My church has a harvest festival every year instead of celebrating Halloween. It's mostly geared toward younger children, about 2 and up. I need some really good party ideas but nothing cheezy. We have planned thus far to have a scavenger hunt, a costume and dance contest. But what else could they do? We wanted to do a fun house but it's difficult because we are a church. Please help with any ideas, favors, decorations etc.
Dionna from MD
You aren't going to believe this, but at a lrg Harvest party my church held a few yrs back, the most popular activity was cardboard boxes!! They collected lrg cardboard boxes, attached them end to end, and created a tunnel that spread out over the gym floor in twists and turns and straight-aways. The boxes weren't decorated on the outside, but that would be a nice touch - you could even create a theme of various Biblical locations for each section of the tunnel. There was always a line of little ones to crawl thru this activity. I wasn't involved, just sat back and watched, so I'm not sure what they used to attach the various boxes, if they had them afixed to the floor, or if they were decorated on the inside, but the kids sure loved it!!!!!!! (09/15/2005)
You could do a fun house theme on a minor scale. Have kids place their hands in covered baskets and if they guess what they are touching, they win a prize.
Use grapes, cotton balls, boba* balls, cooked spaghetti...
Or tell them it's fish eyeballs and cow brains.
Make sure to have hand wipes available.
*Boba balls are the little tapioca balls you find in asian tea beverages. (09/16/2005)
Dionna, your message interested me. Here in the UK most churches ALWAYS have a harvest festival, and NEVER have Halloween as it is regarded as "not taking evil seriously". Things we have done - barn dances [do you call them square dances in USA] with bales of straw/hay for seating. Eats- potatoes baked in their skins with beans, cheese or sloppy joe type fillings. Childrens game 'pin the tail on the donkey' people perform songs - 'Hole in My bucket' 'Old Macdonald had a farm' and dress up as old time farmers. competitions for best decorated straw hat. games where you have to make animal noises. Pass-the-parcel with forfeits in each layer, again animal related. bobbing for apples. as its a church event, you may want to pick out some of the bible stories relating to farmers/seeds/shepherds/harvest - perhaps write things like "Parable of sower" etc on cards, and get people to mime the bible story for the audience to guess. Love Angela (09/16/2005)
Our church has a party on Halloween night as an alternative to Halloween called Festival of Lights --- the biggest hit for children is our fishing booth-- just make a booth with a curtain for someone (usually some of our teenagers) to hide behind and when the children throw thier line in they "catch" a small bag with candy or small toys in it! Our youth minister always has a short worship service with songs and games. For children a little older, they like bobbing for apples. Tina in NC (09/16/2005)
By Tina in NC
Hi Dionna, Our church does a cake walk. A few weeks in advance, we make cupcakes and decorate them. Some look like baseballs, lady bugs, hamburgers, grapes etc. The children LOVE choosing their prize! (09/16/2005)
Our church has done several harvest festivals. We do a cupcake walk. It's like musical chairs except with numbered circles on the floor. We also had a fortune tent with a gypsy, which was really a witnessing tent. We rented blowup bouncers, had hayrides, pony rides and carnival games. Some of the games were so easy you could put them together yourself. Magnetic fishing in a kiddie pool, little tykes basketball, knock down bottles, etc. (09/20/2005)
We have held a small harvest party at our house and I have some ideas. you can have a scare crow relay were kids have to run to a marker (cone or stake or whatever you can find)put on extra large cloths like Big boots, straw hats and ovralls then run back to were they started and take them off letting the next kid in line have a try. You can decorate with garlends of fake fall leaves from craft stores and boques of real ones. You can put out jack o' laterns lite with christmas lights (when carving make sure to includ a hole in the back for the cord to slip through). indian corn is wonderful and very decorative. make foam owls with close pins glued to the backs so you can clip them around. you can make your fun house by closing of one part or room of your church with fabric or boxes then inside hanging ribbon from the roof with balloons tapped to the ends so they bob along the bottom. a fun thing for younger kids is to have a card board box with a elphants head painted on and a hole where the trunk is supposed to be then a adult with a grey sock on there hand puts there arm through it like a trunk and then kids hand the elpahnt a peanut. Then the adult can give the kids candies in return. You can make a fun house mirror from tin foil and add some light bulbs painted in lime greens and sholking purples for fun effects. bubble machines would be even more fun. a mystery box would also fit in well here. For this take a box and add a big enough hole for someone to fit there hand in and feel the contents. You can put in things like a candy cane, squirt gun, cotten ball, ect. Anything with a distinct shape or feel to it is good. a diffrent idea for favors is an apple, carmel sheet and pocicle stick so kids can make there own carmel apples. You also might want to include glowsticks, candy whistles, stickers, and mini bubble packs. (09/27/2005)
why not focus on fall harvest foods? bobbing for apples, apple pie eating contest, making homade applesauce, ect.
Josie, PA (10/02/2005)
Hey! Our church has a Harvest Festival every year instead of kids going out trick-or-treating. Last year we decorated our fellowship hall with cute scare crows (about $6 each), bales of hay (donated by members), pumkins, squash, and gords(all donated by church members), plates with decorated leaf sugar cookies, artifical fall leaf garland to line tables, small cheap fall flowers that were given away as door prizes for the adults, fall colored streamers. We also give out a treat bag, which is also used in the decoration. We use brown paper bags and stamp a fall colored leaf on the bag. It looks quite cute and fits in with the fall decor.
One of the games we play is the Lazarus game (which is usually called the mummy game) We briefly tell the story of Lazurus and pick teams of 5-6. Each team picks a "Lazarus" and all the other children are given rolls of toilet paper. The children wrap "Lazarus" in grave clothes for a timed period (approx. 5min.). Each team is judged on how well they have covered "Lazarus". "Lazarus" busts out of his/her grave clothes. (09/19/2006)
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