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.
FALL PARTY DECOR
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.
HARVEST PARTY FOOD
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 usually bring all kinds of amazing soups, and fall dishes galore. It is soooooo deliciously good. For dessert we usually have an array of 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:
cowboy hats (we'd always find some for the kids at the dollar store)
It is completely optional and up to them if they'd like to. Sometimes we just wear fall colors!
HARVEST PARTY GAMES
The games are SO fun! Here is a sample of what we have done over the years:
three legged races (tie their legs with bandanas)
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)
tug of war
corn shucking races
corn doll craft
Pumpkin, pumpkin, gourd (same as duck, duck, goose)
Hay bale jumping (this is the biggest competition that is everyone's FAVORITE)
square dancing or dancing like the Virginia Reel (I linked a tutorial video but you can forward to 4:45 of the video to hear the music and see the dance quicker)
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 from past celebrations:
Kicking off the three legged races
Pumpkin rolling relay races
Cute homemade corn husk dolls
Whip cream pie eating contest
Adults taking in the fun
Hay bale jumping--sometimes stacked at three bales high!
The adults even get in on the fun!
And later after that we had a bonfire going with some smores or marshmallows on sticks for roasting. For a few years we had a good friend come out and sing some interactive country folk songs to the kids during this time but this year he eventually had moved away and we just did the roasting instead.
Adults and children alike all have fun and get to fellowship--I don't think I have every laughed so hard at some of the games! It was also a great way to reach out to our neighbors, several of whom like to show up. We definitely always look forward to hosting this event with friends.
Have you ever had a Harvest Party?
What would you add to this list?
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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?
Oh what fun! Thanks for sharing the ideas.
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!
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!
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.
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!
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.
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:)
This sounds like such a fun party. I love the hay bale jumping.
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!
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!
This is a great list! My neighbors and I are about to co-host a neighborhood party. Many of these ideas we've thought of, but you list many other wonderful ones. Where do you get hay bales? (We are in the suburbs of Chicago). Do you save up for this, or split the cost with others?
Thanks for posting! What a great way to celebrate the Harvest season!
We get the Haybales at local Farmer's Market, farms, or Feed and Supply stores. You can even get them at our Walmart and Meijer (this year they went really fast and were gone in a blink of an eye). If you are in Chicago and can't find any there you can get them in Northwest Indiana which is less than an hour away. They are usually about $6 per bale.
As for cost--we usually pay out of pocket but like mentioned in the post, we usually do a potluck with others bringing food so that helps to cut down the cost. One year we had friends who lived on a farm bring their haybales and that was a blessing. This year my older adult/teen children all pitched in and paid for most of it since they are all working full time.
I hope that helps!
Thanks for the great ideas! We go to a friend's Halloween party every year and I'm going to suggest she add Pumpkin Rolling and Hay Bale jumping to the festivities!
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