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] 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 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 10/11/2010

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. 09/17/2013

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.orientaltrading.com/foam ... 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 06/13/2010

I got this idea from an ebook on Fall Carnivals I found at www.volunteerspot.com/ebooks. 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] 09/21/2007

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] 03/29/2015

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: Planning a Harvest Festival For a Church

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

RE: Planning a Harvest Festival For a Church

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)

By Tripleb

RE: Planning a Harvest Festival For a Church

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)

By cookwie

RE: Planning a Harvest Festival For a Church

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)

By angalmond

RE: Planning a Harvest Festival For a Church

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

RE: Planning a Harvest Festival For a Church

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)

By Tedebear

RE: Planning a Harvest Festival For a Church

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)

By Nancy

RE: Planning a Harvest Festival For a Church

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)

By gloria

RE: Planning a Harvest Festival For a Church

why not focus on fall harvest foods? bobbing for apples, apple pie eating contest, making homade applesauce, ect. Josie, PA (10/02/2005)

By Josie,PA

New ideas

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)

By Amanda