The days are getting shorter, the leaves are showing off their stunning new colors, and that unmistakable, sweet smell of pumpkin spice is, once again, everywhere you go. That’s right—fall is here, and it’s definitely something to celebrate.
If you’re interested in throwing a party that takes advantage of this beautiful season—and really, why wouldn’t you be?—you might be wondering about themed party ideas and fall party decor. Whether you’re planning a very special birthday or celebrating your love of crunchy leaves, we’ll help you discover fall party ideas you’re guaranteed to fall in love with. (See what we did there?)
Read on for a cornucopia of ideas and fall party themes for your next autumn shindig.
How do you host a fall party?
“Pressed Oak” by Paperless Post
Before you break out the decorative gourds, you should familiarize yourself with the best way to start planning your fall-themed party. It’s as easy as following these five simple steps.
Step 1: Pick a theme for your fall party
This one’s a biggie. A theme can inform every aspect of your party, from the foods you serve to the wording of your invitations. Choosing a theme for your fall party also adds a little something special to the celebrations and can make the festivities all the more memorable. Plus, it can help you stay on track while you’re planning the party itself. (Don’t worry, we’ll help you with the themes in just a bit).
Step 2: Decide on a dress code
Fall wardrobes run the gamut from cozy and comfy clothes to formal fall fashions. Help everyone on your guest list be on the same page by choosing a dress code.
The most important thing you’ll want to take into consideration is where you’ll be and what you’ll be doing. If you’re sifting through outdoor party ideas, advise your guests to don their coziest autumn clothes—especially if you’re planning an event like apple picking. If you’re thinking of throwing a sophisticated indoor event like a masquerade ball, then formalwear might be a better fit.
Step 3: Design your fall party menu
No party is complete without something to eat. Whether you’re planning a potluck meal or an array of fancy hor d’oeuvres, you can indulge your guests in the season’s most inviting foods with a well-planned menu. Some popular flavors for fall parties include:
— Maple: It’s difficult to picture fall without the gorgeous colors of maple leaves—or the delicious taste of maple syrup. Maple syrup is a must on fall menus, whether it’s made into a delicious cookie or glazed on a roast chicken. Mmmm.
— Apple: Apples are ripe for picking in September, making them a perfect fall food. Apples are versatile fruits and can complement just about everything. Slice up apples to go with a generous cheese plate, serve mulled apple cider with orange slices and brandy, make pork chops with an apple compote, or bake a fresh apple pie for your guests to enjoy.
— Pumpkin: As soon as the weather starts getting colder, pumpkins become the go-to choice for desserts, and coffee beverages, cocktails, and pasta fillings. You can incorporate pumpkin through treats like pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, pumpkin cheesecake, and of course, pumpkin pies. Pumpkin can also be served in savory dishes like mac and cheese, curries, and cheesy tarts.
Step 4: Guestlist and invitations
Once you’ve settled on a theme for your party, put together a list of all the guests so that no one gets left out of your autumnal extravaganza. Then choose, customize, and send out beautiful (or cheeky!) event-appropriate fall party invitations easily with one of the many fall party invitation templates available from Paperless Post.
Step 5: Decorate
Once you’ve picked your theme, decided on the food, and invited your nearest and dearest, it’s time to decorate. Deck out your party space in fall decor like:
— Fall leaves, either real or faux
— Colorful candles—think earthy tones like orange, brown, cream, and black
— Pumpkins in all shapes and sizes
— Fall-themed table cloths
— Streamers in fall-appropriate colors
10 fall party themes to get the season in full swing
“Cider Season” Flyer
There’s no shortage of ways to make your fall theme party the most memorable one yet. Throw on a sweater and snuggle up with these festive party ideas.
1. Fall happy hour
Host a beer or cider-themed happy hour that features the tastes of fall. Head to your local specialty beer shop or brewery and select a wide variety of fall flavor-infused adult beverages for your guests to sample and share. Purchase tasting glasses to serve the different beers to your guests. Compare notes and find the party favorite.
2. Tailgate in the yard
You don’t need tickets to the big game to get your tailgate on. Kick off the football season with a tailgate party from the comfort of your own home. Make a buffet of football favorites, or invite your friends to pitch in, potluck-style. Want to stay outside? Play the game from your car radio and break out the barbecue in your driveway.
3. Flag football
Host a sporting event of your own with a flag football party. Divvy up your guests into teams ahead of time, and encourage everyone to come up with goofy team names. Provide colorful pinnies to divide the teams and help your guests get into the competitive spirit—or ask the two “teams” to pick a color to come dressed in.
