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Harvest Festival Ideas

A girl at a harvest festival having her face painted.

Harvest festivals are a great way to celebrate the fall season. Read down the page for harvest festival ideas for your community or church.


Solutions: Harvest Festival Ideas

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Tip: Celebrating The Harvest Season

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.

We then group them to their correspondent creation day and have a small parade so everyone can enjoy. The leader announces some thing like "and God created on the fifth day the birds and the sea creatures" then all the birds, fish or sea creatures come out. It's lots of fun and serves as a teaching or review on what God created.

By Cynthia from Jersey City, NJ

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Here are questions related to Harvest Festival Ideas.

Question: Planning a Harvest Festival For a Church

I need ideas for a church harvest festival, but it has to be really inexpensive, we have practically no money.

By Vallerie from ID

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Best Answers

By Coreen Hart 78 376 09/15/2010 Flag

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.

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By Shay 1 10/11/2010 Flag

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.

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By Rebecca Ruth P. 1 09/17/2013 Flag

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: ... r-gift-bag-craft-kit-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.

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Question: Harvest Festival Ideas

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.

Wacky Camper

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Most Recent Answer

By ProudMama3 1 06/13/2010 Flag

I got this idea from an ebook on Fall Carnivals I found at The kids loved it.
Toy Swap "bring a toy and drop it off upon entering the carnival" get one swap ticket for each toy brought. Collect toys up until a certain point in the carnival day. At a designated time, open the toy swap to everyone who's brought something. This is a great fall carnival game for these tough times, when lots of people have things to give, but not much money.

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Question: Ideas For Outdoor Harvest Party

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

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Most Recent Answer

By Mary Lou 14 765 09/21/2007 Flag

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.

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Question: Church Fall Festival Fundraiser

We are trying to raise money so our church can build a Family LifeWay Center. We need ideas on the planning of a fall festival that can be open to the community and draw a crowd that will help us raise money. Mostly it will be an outside event, but we will have access to our Fellowship Hall.

By AEG from NC

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Most Recent Answer

By Linda 45 302 03/29/2015 Flag

Have children type activities...jump houses, etc. $5-10 a kid for all day jumping. Go fish for kids face painting, scavenger hunt, endless ideas for kids! Sell hot dogs/hamburgers inside or even a fish fry! Have crafts for sale also. Popcorn, cotton candy, cook books, just go with whatever your community might be interested in! God Bless!

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Question: Gypsy Witnessing Tent for Harvest Festival

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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Thrifty Fun has been around so long that many of our pages have been reset several times. Archives are older versions of the page and the comments that were provided then.

Archive: Harvest Festival Ideas

I need help planning a harvest festival for seniors 50+ in age. Our date for the harvest festival is November 9, 2006.

Nazie from Washington, DC


RE: Harvest Festival Ideas

I can only think of things that we have done for the kids, but the grown ups all had fun too. A hay ride, a fire for cooking smore's, decorate the area with pumpkins, squash, and colorful branches of leaves.

Will this be indoor or outdoor? I'll be thinking on it and see what I can come up with. (10/01/2006)

By trbrown22

RE: Harvest Festival Ideas

This has been done in the past or should I say they call it a festival. I'm new to this division and there idea of festival and mine are totally different. This event will be held inside and outside at one of our larger recreation center. I love the idea and if you have any more I would like to hear them (10/02/2006)

By Nazie from Washington, DC

RE: Harvest Festival Ideas

Harvest makes me think country for entertainment. You could have square dancing or maybe a folk band play. (10/06/2006)

By may-fairy

Archive: Harvest Festival Ideas

I'm planning a Fall Harvest Festival for my church (as an alternative to Halloween). HOWEVER, it will be at a nearby park and be OUTSIDE (after dark). Most of the ideas I have found so far involve indoor fun. Another challenge is that I have ALL ages - not just little ones. So I need games and contests and activities that would interest teens and adults.

Elizabeth from MD


RE: Harvest Festival Ideas

If there is a trail in the park you could have some of the people dress up from church and decorate around the trail. The night of the festival send a group of 3 kids on the trail at a time! I hope this helps! (10/12/2006)

By stacy

RE: Harvest Festival Ideas

Well for our Harvest Festival, they decorate with a lot of pumpkins and have like free carving lessons, bingo, mazes and other fun active things. I hope this helps you!

