Autumn is one of the most beautiful times of the year due to colorful foliage and comfortable, cool weather. The mosquitoes finally leave, the air is crisp, and you can participate in fun fall-themed activities. And there’s no better way to enjoy autumn than looking at some harvest party ideas and planning a gathering!
Party planning, in general, can be very overwhelming, especially if you’re expecting a lot of guests. You’ll need to think about food, decorations, and entertainment to keep everyone busy and having fun. So, if you need help, keep reading for some inspirational and fun ideas to get your planning started!
Food and Drink Ideas
1. Pumpkin and Leaf-Shaped Meats and Cheeses
Charcuterie boards are always a hit at parties! They offer snacking options for everyone with meats, cheeses, crackers, nuts, and vegetables. But a plain charcuterie board isn’t harvest party-themed. So, you’ll need to make it a little more fun with some fall-themed cookie cutters!
This harvest party idea involves cutting slices of cheese and meat like you normally would. But, instead of putting them right on your board, you’ll use cookie cutters to further shape them. Try using leaf and pumpkin cookie cutters to fit the theme. You can also use a pumpkin-shaped cutting board to display your beautiful meat and cheese cut-outs!
2. Caramel Apple Slice Station
Autumn often means the arrival of apple-picking season for many places. One of the most fun and delicious ways to enjoy fresh apples is by dipping them in caramel! However, your guests might not finish whole apples. So, using apple slices might be better for a party setting.
You can create this harvest party idea with ceramic fondue warmers full of caramel and melted chocolate. Then, you can provide delicious toppings like chocolate chips, mini marshmallows, chopped nuts, sprinkles, and more! Ensure you pre-slice the apples and put them on wooden skewers to make dipping easier for guests.
3. A Hollowed-Out Pumpkin Full of Chili, Soup, or Stew
The fall season also coincides with the beginning of soup season! There’s nothing like enjoying a hot bowl of soup, chili, or stew on a chilly autumn evening. And to give this hot meal a more harvest feel, you can pour it into a hollowed-out pumpkin!
Simply head over to a local grocery store or farm and grab the biggest pumpkin you can find. Pull all the pumpkin fibers and seeds out and ensure the inside is nice and smooth. You don’t want any lingering pumpkin bits in your soup. But don’t throw the seeds out! Baking them in the oven with seasonings will make a perfect protein and antioxidant-rich snack for your food table.
After you scoop everything out, you can fill the pumpkin with your cooked chili, soup, or stew. And don’t forget to pair it with fall-themed soup cups. It’s a harvest party idea that’s sure to be a hit!
4. Apple Cider and Hot Chocolate Station
Hot drinks are another essential when hosting a harvest party. Specifically, apple cider and hot chocolate seem to be the most popular fall-themed hot drinks. So, a little station equipped with these drinks and some fall-themed hot cups would be a great harvest party idea! You can also add coffee to the spread if you feel that guests might want a caffeine kick.
This station is simple to set up, as you’ll just need insulated dispensers to keep the drinks hot. Then, you can decorate the table with hot cups, cinnamon sticks, mini marshmallows, whipped cream, and drink stirrers.
5. Candy Corn Cupcakes
An excellent way to incorporate fall into the dessert table is with candy corn cupcakes. They may look complicated, but they’re actually easy to make!
Simply fill your muffin pans with fall-themed cupcake cups. Then, mix up some vanilla cake batter and separate it equally into three bowls. Use yellow food coloring in one bowl, orange food coloring in another, and leave the third bowl plain. Then, you can fill the cups with one-third of each color and bake them. The result should be a layered look that’s similar to a piece of candy corn. It’s a beautiful, tasty harvest party idea that offers fun fall colors.
6. Mums, Hay Bales, and Pumpkins
Nothing screams autumn like mums, hay bales, and pumpkins! These things can make beautiful decorations, and they shouldn’t be hard to find. Whether you want fake or real options, most stores have them throughout autumn.
This trio of decorations can make beautiful entryway decor when your guests arrive. Or you can spread them throughout your deck or backyard. The hay bales can even serve as extra seating! Mums, hay bales, and pumpkins are essential harvest party ideas for every fall-themed gathering.
7. Pumpkin Lights
Table decorations can be challenging to fit between all of the food, drinks, and plates. Your guests will need space to enjoy their food, meaning you’ll need small, minimalist decorations. So, an excellent harvest party idea for tables would be some pumpkin lights!
