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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.
Here are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community.
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).
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.
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.
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: www.orientaltrading.com/
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.
You can have you hubby or someone make a big pumpkin out of wood paint it cut the eyes and nose and mouth out and buy lil mini pumpkins. Number them with a black magic marker and that would be the number points do lil prizes or trinkets for a certain score bob for apples. Do pumpkin cookie decorating have frosting and colored black and orange sprinkles mand ms and such. Make foam pic frames dollar stores have foam and the lil sticky Halloween themed ones to stick on!
Fill jars with candy corns. Do a guessing game paint pumpkins - lil mini ones are so cheap, sometimes like 5 for a buck or if you have a large group event you might get a better price! Make black and orange beaded bracelets or necklaces.
I could go on and on. I teach preschool so I always have ideas!
I forgot to add pumpkin bowling is fun too!
my 4yr grandsons school had a carnival the other day at his preschool and the events were for pre up to like 4 th grade. maybe these game ideas idea they had will help.
* they had like 6 plastic sticks in the ground side 2 side in sets of 2 each lined up beside each other in vertical lines each one had a flag paper taped to it with a number for points like 5/10/15/20 etc and then each child got to throw 3 hoops onto the sticks seeing which points the could ring.
* teams of 2 kids tossed back and forth tiny cheap thin ballons filled with very little water back and forth to eachother, as long as no balloon busted they remain in the game but if one busted then that team loooses.
* bean bag toss" they had frames about 16X20 and had about 6 holes in it the size of an orange each hole had points and they tossed tiny bean bags inside. they each got 3 bags to try
* game called green light red light( the kids line up horizontally and an adult is the light with his hand held up and when he says green the kids continue to go at a fast pace walk when he says red they are to stop, the first person the Hi-% his hand is the winner to the light.
* duck duck goose (i'm sure you know that one)
* also sack races (they just took white old pillow cases and decorated with markers USE YOUR FALL THEME and draw on leaves pumpkins etc. Have about 4-6 kids race at the call of GO! First person across the paper streamer line wins!
They did this in groups of ages and each event was spaced out so far apart. When all events were done each child got a little gift toy approipriate to there age wheter they won or not.
** And face painting is always a big hit too! Just sit up 2 chairs facing eachother for the painter and the reciever use simple non toxic acyrlic paints (in walmart 44cent each) just put out a little dollip of each color into an empty egg carton and add a dot of water to each use a simple liner brush (walnart pack is $1 or less) print you off like 6-8 basic shapes from your art program or get from a coloring book things like butterfly, lady bug, pumpkin, leaf, smilie face etc. and keep that paper near you so you look at it and then draw it onto there upper cheek and then just fill in the color. Let them pick which design they want.
*** fish pond > in a corner some where hang up an old sheet behind it put a shallow box of little toys that hang well and are light in weight. Adult sits back there and the kids on the front side with a long slim wooden dowel rod (walmart 60 cent) tie a string to it and when they hang it over give it a tug then use a clothes pin to attach the toy say you got something then tug it so they can bring it back over
***candy walk> just like musical chairs but you start with about 6 chairs 7 people each time the person left standing is out remove a chair until your are down to 1 chair 2 people the person left sitting wins something big like a cupcake or toy the others get a small treat or just do it for fun no give outs. You can make your own ribbon to for this game 1st place 2bd place 3rd place by making them from contruction paper. The last 3 down to one get ribbons the last one sitting gets the blue ribbon
I was a church minister at one time for family life and hosted a Halloween like festival. I have to tell you, one of the most popular events was a Nerf challenge! I bought two harmless nerf guns and every kid in the place wanted a chance to challenge the best nerf shot. Two kids had to sit in a rolling office chair and the first one to shoot the other was the winner of that challenge. This was some years back when every kid played innocently with their six shooters.
The best cowboy or cowgirl won a great prize and bragging rights. Believe me, every kid there is going to want to play this LIVE gaming situation. Now they even sell the set with a battery operated target that goes off when hit. Which ever way you do it, they love to challenge each other. Lots of fun!
Go to a local Lowes, or home depot and get scrap wood. Have them cut a variety of sizes kids can hold in there hand. Buy orange, white, yellow paint from a teachers store or Michael's, something that will wash up. get old sponges and rags attach them to a clothes pin. Have the kids paint a pumpkin. they have something to take home. Give a ribbon for most original, cutest, most colorful etc. Make sure to get old button down shirts and put them backwards on the kids to avoid a mess.
Have a scare crow making contest. gather everything needed put in large garbage bags. according to ages have team see who can put a scarecrow together the fastest.
Collect leaves, acorns, sunflower seeds, fall flowers etc. give each kid a paperplate or foam meat tray have them design a fall scene or centerpiece.
Decorate baby gourds
Have a hay ride or a corn maze
Someone mentioned a pumpkin bean bag toss above. Here's a similar idea.
Have someone (or yourself) cut a large turkey shape from plywood. Paint to look like a turkey, with bright colors, especially on the feathers. Use extra plywood to build a simple support, attach to the back.