While the game goes on, be sure to offer water and warm treats that will keep feeling amped, on and off the field. Don’t forget to offer a prize to the winning team—it can be anything from a custom trophy to picking a silly dare for the losing team to do.
Take a break from your everyday surroundings—and screens—to hike a nearby trail with friends. When you reach the peak (or finish the loop!), celebrate with a refreshing beverage like spiced or spiked cider and a picnic lunch. Bring along an instant camera to capture the colors of the scenery and any picture-perfect moments with your guests.
5. Pumpkin carving
Break out your tea lights, favorite carving implements, and artistic capabilities for some good, old-fashioned pumpkin carving. Help your less creatively-minded buds get inspired with some pre-printed carving templates. Set the party for early afternoon so that by the time it gets dark, your guests can enjoy their works of art lit up in the autumn evening. Bonus: you can save the “pumpkin guts” for a pumpkin pie puree or homemade facemask, and roast the seeds for a crunchy, seasonal snack.
6. Celebrate wine season
Maple leaves aren’t the only foliage known for their fall beauty. At this time of year, grape leaves are also changing colors, making autumn the perfect time for a trip to your nearest vineyard. Your new favorite party vino is just waiting to be discovered, described, and downed—so pack a picnic with your friends and schedule a winery tasting, STAT.
No winery nearby? Bring the vineyard to your home with a wine-tasting party. Decorate with artificial grape leaves and tapered candles in empty wine bottles for a sommelier-approved winery ambiance.
7. Watch an autumnal movie
When the nights get colder, sometimes nothing sounds better than cuddling up with a good movie. Host a fall movie night for all of your guests to enjoy. Put on your favorite scary movie, or warm your heart with a Practical Magic watch party.
Want to make things a little more interactive? Turn your fall flick into a drinking game based on a recurring theme from the movie. Or, make a bingo board for certain plot points or dialogue on-screen. Award the bingo-winner with something sweet like a chocolate caramel popcorn ball or candied apple.
8. Corn-husking challenge
If you love being competitive, cooking, and working with your hands, a corn husking party might be the way to go. It’s a simple concept: Get out a couple of barrels and a heap of corn. Pair up in teams to see who can husk their stacks of corn the fastest. When you’re finished, wash the kernels and make corn salad, grilled corn, cornbread, or corn crab cakes.
9. Paint and drink
For a classy afternoon hang, gather your people in a scenic outdoor area with pencils, paper, paintbrushes, and canvas. It’s up to you whether you want to capture the autumnal landscape before you, or collect some stunning leaves from the yard to trace, sketch, and color. Add wine for a truly artistic experience.
10. Host a bake-off party
Bring out the sweet and salty sides of your friend group with a baking competition. You can either choose to bake the same pie or dessert or let everyone pick for themselves. When it’s all over, everyone goes home with a slice of each contestants’ pie—and a full, happy tummy, to boot!
10 fall birthday party ideas
“Life Is Sweet” by Paperless Post
Libras, Scorpios, and Sagittariuses, this is your season to celebrate and shine. Need help making your special day sparkle? Here are 10 fall birthday party ideas that are sure to connect everyone in your constellation.
1. Backyard birthday toast
Sometimes there’s nothing better than enjoying the crisp weather with a drink in your hand and friends by your side. Have friends stop by your patio or backyard for a classic party situation featuring pizza, beer, and outdoor games like:
— Bocce ball
— Ring toss
— Horse shoes
2. Birthday bonfire
Gather in the backyard or the beach (if it’s still warm enough) for a night of celebration underneath the autumn stars. Buy some roasting sticks or find some long, skinny branches and offer your guests snacks to cook over an open-flame fire, including:
— Hot dogs: A classic bonfire food best served with mustard, relish, ketchup (depending on where you’re from!), and buns. To really make the night special, cook a big pot of chili for your guests to eat on its own or to turn their franks into chili dogs.
— Bacon: Skewer strips of bacon on a roasting stick and serve on toasted slices of artisanal bread for a smoky sandwich your guests will gobble up.
— Fruit: Chunks of pineapple, apple, and pear get even sweeter and more delectable when they’re roasted on an open flame.
— Veggies: It’s hard to beat the taste of roasted vegetables in the fall. Offer your guests some sliced zucchinis and squash to cook over the bonfire.
— Marshmallows: Marshmallows are a bonfire essential. Serve alongside graham crackers and chocolate so your guests will have everything they need to make delicious s’mores. You can also remix the classic s’more by offering fixings like fruit preserves, pretzels, and peanut butter.
