A harvest or fall festival is an annual celebration that occurs around the time of the main harvest of a given region. Given the differences in climate and crops around the world, harvest festivals can be found at various times at different places. Harvest festivals typically feature feasting, both family and public, with foods that are drawn from crops that come to maturity around the time of the festival. Ample food and freedom from the necessity to work in the fields are two central features of harvest festivals: eating, merriment, contests, music and romance are common features of harvest festivals around the world.
This year why not celebrate with your own Backyard Harvest or Fall Festival. While some apple orchards, cider mills and pumpkin patches are slowly opening for business during this pandemic, families may not be comfortable attending one of these favorites this year. Creating the enjoyment of one of these destinations can be easy and fun for all involved.
“Autumn is the season to find contentment at home by paying attention to what we already have." -- Unknown
1. Fall Festival Planning
Whenever I plan a party, I always look at the Zones. Each area in my home or outside has a specific place for each thing I plan on doing during the party or event. Outdoor Fall Activities for Families and Fall Activities for Kids is no exception. With this Backyard Fall Festival I would split up my areas into Games, Food, Crafts, a Homemade Pumpkin Patch, Photo Booth, and an area where everyone can come together at the end of the night, like at a Bonfire.
2. Fall Foods for a Party
A Harvest Festival features foods like corn on the cob, hot dogs, brats, pumpkin pies, apple pies, cider, donuts and more. Whatever you see at your local pumpkin patch you can replicate at home with both homemade and store-bought foods. Grab some fall desserts like cookies, cupcakes and pumpkin bread at your local bakery and even pies too! Cider and Donuts are popular at your local grocery store and things like apples and caramels can be bought for making homemade caramel apples. We like the easier version below for a caramel apple bar. Fall snacks like pumpkin seeds and popcorn are easy to prepare. Set them up on a table covered in a nice table cloth or one you buy from the dollar tree. Display things on nice platters you have for celebrating the fall and decorate with faux leaves and fairy lights.
3. Fall Festival Ideas for Games
Autumn Activities are a must at any Fall Festival or Harvest Festival you are planning. Fall Lawn Games will be easy to set up the day of. We love a Football Toss where you throw a football into a bucket or basket (think laundry baskets too). You can purchase Nerf type footballs for little hands and use the real deal for older kids. A Scavenger Hunt for inside at night is a great idea since you won’t be able to have a haunted house. At Grinandprint there are 2 Halloween Scavenger Hunts that would be perfect for that. Fill up a Table with Apples and write with permanent marker on the bottom a number that coincides with a piece of candy for the win! No bobbing here to keep it safe. Do you have a ton of leaves you can create a leaf labyrinth with? If you can’t go to the corn maze then bring the leaf maze to your home instead or create one with boxes you have been saving too. A pumpkin ring toss is another great game! Line up medium size pumpkins in a row and throw plastic rings around them. Three out of the 4 pumpkins need to have a ring around them to win. Can’t find plastic rings? Use smaller pumpkins and cut a hole in a paper plate. There are so many options for a fun time. Table Top Games like Tic Tac Toe using mini pumpkins are fun! Grinandprint also has some fun table top games to print from home below.
Pumpkin Pinata (Pull String)
Apple Game (without the bobbing)
4. Fall Crafts for Kids
Setting up an area where you can have fall art ideas is great for entertaining the little ones and adults too! Quick and Easy Fall Projects or Fall Crafts for Kids are perfect for those who aren’t into the games. Plus, the art can be displayed afterwards and taken home for Fall Decor. Set a table with glue, paints, scissors, colored paper, paper plates, chenille stems, and crayons. Check to see what you need for the Fun Fall Tree Crafts we found. Items can be purchased at the Dollar Tree since they have a great section now for kid’s crafts. In fact, the dollar tree even has Halloween crafts you could purchase and set out. Have enough for each child in your family. If holding a bigger festival for the neighborhood, easier paper crafts will do just fine. Coloring Pages and a Coloring Contest would be fun too! Pin the coloring pages to a clothesline with clothespins, number them and have everyone vote for their favorite!
