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At our church we do not celebrate Halloween, we celebrate Harvest Season. At the party we use the theme of God's creations. The kids as well as the adults have the option to dress up as any of God's creations of the first 6 days of creation. It's a lot of fun and a success. Some come dressed as vegetables, animals, fish, birds, plants, trees, stars, fruits, sun, clouds, rain, eagles, the globe, Adam, Eve, any many more.
That is a lovely idea that I hope is spread to more churches and schools.
Jewish people celebrate the harvest season in October with a lovely, joyous holiday called Sukkot.
...On the fifteenth day of this seventh month is the Festival of Sukkot, seven days for the L-RD. -Leviticus 23:34
Historically, Sukkot commemorates the forty-year period during which the children of Israel were wandering in the desert, living in temporary shelters. Agriculturally, Sukkot is a harvest festival.
The word "Sukkot" means "booths," and refers to the temporary dwellings that we are commanded to live in during this holiday in memory of the period of wandering.
The Hebrew pronunciation of Sukkot is "Sou COAT," but is often pronounced as in Yiddish, to rhyme with "LOOK us."
The temporary shelter is referred to as a sukkah (rhymes with book-ah).
The sukkah is great fun for the children. Building the sukkah each year satisfies the common childhood fantasy of building a fort, and dwelling in the sukkah satisfies a child's desire to camp out in the backyard. The commandment to "dwell" in a sukkah can be fulfilled by simply eating all of one's meals there; however, if the weather, climate, and one's health permit, one should spend as much time in the sukkah as possible, including sleeping in it.
The "walls" of the sukkah do not have to be solid; canvas covering tied or nailed down is acceptable and quite common in the United States. A sukkah may be any size, so long as it is large enough for you to fulfill the commandment of dwelling in it. The roof of the sukkah must be made of material referred to as sekhakh (literally, covering). To fulfill the commandment, sekhakh must be something that grew from the ground and was cut off, such as tree branches, corn stalks, bamboo reeds, sticks, or two-by-fours.
It is common practice, and highly commendable, to decorate the sukkah. In the northeastern United States, Jews commonly hang dried squash and corn in the sukkah to decorate it, because these vegetables are readily available at that time. Many families hang artwork drawn by the children on the walls. Building and decorating a sukkah is a fun family project, much like decorating the Christmas tree is for Christians
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I need ideas for a church harvest festival, but it has to be really inexpensive, we have practically no money.
By Vallerie from ID
I do this each October for our church. This year we have 15 games planned. The most popular with the small children is the fish pond. They have a "fishing pole" ( a branch with a string on it and a clothes pin) that they throw over a curtain, and we pin a prize on it. We give it a little yank so they feel like they've caught a fish. Some children go through this 20 times! Then there's the maze we did one year. We blindfolded them and lead them by the hands through a maze, explaining all the while about the importance of following Jesus and trusting Him when you can't see where He is leading. For a prize we gave glow-in-the-dark necklace (Jesus is the Light).
There is always a cupcake walk, face painting and a crafts table. One lady always runs a dart board with balloons on it. A man painted a 4x6' stand-up board with a dragon and hung a small basketball hoop on it so they could take turns throwing the ball. This year we are adding a Spin and Win from Oriental Trading and a ring toss (rope rings over a cardboard saguaro cactus since our them is the Wild West). A fun game is to have two children sit facing each other on the floor armed with two spoons each. Put a ping pong ball between them and have them try to push the ball into the other's legs. If it touches you, you lose. We will probably do multiple teams at the same time. Everyone else can cheer for their hero of choice. We always have a meal with it, too. This year we'll probably do beef stew and biscuits so they can be cowboys, and we'll offer a prize for everyone who wears a western outfit. Hope this helps.
Here are several ideas:
-David, the Giant Killer's Target Practice - Shoot ping pall balls at giant's mouth with sling shot (giant made out of cardboard box).
-Daniel and the Lion's Den - Throw bean bags at stand-up lions, and try knocking them over.
-David and Jonathan Archery Field - Bow and arrow target booth.
-Loaves and Fish Left-Over Toss - Toss "plastic left-overs" into baskets from behind a line.
-Delilah's Full Service Salon - Hair and Face painting.