3. Race through a corn maze
Corn mazes are like giant fall-themed puzzles that are always fun (and occasionally a bit scary), no matter what age you’re turning. Find a local corn maze near you and plan a day-long outing with your friends. Split up into small teams and see who can make their way out first. Toast to the winners over a round of pumpkin beers or apple ciders.
4. Pick and sip at the apple orchard
Plan a trip to the nearest apple orchard for fresh air, crisp fruit, and endless, picturesque rows of apple trees. See if your local orchard offers cider tastings or tours of the cider-making process to make the day even more special. Then, take a basket of apples back home to make a sweet treat together like apple pie or tarts.
5. Prost to fall
Invite your hop-loving friends to celebrate Oktoberfest (and your birthday) with a German bar crawl or an afternoon in a biergarten. Plan a menu of German staples, such as potato salad, schnitzel, sausage, and German chocolate (birthday!) cake.
6. Breezy luau
Missing those warm summer nights already? Heat things up with an indoor Hawaiian luau-inspired birthday party. Dress code: floral prints, bright colors, cut-off shorts, and flip-flops. Go all out with a lei-making station using real flowers for your pals to take home as a party favor. Find more luau party ideas for a ‘hula’ good time.
7. Picnic in the park
Celebrate your big day with everything the fall season has to offer by planning your birthday in the park. Pack a basket with an assortment of fruits, cheeses, cured meats, and some delicious local bread. Pair with a bottle of wine, some blankets for sitting and bundling, and a portable speaker for a fun and relaxed fall celebration. Bonus if you can get all your buds to don coordinated flannel shirts.
Celebrate your special day in the most selfless way by giving back to your community and getting others involved, too. Serve at your local soup kitchen, head to the animal shelter to walk dogs, or organize a local creek clean-up with friends. Afterward, treat yourselves to a delicious meal at your favorite restaurant.
9. Costume party
Since Halloween’s one of the biggest holidays this time of year, why not infuse your birthday celebrations with a little spookiness? You can go formal with a masquerade party, or a bit more casual with a fun dress-up theme like “Heroes and Villains” or “Cartoon Favorites.”
10. Mix things up with a cocktail competition
Invite your friends to compete in a cocktail competition with you as the judge. The goal? To create your new favorite fall mixed drink—as well as a catchy name inspired by your favorite memories together. Even if they don’t invent the next Negroni, you’ll still have a ton of fun.
Fall invitation template wording
“Football and Beer” by Paperless Post
Fall invitations or fall party invitations are the cherry on top of any fall soiree. Whatever the theme of your next party, we have a card that will have your guests falling over themselves to get to your door. Check out these fall-themed online invitations when planning your next gathering.
— An Apple a Day…Means It’s Fall! – Invite your core group of friends to an apple-picking party with this sweet invitation:
APPLE – PICKING!
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 28TH
11AM TO 3PM
HARBES FARM, LONG ISLAND
PACK YOUR OWN LUNCH
— It’s Sipping Season – Invite your friends over for a night of fall flavor with this invitation:
COZY GIRL FALL
COME OVER, DRINK CIDER
Happy fall! As many of you know, I’m obsessed. Come by my cozy abode for some catching up. I’ll have lots of cider, cinnamon sticks, apples, and candles… because I have a problem.
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 16, 2019
5:00 AM – 8:00 PM
345 WOOSTER ST.
NEW YORK, NY 10012
— Fall Blitz – Let your friends know what and when to expect the next game day celebration with this wording:
PLEASE JOIN TAMI AND ERIC
FOR RIBS, WINGS & FOOTBALL
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 3RD, 6PM
2 CHANDLER DRIVE, DILLON
— Mellow & Mull – Want to throw a slow, fall cocktail party? Use this invitation to gently summon your fellow chillers.
MARTHA AND GEORGE
INVITE YOU TO INDULGE
with new and old friends
SATURDAY, JUNE 2ND
916 OLD TAYLOR ROAD
— Join Us in Celebrating the Changing of the Seasons – Invite your guests with a card as fresh as the fall air. Use this template for your next get-together.
PLEASE JOIN US
FOR A FALL FÊTE
Saturday, October 6th
32 Septimus Street
CLARISSA and RICHARD
Let Paperless Post help you celebrate the season
No matter what kind of fall party you want to throw, there’s one thing that will always make it special: the people you love. Whether you’re planning a flag football fest or a birthday bonfire, your nearest and dearest will bring the joy, the laughter, and the moments you’ll remember forever. That’s why your invitation should always feel as special as the person you’re sending it to.
For fall-themed invitations that your guests will love, look no further than Paperless Post. Unique, beautiful, and practical, Paperless Post’s selection of online fall invitations is perfect for every fall celebration. RSVP “Yes” to beautiful invitations with Paperless Post!