Have smaller holes cut in the end of the feathers, in the hat, and a couple in tummy area. Have the kids throw bean bags through the holes to earn points.
Prizes/trinkets can be sorted from high to low, and awarded, depending on the points won.
This game can be made/saved to use year after year.
My children's Montessori School has a Fall Festival each year for children from toddlers through age 12 or so. The parents of each of our twelve classes are responsible for organizing, funding, and manning the activity or "booth" during the fair. Many classes repeat the same activity year after year because the children love seeing them. They remember how much they enjoyed it the previous year. I say this because, if you do take on this task again next year, you do not need to come up with all new ideas.
The booths that I can remember from previous years are:
Toddlers: Bubble blowing-gather different types of wands, large and small and lots of bubble mix and let the fun begin. Another big hit or the youngest children is to ask parents to bring some of their childrens toddler toys, like blocks (the big cardboard ones are great for this) shape sorters, ball pounders, simple wooden puzzles and just sperad them out on some blankets. Parents should be sure to mark their items on the bottom to ensure their safe return.
For slightly older children:
One class asked parents to bring in rhythm instruments from home for children to explore. Families brought all different types of drum, and maracas, and triangles, and bells. This is a big hit with all ages, especially Dads. Again, instruments should be labeled.
This year one class is planting seeds in little soil filled cups. Another class is having children decorate their own reusable bags to promote reduce/reuse/recycling.
Another class has face painting, an oldie, but a goodie. And another has bean bag toss, another great one.
Our older classes run two moonwalks, which the parents chip in to rent for the afternoon.
Hope this helps!
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The following is a fun and inexpensive game. This is a game that is a success for children and adults. It is a dress up race. The object of the game is to see whom gets dressed up first. Fill up two bags with clothing and accessories like; a hat, a pair of gloves, long sleeve button down shirt, spandex or draw string shorts, footsies (hospital scrubs), sunglasses etc, all found in your home. Make sure that both bags have the same amount and the same articles in each bag. They do not have to be the exact color or pattern but size should be the same. I use my husband’s shirt and my older sons shorts that allows all ages to play. One-size stretch gloves and any cap or hat. The craziest colors or articles the funnier. Use your own discretion in what articles to put in the bag. Pick two people to play, explain to them the rules of the game. Don't give them the bags before this will make them anxious. You then count one, two, three, throw them the bags and the race begins. The first one to finish buttoning the shirt and putting on all the articles on IS THE WINNER. The order they dress up does not matter. Hope you have lots of fun.
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 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.
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.
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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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 cheesy. 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.
This is going to be the first year our church has a harvest party, we have got a lot of our ideas from fishers of kids. But another idea is to get paper sacks and have the kids make leaf cutouts to decorate them with. So they can put their candy or prizes in. (10/07/2006)
Our church does a festival each year also. One of the things the kids love is to do bobbing for apples. I take a big tub and fill it full of water and put some apples in it. They love it. We also do a hayride and an eating contest. We take about 6 volunteers. Last year it was hot dogs, the year before it was pie, and we have also done marshmallows. They also like throwing darts at balloons that are thumbtacked onto a board. Hope this helps. (10/09/2006)
Well you could plan something simple but fun games. Bobbing for apples, ping pong toss, hay maze, pet barn, jumpy house, bible verse prison, bean bag toss, fishing for gummy worms, chicken toss, tons of fun (10/19/2006)
Each year I organize a fall festival at my church for my Sunday School kids. This year we've decorated the fellowship hall with streamer, balloons, and lanterns made from construction paper as centerpieces in fall colors. We have a biblical scavenger hunt, gummy worm eating contest, and our famous balloon dare. Thats when you play a quick game (like rock, paper, scissors or duck duck goose) and the loser has to pick and pop a balloon from the bag and perform the dare. It is so much fun! God Bless.
PS: My pastor told me that its important when throwing these a "festivals" as alternatives to Halloween, its really important to let the kids know ahead of time why we do things differently. (10/31/2006)
Hello! I have planned a Harvest Festival for my church for several. I can't begin to put it all in here. I have several web sites that can help though. If anyone else here is interested, I'd like to do an email loop, and maybe we can help each other. I did see a few games on here we have never done before, and hopefully I can help someone else. Are you having a Harvest Fest or a carnival? There is a difference. My email is Candi1990 AT aol.com. I am interested in swapping ideas with anyone, so please email me and we can get a loop going, to hopefully help each other. (09/24/2007)
Every year we have people donate baked good for a cake walk! We also rent bounce houses, they go over very well with the kids. We have a coloring contest this is very accommodating to our budget and the kids love it! Lawn bowling is also fun when you use a pumpkin in place of a ball be sure to have extras in case they break. We are going to have a bead booth where we make bead bracelets using the colors from the word list book! Black represents sin, white represents the holly light of Jesus, red for the blood and so on! I hope you got some fun ideas, I know reading the other comments I will definitely use some of those!