-Peter's Duck Pond - Plastic ducks have numbers on bottom.
-Smile! Jesus Loves You - Toss bean bags through happy face eyes and mouth.
-Pearl of Great Price Treasure Hunt- Sift in sand for hidden treasures.
-Follow the Footsteps of Jesus - Cupcake or cake walk
-Ruth and Boaz' Haystack full of candy - Give children 60 seconds to find all the candy they can out of a pile of hay.
-Good Samaritan M.A.S.H. Unit - Bandage arms or heads like the poor man beaten on the highway (children love fake blood).
-Manna Bites - Children try to take a bite out of hanging powdered donuts, without using hands.
I am planning to have a fall harvest party and here are some of the things I plan to do.
Pumpkin patch ring toss - Either use pumpkins and have kids throw rings at the stems and whoever gets the ring around the stem wins or you could cut out a bunch of pumpkin shapes from orange cardstock and put them on sticks that you put in the ground, then have the kids toss rings at them to hook over the pumpkins and get a prize.
You could even make the rings yourself, which is what I am doing. They can be made out of cardboard by just cutting out a large circle and a small circle in the middle of the large one, then you can just glue on decorative or construction paper for decoration.
Pumpkin been bag toss: Depending on the age of the kids you can either have a large box which you cut out 2 large pumpkins from cardstock or colored paper and glue to cardboard or a posterboard and cut out, then glue those to the front/back sides of the box. The kids throw bean bags into the box to get a prize. If there's older kids you can cut out a large pumpkin from heavy cardboard and cut several holes in it, then mark numbers on it and the kids throw the bean bags in the holes to get a prize that goes with that number.
You can even make bean bags yourself as I did with just some old fabric (I used an old shirt). Just cut it out whatever shape you want it (regular square ones or for the fall party you could make candy corn or pumpkins) and sew it together by hand and fill them with regular beans (just by a bag of cooking beans).
Duck pond: You can use a large plastic bowl (like you would put candy in for halloween), which I found one with regular pumpkins on it (not jack-o-lanterns) and use regular rubber ducks (got several together for $1 at Dollar General) and write numbers on each one, fill the bowl w/ water and you're all set.
You can have the bobbing for apples game. You would only need a large container (you can get small plastic ones at the Dollar General to put the apples in) and a bag or few bags of apples.
You can also have a face painting booth, which you would only need the face paint, and candy apples booth where you just get some apples, caramel, and some candy like chocolate chips, sprinkles, etc. to put on them. They can be $.50 or $1.00 each and the money can go toward the church.
If you can get a large thick cardboard or piece of plywood you could trace a picture of a scarecrow and some pumpkins and/or corn stocks onto it and cut out the scare crow's face, then use a piece of board to hold it up and the kids can stand behind it with their face where the hole is for taking pictures.
You can make little scarecrow favor bags out of brown sandwhich bags. These are the ones I made last year: http://www.orie -a2-48_4595.fltr I just saved the picture onto my computer, opened it and enlarged it, then traced the pices for the hat, scarf, etc. I cut those out of foam that I got at Dollar General that was already sticky on that back and just stuck them onto the paper bag. I filled the bags with a few pieces of candy (I got the dollar 6 packs of little candy bars at Dollar General) and a little toy (for $1-2 from the Dollar General). You could even make them and sell them at a booth.
For game prizes:
I went to the Dollar General and got $1-2 items from the toy section and also went to Party City and got some game prizes (they have lots of things like cazoos, slinkys, stuffed animals, coloring banners and markers, yoyos, etc. for $.50-2.00).
Decorations: I made most of the decorations myself. I just Google searched scarecrow pictures, pumpkin pictures, leave pictures, and other fall pictures and traced them and colored them in (if there are a lot of kids at the church they could color the pictures and you could hang them up for decoration around the church or wherever the festival is held). I even used fall and harvest coloring pages I found online. I printed some, colored them with markers, and got $1 frames from the Dollar General and hung them up as decoration. I traced and cut out leaves from construction paper and will hang them around the rooms for decoration as well, and I am making a sign that says "Happy fall y'all" (either with cut out leaves on the sides of the 'banner' or by putting one letter on a seperate leaf). I just use Word on the computer and type out the words "Happy fall y'all" and print it. I then trace the letters onto the leaves so it looks neater than my handwriting.