GothicMaiden (10/12/2006)

By GothicMaiden

RE: Harvest Festival Ideas

Will you have the area outside lighted?

Some ideas:

  • Costume Contest for each age bracket.
  • Cake Walk (have adults bring Halloween/fall decorated desserts to be won by the kids)
  • Bobbing for Apples
  • Do a lollipop tree - have the kids pick a lollipop and if it's marked on the bottom of the stick, they get a prize. Everyone gets to keep their lollipop no matter what.
  • If you have time, you can do a pumpkin decorating contest.
  • You can do a three-legged race with teams.
  • Maybe a scavenger hunt within the park to find certain things.
  • Set up stations for them to go trick-or-treating within the park.

Sorry I can't think of much. I've never attended one of these. Hope you are able to pull of a great evening for all the kids!

By ChristiansMom

RE: Harvest Festival Ideas

  • Autumn Obstacle course (run around hay bales, jump over pumpkins, string of apples to crawl underneath, pop a balloon)
  • Milk a cow
  • Stenciling
  • Butter churning
  • Amazing race (after finishing you will receive a paper to tell you where and what to do for the next task to win a prize at the end)
  • Baked Apples (cut out the core and put in brown sugar)
  • Carmel apples, candy apples
  • Make your own candy apple
  • Bobbing for apples (In a big bucket, children try to grab the apples only using their mouths)
  • Dress up in period clothing and have your picture taken as a family (or wood cut-outs)
  • Apple heads- put ears, nose, and eyes on an apple to create a face
  • Apple prints - use the apple to make shapes, then put paint on them and put on paper
  • Sack Races/ Three legged races
  • Autumn fall wreaths
  • Make a Weather Vane
  • Fishing Game
  • Activity to do with Maple syrup (Tapping syrup from a tree)
  • Apple pie or Watermelon eating contest (Police vs. Firemen)
  • Farmer's Market - biggest apple, corn, pumpkin, squash
  • Horseshoe Throwing Contest
  • Corn Roast
  • Log Cabin Milk Carton Craft
  • Hoop and Sticks: You have a hoop and a stick you hit the hop with the stick. The object of the game is to keep the hoop rolling.
  • Gold Panning: Have an area that is filled with small rocks and sand, children go and sift through the sand and rocks to find gold nuggets
  • Rope Cattle
  • Hay Maze for Kids
  • Stick Pull Game (Using a stick two people sit across from each other, grab hold of the stick, put their feet together and try and pull the other one towards them to win the game)
  • Needle in a haystack (not a needle but maybe candy or a large objects)
  • Pancake breakfast
  • Make your own candlesticks
  • Black smith to show how it was done in the olden days
  • Log Bird Houses
  • Guessing Game: How much harvest candy are in a jar
  • Pumpkin Bean Bag Toss
  • Lollipop tree - The kid gets to pick a lollipop from the tree and if there's mark on it, they win a prize
  • Make Jumbo smores

Hope this helps, and good luck. (08/16/2007)

By sophie

RE: Harvest Festival Ideas

We have lots of food at our church festival, there are different tables set up and different food at each. Whatever the persons specialty is; we have fried potatoes with peppers and onions, one who does deer steaks wrapped in bacon, (the men love these) baked sweet potatoes, sweet shoppe booth, funnel cakes, cotton candy, hot dogs, burritos, etc. etc. all this is made on site. (09/20/2007)

By Nette

RE: Harvest Festival Ideas

Pumpkin carving contest: take a pumpkin home from church and have a contest for the best pumpkin carving. Campfire with singing. Adult bell choir for fun at the campfire.

By Cheryl from Centerville Christian Fellowship

RE: Harvest Festival Ideas

Trunk or Treat is a fun event you can have in your church parking lot. Add some old fashioned games (believe it or not a cake walk is still great fun!). Invite church members to bring treats and the kids to come dressed in costume. Kids trick -or- treat at each car. The creative adults decorate their cars. Its fun, safe, enjoyment for all. (10/04/2007)

By d c n