God bless you all,
We give bags w/tickets & church info- the maze (boxes taped together); pumpkin beanbag toss (wood pumpkin with cutout on eyes,nose & mouth); Goliath toss, 6' tall wood cutout man in armor w/Velcro strips (put Velcro on ping pong balls & toss at Goliath; cake walk; treasure chest (filled w/easter eggs & foam peanuts w/ # of prize in egg); fishpond (large piece of wood w/drawing of underwater) throw fishing rod line over the top & someone clips prize; lollipop tree (all sizes small to huge on wooded tree w/ # on racks) kids pick ping pong ball w/ # & thats the candy they get; skate boarding contest; video wall (car game on projector thrown on big size wall). Plan to add game for adults - General Store, asking church members to make cookies, put 3 to 4 in bag w/ recipe & bible verse, also have some small items at the store; kids get 20 tickets/adults 5; we also give out door prizes from community (burger places, bowling, Christian store, etc...) (09/27/2007)
I have had harvest party carnival events at my home for the past 4-5 yrs, and each year I have more kids & of course my kids are getting older, I also need to find a way to either make straw bales or buy them for sitting and game events, also we do potato sack races, relay races, like corn husking and eggs on spoon (fake eater egg plastic), gummy worm find pudding contest, bean bag toss games, candy land, twister, a movie and popcorn, a lollipop tree and ducky pond, etc.
I need to find a way to make straw bales because can't seem to buy them already made, or if can find someone that knows where to get some already made, thanks. Also most prizes I give out are in grab bags. Prizes they don't know till after and opened, I categorize them by age etc, and I also have fake or real pile of leaves with candy and prizes they have to find towards the end of the night to take home with them and I make a dinner like beef stew, pumpkin soup, MAC & CHEESE and veggies etc.
We try obstacle courses and basketball games as well, we have a glow in the dark basketball, also for the adults I do a bingo game and raffle or door prizes as well, to keep adults entertained as well, hope this helps and hope I can get more ideas and help too. (09/29/2007)
Our church has a Harvest Festival every year out in the country. The children do dress up, but only as Bible characters or cute costumes. Different members of the church decorate their cars in fall themes and open their trunks with candy inside. We go "Trunk-or-Treating from car to car.
We get the adults involved by having a contest for whatever we're serving for dinner that year, for example, last year was a chili cook-off. (10/17/2007)
This was our 16th year holding Harvest Celebration. We have over 60 different games and activities. Our large draw is "The Ark" in which children and their chaperons are told a Bible story. We hold it on October 31st each year and everything is free - including the shaved ice, popcorn and cotton candy. We run an extremely tight budget (under $1500). awanababe@ sbcglobal. net I'm more than happy to share our plans if anyone is interested. (11/08/2007)
We do a fall festival each year in our small town. Our church is small with very few kids, so ours is geared toward the town kids coming by while they are out "trick or treating". We give away goody bags with a new testament, a tract, or one of those new "cross" tracts that fold and open all different ways. We put in little novelty toys, also, some Christian, some regular but not Halloween. We have lots of games, cupcake walk, Bean bag toss, Candle shoot out (shoot candles with squirt guns). We also do a "guess the jar" where you guess how much candy is in the jar. Closest one wins the jar of candy. But we count it the next day, so we have them fill out cards with address & phone no. so we have them for follow-up, later. We also do a drawing where we give away special prizes if your name is called.
We do face-painting, and give away balloons with our church name on it and "shining god's light" with a lighthouse. We give away "glow sticks". It makes the kids easier to see going down the road in the dark. Plus our theme was "jesus is the light" when we first started, so anything we could do with light seemed like a good idea. We decorate with fall stuff like pumpkins and hay bales and fall flowers. We also have a hay ride some years. Blow up bouncy things are fun.
We use 10 x 10 tents for the booths, they look nice. We give away about 90 bibles a year in the bags. We also do a mass mail-out ahead, to advertise. About 1700 mail boxes. (01/04/2008)
There is a great site I just found that has lots of ideas for carnival/festival events.
www.carnivalsavers.com- Just click on the FREE Ideas from the list on the left (08/20/2008)
We started this at our Church last year and because it was inside, we tried not to have it so messy. You can borrow decorations from people in the church so it is not so expensive, and we asked for donations from everyone, whether it was candy or money to give out a treat at each game per child. We had an apple toss, tossed stuffed pumpkins into a tall cutout box with three pumpkins on it and their mouths were the holes. We had fishing using magnets and paper fish with paper clips behind a sheet, Face painting, balloon animals, a cake walk with cakes donated, decorating a cookie, and when everyone arrived they got to decorate a paper bag to collect their treats.
It turned out great and the kids all did the games several times over! (09/23/2008)
Does anyone have any ideas for a fall festival for about 30 kids in our children's church ministry? I want this to be special because this will be our first one.
I need ideas for an indoor church harvest festival. It is for children, ages 4-12.
How do you plan a church youth harvest festival?