I just google searched harvest party invitations, found one with a scarecrow I liked, saved it to the computer, printed it in the size I wanted, and then traced it and added my own information for the party. If you needs lots of them, just make one then scan it and print as many as you need. You can either leave them on just the paper or print them onto cardstock so they are thicker.
For food: I just have hot dogs, smores, and some candy (which is usually a bag of the hollween candy mix you can get, again, at the Dollar General)... and the candy apples this year as well. We usually have a bonfire, so we roast hot dogs and marshmellows for the smores.
I always make everything by hand myself when I have a party because I can't afford to buy everything already made. I also enjoy making things and it adds more of a personal touch to the party and shows everyone you took the time to make the things for the party you are having for them.
My sons school is having a Fall Harvest. I am looking for ideas on games and crafts that the kids can do. There are 430 kids at his school. I do not have much $$ given to me for this event. I am looking for cheap ideas. The children are allowed to dress up. Thank you in advance for any ideas.
A huge hit at our church last year was with water guns. A Cross and a Heart were each carved on a pumkpin (could not have a jack o lantern face at church). Small tea lights were inside and the goal was to shoot out the candle. We had races and well as just doing in on your own. It was requested for this year, by adults and kids.
Our church also does many of the "carnival" type games for indoor, focusing on younger kids, like the ones mentioned, but our community ed program does "Spooky Forrest" And has a lighted walking path full of different surprises - one path for little ones and one side for the "Brave". Some of my 4 year old's favorite things there is the hayride that takes you out to the paths and the glow sticks they have!
One of our teachers make up this game and the kids love it! It's a donut eating contest.
Use two ladders or something tall on both sides and have a string between the two, kind of looks like a clothes line. You tie a string around a plain donut (or whatever kind you like) and hang the string to the "line" above. The kids all stand in a line below their string (with donut hanging from it) and when you say GO they all try and eat the donut off the string with their hands behind their back. The first one to eat the donut before it falls to the ground wins! You can give them a small prize or something for winning. The kids LOVE it.
I need ideas for outdoor games for a Harvest Party. We are having a hayride, but I need some games. The games can include ears of corn or pumpkins.
Margeth from MI
Stay away from bobbing for apples - too germy!
Good luck with your party!
Put a sticker on each persons back with the name of a vegetable or fruit that can be harvested. Don`t let them see it. They can ask other people questions that can be answered with a yes or no to try to guess what it is. This can be done in a group milling around. Take the sticker off when they do guess it. This is a good ice breaker and can be used at showers with a name of a famous person or movie star etc. Even Disney characters. No need to give a prize.
Try a pumpkin roll. four teams, two on each end of a long fairly smooth stretch of ground. First person rolls the pumpkin(you can make it harder by making them use their head or their feet) to their counterpart in the team at the other end of the field. Once they reach them, they "hand off" the pumpkin and go to the back of the line. First team to finish wins. OR you could try a pumpkin stacking race. Each person stacks as many pumpkins as possible one on top of the other as fast as possible. You may want to time them. This could also be a corn stooking race, where you make a stook as fast as possible(stack corn stalks in a teepee like shape (it must stay up without ties or other support) And there is always boiled corn eating contest or jackolantern carving race.
I saw an older post about harvest festival ideas and a member said that they had a witnessing tent. Can you tell me exactly what your gypsy tent consisted of? Or does anyone else know what this is?
By Janet from Corinth, MS
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Does anyone have any ideas for a fall festival for about 30 kids in our children's church ministry? I already have ring toss, fishing, and can knock down. Anything else? I want this to be special because this will be our first one.
I also need names for each game to connect with the Bible. Example: For the can knock down, I suggested "Knock Out Sin".
By Karen from Clemmons, NC
Cake walks are always popular. (09/14/2010)
Depends how old they are. How about "Follow-My-Leader" (to Jesus)? Or a version of good old-fashioned "He" where one child is He until he/she can catch someone else who then becomes "He". May be too noisy if indoors, but great fun!
