8 Tried and True Fall Festival Ideas

It’s hard to believe it, but summer is slowly coming to an end and fall is hardly a month away. Regardless of whether you prefer fall or summer, these eight fall festival ideas are sure to get you excited about the next season. (Though in California, you could say we only have two seasons: summer and non-summer. But let’s pretend that temperatures will actually cool down and we’ll enjoy a real fall season.)

  • Theme: Chili Cook Off

Whether you’re a chili master or not, a chili cook off is a great way for every experienced and aspiring chef to shine. Ask guests to identify the secret ingredient and choose a winner. 

  • Theme: Blues and BBQ

Sway to live blues music as you savor sweet BBQ and spend time with friends and family. If you’d rather not worry about burning the BBQ, then give Picnic People a call and we’ll be sure to deliver flavors that will get your taste buds dancing, too. 

View Picnic People menus here.

  • Theme: Costume Carnival

Everyone loves an opportunity to play dress-up — adults too! Encourage guests to create their own costume, rather than buying one. Hand out prizes for the following categories: Most Original, Most Cheesy, Best Couple, Cutest, Scariest and Funniest. 

  • Activity: Fall Candy Grab

No, you don’t need to wait until Christmas to indulge in chocolate and sweets. Set up a candy bar featuring red, orange and yellow candy, such as Twix, Kit Kats, Reese’s pieces, M&Ms and candy corn. Be sure to have small baggies available nearby.

  • Activity: Scarecrow Making Contest

For this fun activity, you’ll need plaid shirts, bandanas, overalls, a cowboy hat, bamboo poles, twine, straw (or hay), scissors, a hacksaw (to cut the bamboo), marking pens, and safety pins. If you’ve never made a scarecrow, this could definitely be a fun tradition to adopt.

Check out instructions for making a scarecrow here

  • Activity: Pumpkin Carving Contest

It wouldn’t be a fall festival without a pumpkin carving contest. Ask guests to either create their own design or find one on the Internet. Be sure to have plenty of pens, markers, candles and carving knives available. Don’t forget to take a picture of all of the pumpkins at the end!

  • Game: Scavenger Hunt

Design a scavenger hunt that fits the theme of your fall festival. Think of items that relate to your theme and create a storyline that will have guests excited about the next clue.

Check out these 100 scavenger hunt ideas and tips.

  • Game: Spooky Substances

Kids and adults of all ages will enjoy touching mysterious substances in containers and guessing as to what’s inside. You can peel grapes for eyeballs, chop liver for brains — get creative!

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