5. Homemade Pumpkin Patch
When I saw this, I thought what a great idea for a backyard fall festival of your own or a fall birthday party. Using small pumpkins, you buy at your local grocery store set up the pumpkins in rows and let the kids search for their perfect pumpkin on the lawn. A pretend play pumpkin patch in your backyard is a great pumpkin patch activity. You can add Pumpkin Patch Signs you get from your local craft store or dollar tree to stick in the ground or make your own. Let everyone pick out a pumpkin and bring it to a table to paint or carve. Have a wagon? Use the wagon for the little ones to carry their pumpkins in. Mix real pumpkins with faux ones so the toddlers can have pretend play after the party is over.
6. Pumpkin Carving Contest
Did the family pick out their pumpkins? You can create the pumpkin patch like we said above or just have pumpkins ready to go for painting and carving. Put out templates for pumpkin face ideas, carving tools for pumpkin carving ideas, and paints and brushes for easy pumpkin ideas. After everyone has finished hold a Pumpkin Carving Game Contest. Winner gets a Large Candy Bar or Coupon to use at a later date for things like a free ice cream with mom or dad. Use Grinandprint’s Pumpkin Carving Ballots to vote!
7. Halloween Photo Booth with Props
Every Fall party needs a family fall festival photo booth with props. Create a backdrop with bails of hay, pumpkins and cornstalks or whatever decor you have on hand (you decide). Sprinkle leaves around and set photo props in a bucket next to the photo op area. Let others take their own photos with their cameras or use an iPad and set up a photo booth using a Photo Booth App. We used the Simple Photo Booth app in our den for a Halloween Party a couple years ago and created a backdrop and printed instructions so everyone knew how to use the iPad and app. When we were finished, the photos were saved and I sent them to everyone the next day. I posted them too of course. It was probably the most fun everyone had in a long time. I plan on using it again when we can all get together. It is great to have for everyday use too.
8. Fall and Halloween Face Painting
Not an artist? Worried about using paints? Then create a Face Painting/Removable Tattoo area for the kids. A little water and a sponge or wet cloth and some fun Removable Tattoos for the Season are great for putting on faces or arms. Of course, if you like to paint you can always do that too. Use face painting stencils to make it easier.
9. Spooky Stories
Our favorite thing to do each year is to go to our local Cider Mill and head to the play area with the nieces and nephews to walk through the family-friendly haunted house. Since this year that isn’t an option why not sit around a bonfire and tell short spooky stories for kids? Depending on the ages you can find free easy stories to tell from your phone for every age to listen to. Who doesn’t love a good scary campfire story? Set up campfire chairs and have cozy blankets too. Don’t have a bonfire? Put up a bunch of Christmas lights, or flameless candles. Maybe find a fire on YouTube that can play on your iPad in the center of the group.
10. Bonfire with a Smores Bar
To finish off the Fall Festival in your Backyard gather everyone around the bonfire for some songs and s'mores! Create a S'mores Bar complete with a sign on how to create some fun new s'mores ideas. Of course, everyone loves the original but how about a grasshopper with a peppermint patty, a nutty buddy with a peanut butter cup, a Samoa with an almond joy, an Oreo with a cookies and cream bar or a strawberry shortcake with white chocolate and strawberry marshmallows. Yummy! Or let everyone use what you put on the table in bowls to get creative. Remember to have plenty of marshmallow sticks for roasting and don’t forget the hand wipes for sticky fingers.
So, this year create your own family fun and next year use these ideas to gather the neighborhood for a Fall Harvest Festival on your street. If you don’t want to plan for this big of an event with your family then try out a few of these things each day! Put them on your Fall Bucket List and you will be feeling the cool air and fun that October brings in no time!
Don’t forget about all the fun Halloween and fall games for kids and families and invites we have in our shop at Grinandprint on Etsy. You can also get to our shop on our home page here at Grinandprint.com
We would love for you to post photos of your family fun with some of our products or your own Backyard Fall Festivals on our Facebook page at Grinandprint or on our Instagram at Grinandprint. Don’t forget to favorite our shop, subscribe here on our website and follow us on our social media. We want to keep in touch and want to keep creating fun ways for you and your family to have a great time together without all the stress.
Happy Fall Y'all!
Grinandprint on Etsy