
Helen Norman

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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Ideas for Fall Produce

2 children getting salad from serving bowl
Helen Norman

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 serving zesty sweet potato fries.

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Pumpkin Greeting

wheel barrel fall decor
Helen Norman

This cheery welcome is one of our favorite fall harvest party 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.

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Pumpkin Punch Bowl

table with pumpkin punch bowl
Helen Norman

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.

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Table Decorations

people sitting at table outside under tree
Helen Norman

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 tabletop with a cozy runner, miniature gourds and pumpkins, and candles inside large glass hurricanes.

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Yummy Fruit Desserts

white pumpkins with plate of apple-plum-cake dessert
Helen Norman

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.

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Pretty Place Cards

Place holder pumpkins with name painted
Helen Norman

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.

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Pumpkin Painting

child in plaid shirt painting pumpkin on hay bale
Helen Norman

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.

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Party Piñata

child trying to break pumpkin pinata
Helen Norman

Challenge guests to take on a pumpkin-face piñata (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.

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Visit an Orchard

red ripened apples on tree branch
John Granen

Harvest season is also apple orchard season! Use your fall harvest party as an occasion to check out a local farm or apple orchard. Get the party started at your home, nibbling on fall snacks and filling your portable mugs with cider and cocoa. Carpool or caravan to the orchard for a day of fun. Many local farms allow guests to pick their own fruits and wind through corn mazes. After a day at the orchard, bring everyone together for a cozy harvest party in the backyard.

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Make Your Own Cornucopia

fall flower cornucopia

Nothing says harvest like a cornucopia. Make your own using florist's foam and bold blooms. If you aren't satisfied with your DIY cornucopia serving as just a fall party decoration, invite your guests to make one of their own, too. Provide the foam and cut flowers, and encourage guests to bring their own flower vessels. Your cornucopia is both a fall table decoration and a fall harvest party activity!

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