Marg from England (09/15/2010)
I do this each October for our church. This year we have 15 games planned. The most popular with the small children is the fish pond. They have a "fishing pole" (a branch with a string on it and a clothes pin) that they throw over a curtain, and we pin a prize on it. We give it a little yank so they feel like they've caught a fish. Some children go through this 20 times! Then there's the maze we did one year. We blindfolded them and lead them by the hands through a maze, explaining all the while about the importance of following Jesus and trusting Him when you can't see where He is leading. For a prize we gave glow-in-the-dark necklace (Jesus is the Light).
There is always a cupcake walk, face painting, and a crafts table. One lady always runs a dart board with balloons on it. A man painted a 4x6s stand-up board with a dragon and hung a small basketball hoop on it so they could take turns throwing the ball. This year we are adding a Spin and Win from Oriental Trading and a ring toss (rope rings over a cardboard saguaro cactus since our them is the Wild West). A fun game is to have two children sit facing each other on the floor armed with two spoons each. Put a ping pong ball between them and have them try to push the ball into the other's legs. If it touches you, you lose. We will probably do multiple teams at the same time. Everyone else can cheer for their hero of choice. We always have a meal with it, too. This year we'll probably do beef stew and biscuits so they can be cowboys, and we'll offer a prize for everyone who wears a western outfit. Hope this helps. (09/15/2010)
How about Pin the Tail on Satan? Instead of Hot Potato, play Pass Adam's Apple. Paint a small ball red and add some green painted leaves on it. Have them shoot balls through the Angel's Halo (a basketball hoop).
Here are several ideas:
I need ideas for an indoor church harvest festival. It is for children, ages 4-12.
By Aimee from TX
When I was in the Methodist Youth Fellowship we used to call it a "Booth Festival," but it is the same thing. I thought if you knew this other name for it, you might be able to do a web search under both names.
You might want to look in the Old Testament to see what happened at Harvest Booth Festivals in Biblical times. I know it is a Jewish tradition. I think it's celebrated even today in that faith. As I remember it, it's somewhat like our Thanksgiving, where God's people gave thanks for the bounteous harvest.
I would try to create some sort of booths for the children to travel between. I'd set up a table and try to surround it with a curtain or room divider, but that isn't necessary. At each table or booth, I'd have one activity for the children to participate in. One might be guessing the number of beans in a clear glass container. The next booth or table would have something like dunking for apples. The next would be using a magic marker to make a face on a pumpkin. The last booth or table would have harvest themed refreshments. I suggest muffins and juice or milk. I believe one of our responsibilities as parents is to teach our children how to eat nutritiously. No cupcakes please. I know they are cheaper and easier, but there is nothing that can take the place of good homemade food.
I am sure now that I have you started, you'll be able to build on my ideas. Best of luck and God bless you in your endeavors.
PS. Are you sure you don't want to make this an inter generational event? (11/02/2009)
By Carol in PA
After I posted my feedback, I realized I should have explained more about it being an inter generational event. I believe grandparents have much to teach children and children have much to teach adults. Children have a way of seeing things much more clearly than adults. I believe it is good for children to see adults living their faith. And I think it's especially good for children, especially boys, to see men participating in faith-based events.
Additionally, I'd try to think of ways to use all of the senses - touch, smell, taste, and hearing as well as sight. Can you think of a way to include music? (The music booth might need to be in a different room from the others.) Maybe you can do face painting. I'd even paint the faces of the adults present to make it a fun event. Have fun. (11/02/2009)
By Carol in PA
I got some great church fall festival carnival ideas from VolunteerSpot.com/ebooks on Carnivals. We did a hula hoop contest -- so much fun. (06/14/2010)
What we do is decorate the church with fresh produce that is handed out to the needy families in the community. The children are encouraged to bring along non-perishable items of food to donate to the needy families that our church feeds. We then have a harvest breakfast with the kids at Sunday school by sharing apples, oat cookies, water, sandwiches, oranges, etc. We then share with the church as well by setting plates for them to have with their tea after service. (08/14/2010)
How do you plan a church youth harvest festival?
Joyce from Philadelphia, PA
The church we used to attend does this very thing each year, starting with a contest, guys against the gals to see who can bring in the most bagged candy to hand out. We set this up as a carnival, such as golf, face painting, maze, hay ride, ring toss, fish pond, etc. Candy is handed out at each game. (09/25/2008)