These lights radiate autumn vibes with their soft, orange glow and pumpkin shape. They can make some beautiful ambient light when the sun goes down. You can place them on the dining tables at your gathering or spread them throughout your food and drink tables. They’re a safe and more fall-related way to replace plain tea lights. And there are no electrical cords needed!
8. Autumn-Themed Garland
You can use autumn-themed garland in a variety of ways when decorating for your autumn gathering.
The most common way to use autumn garland is to wrap it around railings or hang it around doors. But you can also weave the garland between each food or drink item on your serving tables. Draping the garland on the front of the tables is another decorative way to incorporate them. This harvest party idea will look especially stunning when used with the pumpkin lights!
9. Autumn Garland String Lights
Are you looking for creative lighting options for your autumn gathering? Some leaf and pumpkin string lights will be the perfect addition! Wrap them on railings, hang them on your door frames, or weave them throughout the tabletops. You can even grab a few strings of them and drape them on your pergola for an ambient sitting area.
When the sun goes down, harsh lights can hurt your eyes, especially if it’s late at night. Lights with a soft glow like these are great at creating a relaxing environment. It’s a harvest party idea that’s both useful and decorative.
10. Pumpkin Ring Toss
If you’re looking for an easy game everyone can participate in, a pumpkin ring toss is the way to go! Simply go to a local store or farm to pick out some pumpkins and get carnival rings. That’s all you need for this harvest party idea!
Ensure you pick pumpkins with long stems. Short-stemmed pumpkins will defeat the purpose of the game, as the rings will have nothing to sit on. Set the pumpkins up with the rings nearby, and guests can pick them up and play whenever they want! It’s a great game option for guests of all ages, including young children.
11. Corn-Shucking Contest
A corn-shucking contest can be a fun and messy game that your guests will love. It might sound strange, but it’s the perfect fall-themed activity, as autumn is part of corn season!
You can set up this contest by providing plenty of corn and a few large buckets. When you have some contestants, you can start a three-minute timer, and they can get shucking. Have them throw the husks into the buckets, and whoever shucks the most corn wins!
The best part about this harvest party idea is that you’ll have corn to grill or boil afterward. You can have fun and prepare food for the party at the same time! Or you can have the contestants take their corn home as a prize.
12. Pumpkin Decorating or Carving
Decorating or carving pumpkins is essential during the autumn season. So, why not set up a station for guests to make their own jack-o-lanterns?
Head to the store and grab some pie pumpkins, as these are smaller than normal pumpkins and easier to carry. And get some carving kits and painting kits to allow your guests to choose their decorating method. Set up a station with these three things and encourage people to make a pumpkin masterpiece!
It’s a fun craft to welcome the fall season, and your guests will have a souvenir to take home. Just keep in mind that this harvest party idea can get quite messy. So, you may want to lay some disposable fall tablecloths on the station table to make clean-up easier.
13. Fall-Themed Photo Booth
Everyone has smartphones these days, so creating a homemade photo booth is an easy and fun activity to set up. All you’ll need for this harvest party idea is a fall-themed backdrop and some fun fall-themed props. Place this set-up in a heavily-lit area, and your guests can take pictures whenever they want throughout the day/night.
Photo booths are fun ways to make memories with loved ones. Your guests will have so much fun, and they’ll be thankful for the memory-capturing opportunity.
Try Some of These Harvest Party Ideas for Your Next Autumn Get-Together!
Don’t let your fall gathering stress you out! It should be an exciting thing to plan, as you’ll get to spend time and have fun with loved ones. Having a few harvest party ideas in mind should help ease the stress and give you some creative inspiration. So, take a look at these ideas, get your supplies, and start planning today!
Do you want to make fresh apple cider for your apple cider station? Check out our post on the Best Cider Apples to find the right taste!
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Ashley Masiello is a home gardener, outdoor lover, video editor, artist, general freelance writer, and a writer for Minnetonka Orchards. She has a bachelor’s degree in film/media and two minors in writing and art.
She loves to tend to her plants, participate in all kinds of outdoor projects, and looks forward to planting a beautiful garden every spring.
Ashley loves sharing her knowledge about planting and fun outdoor DIY projects!
Ashley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.