How to Plan a Fall Harvest Party for Teens

Autumn-Themed Invites, Games, Crafts, and Food for Your Harvest Party

A fall harvest party.

Mint Images - Bill Miles / Getty Images

People have been celebrating the harvest of a summer crop while looking forward to the long winter season for centuries. It's also a fun alternative to the spookier Halloween parties.

Thinking of planning a harvest party? The fall season is a perfect time to celebrate and teenagers and older kids will have great fun with all of the autumn-themed games and activities you can plan.

Pick a Location

The location of a harvest party is an important part of its success. There are quite a few things to think about before settling on where your party is going to be held.

Here are a few tips for choosing a potential party area:

  1. You'll need plenty of space. Harvest party games and activities take a lot of space.
  2. Try to choose an area that lends itself to the fall motif. If you can find a place that can be part of the decorations, like a barn or outside among the changing leaves, it'll take less work to bring out the autumn feeling.
  3. Make sure the location has one or two big areas. The more nooks and crannies, the more potential party problems and the more chaperones you'll need.
  4. Make sure the location fits your budget. If you're paying for the location of the party, be sure it doesn't exceed 40 percent of your overall budget. If you spend too much on the party place, you won’t have enough to throw a great party.

The Guest List

Now that you know the amount of space you have, it's time to make a guest list. Your list should include everyone you want to invite, as well as chaperones. If chaperones are your teen guests' parents, invite both parents instead of just one. They will be more apt to accept your invitation, even if one cannot make it.

Send the Invitations

You can send invitations through the mail or hand-deliver them. Include colorful autumn leaves or some beautiful fall scene on the card. This is your first opportunity to set the theme of the party.

Fall Harvest Party Activities

Part of what makes any party a blast is how everything fits with the party theme. Your fall harvest party needs to have fun seasonal games and activities, good fall food, and an abundance of fall decorations. Here are some activity ideas:

Set up a Craft Table

Crafts are always a hit. Choose a few autumn-themed craft projects that are easy to make in just a few minutes. Projects like falling leaf beaded earrings or a quick pumpkin safety pin bead project are perfect.

A few tips for your craft table:

  • Gather all of the supplies and place them on the table before the party begins.
  • Include printed instructions so the teens can start the project on their own.
  • Ask a chaperone to supervise the craft table in case the kids have any questions.

Set up the Games

Choose games where there will be a lot of candy prizes and your party will be the talk of the town for months. Candy is the first thing that comes to mind when people think of fall fun, so ply your guests with an abundance of it.

Here are a few harvest party game ideas:

  • Ring the Pumpkin: Use glow necklaces for the rings and have guests toss them onto pumpkin stems to win prizes.
  • Pumpkin Feet: Just like musical chairs, only use big pumpkin cutouts on the floor and tell guests they must have both feet in the cutout when the music stops.
  • Pumpkin Seed Spittin' Contest: See who can spit pumpkin seeds the farthest.

The Fall Harvest Party Menu

Keep the cool temperatures in mind and serve hot apple cider. Remember that guests like to graze, so have quite a few finger foods around like candy corn rice crispy treats.

Make a Shopping List

Now that you have chosen your menu and activities, you'll need to make a list of all of your supplies. Divide the list into smaller lists organized by store. If an item can be found in two different stores, put it on the list where you can get the best deal.

As the day of the party draws near, you will want to stay organized. Keep your lists together and be sure to go over them often.

Before the Party

Before the party, be sure to do the following:

  • Check the guest list: Mark down RSVPs as you receive them. A week before the party date, start calling people if they have not RSVPd. If a guest wants to bring a friend, allow it and make a note on your list.
  • Confirm everything: Double-check on your location, chaperones, anything you have rented, donations of food, etc. Everything that you are relying on someone else to do should be confirmed approximately two weeks before the party. This will save you any embarrassing moments.

Decorating the Day of the Party

Be sure to get to the party location at least two hours before the guests are supposed to arrive. Here are some decorating ideas:

  • Use hay bales to section off areas like a dance floor and as tables for messy events like a pie-eating contest.
  • Use corn stalks in bunches around standing lights.
  • Use strands of lights all around. Seasonal ones are fun!

Enjoy the Party

When the party begins, it's time to enjoy it. Don't be stressed by what didn't work out. The more you enjoy your guests' company and the fun activities, the more your guests will love your party.

By Denise Witmer
Denise Witmer is a freelance writer and mother of three children, who has authored several books and countless articles on parenting teens since 1997.