Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Fall Celebrations--How to Throw a Harvest Party

When the leaves dance in the wind and begin falling and that cold rush of air blows through we know that that autumn is making its grand entrance and every year we look forward to gathering up a bunch of people and celebrating with a Harvest Party at our home!

This day is special because it is fall themed---everything from the food, to the music, and the games. I am going to share what we do here so in case you are interested in doing something like this you will have some inspiration to go by.

This year we did it with our church family and had a worship service outdoors beforehand. It was lovely to celebrate with God's people and worshiping the Creator to jumpstart the day.

We plan in advance and decorate the house and outdoors with a fall theme. We decorate with pumpkins, gourds, scarecrows, candles, haybales, mums, cornstalks, and the like. 

We ask people to bring to the potluck a fall dish, a fall side or fall dessert and a gallon of apple cider. We also like to serve cocoa and marshmallows as well. I usually try to make a crockpot chili and cornbread. People brought all kinds of amazing soups, and fall dishes galore. It was soooooo deliciously good. For dessert we had pumpkin pies, pecan pies, apple cobbler, taffy apples, popcorn balls, pumpkin rolls, etc.

We also told people that they were welcome to dress up in cowboy clothing such as  flannel shirts, jeans, overalls, bandanas, cowboy hats, cowboy boots,  etc. It is optional and up to them if they'd like to. Sometimes we just wear fall colors.

And then there were the games...

The games are SO fun! Here is a sample of what we have done over the years:

three legged races
potato sack races
wheel barrow races
pumpkin rolling contest
pumpkin relay races
throw the hula hoop over the pumpkins (a set of three a few feet away--great for small kids)
hot pumpkin (same as hot potato instead with a pumpkin)
whip cream "pie" eating contest (a piece of bubble gum is hidden in it and the one who can blow a bubble first is the winner)
apple bobbing
tug of war
corn shucking races
corn doll craft
slack lining
Pumpkin, pumpkin, gourd (same as duck, duck, goose)
Hay bale jumping (this is the biggest competition that is everyone's FAVORITE)

During it all we like to play some clean country music or blue grass just to get everyone in the mood. Here is an example.

Here are some of the pictures:

Apple bobbing

Kicking off the three legged races

Pumpkin rolling relay races

Cute homemade corn husk dolls

Slack lining

Whip cream pie eating contest

Adults taking in the fun 

Hay bale jumping--sometimes stacked at three bales high!

The adults even got in on the fun!

And later after that we had a bonfire going with some smores. We usually we have a good friend come out and sing some interactive country folk songs to the kids during this time but this year he had moved away and we did the smores instead.

Adults and children alike all had a grand time of fun and fellowship--I don't think I have every laughed so hard! It was also a great way to reach out to our neighbors, several of whom showed up. We can't wait to do it again next year!

What ways do you celebrate fall?

Do you have any other ideas to add?

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Sharon K said...

Thank you for these great ideas. We are planning a Harvest Party for our university students here in the sub-tropics in November. Many of them have never heard of a hay ride, never seen a fireplace, had hot cocoa, or eaten a s'more.
We are trying to get creative with traditional foods (hot-cocoa, chili, etc.) that might not be so enjoyable in the eighty-plus weather here. Do you have any ideas for 'harvest foods' in hot weather?

Laura Lane said...

Oh what fun! Thanks for sharing the ideas.

Mrs. June Fuentes said...

Your welcome!

Mrs. June Fuentes said...

How about pumpkin bread, rolls,donuts, etc.? We heated up our apple cider but you could probably keep yours cold and serve in a hollowed out pumpkin. You could also do cupcakes with candy corn or candy pumpkins on them. There are also lots of great ideas on Pinterest, you might want to look there too!

Heather said...

We had our first harvest party last year with family and had a BLAST! I love the hale bale jumping! I'm adding that one to our list for this year! One thing we did is lay out old clothes and some hay to have a scarecrow building!

Anonymous said...


I loved your post-what wonderful fun! My son will be celebrating his 5th birthday in October right around Halloween. We really want to have a fall themed ( rather than Halloween!) birthday party where kids can come dressed up in a costume. Any ideas for decorating indoors on a budget? Know any games for 3-5 year olds? Your advice is much appreciated.


A Proverbs 31 Wife said...

Oh how fun! Why is it when guys see haybales they think they have to jump them? In the wintertime if the pond froze we used haybales o make our hockey goals but the guys would always end up stacking and jumping them!

Sharon K said...

Thank you June. I will have to see if I can get some pumpkins here; the pumpkin bread is a great idea. I will try to give an update with all our fun.

Mrs. June Fuentes said...

Your welcome! :)

Naomi said...

I always love the stuff you have to post. It really touches my heart. I love the ideas and am going to try some of them. Thanks for sharing:)

KM Logan @lessonsfromivy said...

This sounds like such a fun party. I love the hay bale jumping.

Tammy said...

What great fun!
We don't usually do anything for fall at home, though our church has a festival with games and candy. Now that we've got a bigger house, we're having a party of sorts, maybe with bonfire and smore's afterwards. Cards and other board games, movies or wii, and just sitting around enjoying the new place. Great times!

PaterTot said...

My family has been having harvest parties since my childhood. Precious precious memories. Hayrides, bonfires, family, frienda and FOOD! We don't do Halloween, so this is very special to me for my children. I will continue the tradition. Thanks for The fresh ideas!

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