The days are getting shorter, the leaves are showing off their stunning new colors, and that unmistakable, sweet smell of pumpkin spice is everywhere you go. Fall is here, and it’s definitely something to celebrate—with the perfect fall party idea.
A fall-themed party brings the beautiful images and spicy-sweet flavors of the season together. Whether you’re planning a very special birthday or celebrating your love of crunchy leaves, these fall party ideas, including fall-themed party foods, decor, and invitations, are guaranteed to make your guests fall in love with your event.
How do you host a fall party?
Before you break out the decorative gourds, take these steps to start planning your fall-themed party.
1. Pick a specific theme for your fall party
A theme informs every aspect of your party, from the food you serve to the wording of your invitations. Choosing a fall theme party idea adds a little something special to the celebrations and can make the festivities 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.
2. Decide on a dress code
Fall wardrobes run from cozy and comfy clothes to formal fall fashions. Help everyone on your guest list end up on the same page by choosing a dress code.
- 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 would be a better fit.
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 offer your guests 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, whether it’s in a cookie or glazed on a roast chicken. Mmmm.
- Apple: Apples are ripe for picking in September, making them a perfect fall food. They’re also 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, coffee beverages, cocktails, and pasta fillings. You can incorporate pumpkin in 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 cheese tarts.
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!—fall party invitations with one of the many templates available from Paperless Post.
5. Decorate for the season
Now that you have your theme, the party menu, and your guest list, it’s time to decorate for your fall party with:
- Fall leaves, either real or faux
- Colorful candles—think earthy tones like orange, brown, cream, and black
- Pumpkins in all shapes and sizes, including paper pumpkins
- Fall-themed tablecloths
- Streamers and garlands in fall-appropriate colors
Fall party themes to get the season in full swing
There’s no shortage of ways to make your fall-themed party the most memorable one yet. Throw on a sweater and snuggle up with these festive fall party themes for adults and kids.
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 backyard.
- 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 or with a projector and outdoor screen 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 jerseys 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 it.
- While the game goes on, offer water and warm treats that will keep everyone 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 a 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 at your fall themed party.
- Help your 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.
- Create a carving table outside with pumpkin placemats for each person.
- Bonus: 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.
- Pack a picnic with your friends and schedule a winery tasting.
- No winery nearby? Bring the vineyard home with a wine-tasting party.
- Decorate with artificial grape leaves and tapered candles in empty wine bottles for a sommelier-approved winery ambiance.
- Hand out wine tasting celebration crackers as a festive treat.
7. Watch an autumnal movie
When the nights get colder, sometimes nothing sounds better than curling 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.
- Turn your fall flick into a drinking game based on a recurring theme from the movie.
- Make a bingo board for certain plot points or dialogue on-screen, and award the winner with something sweet like a chocolate caramel popcorn ball or caramel 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.
- Get out a couple of barrels or trash cans 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.
- 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 contestant’s pie—and a full, happy tummy!
11. Fall wedding vow renewal or anniversary party
Whether you’re planning a fall wedding vow renewal or you’re celebrating a fall wedding from years before, autumn is a lovely time to celebrate love.
- Incorporate fall leaves into a bouquet or guest centerpieces.
- Renew your vows during sunset on a beautiful fall afternoon.
- Incorporate the drink and food ideas from some of the themes above to make it a true celebration of the season.
- Hand out wine bottle surprise ball favors so your guests can bring a bit of fall home too.
12. Caramel apple bar
Why bob for apples when you can smother them in caramel and eat them instead?
- Invite guests over to decorate caramel apples with chocolate chips, chopped nuts, sprinkles, or any other delicious detail.
- Hold a contest for guests to vote on the best apples—or the prettiest, or the yummiest.
- For extra fun, cut up apples and drizzle toppings over the plate for caramel apple nachos.
13. Petting zoo
Fall is the perfect time to visit a farm and bond with the animals. If you don’t live close to a farm, bring the farm to you with a petting zoo.
- Contact local petting zoos to see if you can rent ponies, goats, pigs, or any other kind of farm animal at your home—find a safe, grassy area to set up the petting zoo for guests to enjoy.
- Rent out the petting zoo location for a few hours so your friends, their kids, and your family can enjoy it all to yourselves.
- Bring some lettuce so the kids can feed the animals.
14. Scarecrow party
Crows won’t come within 10 miles of your fall party with this theme.
- Ask guests to bring old clothes they aren’t planning on wearing again.
- Have bales of hay ready at your party.
- Have guests make their own scarecrows, which they can use for fall decor at their homes.
15. Autumn wreath-making
Every door looks more festive with an autumn wreath full of the rich colors of fall.
- Buy wire wreath rings, fabric fall leaves, fake straw, and plastic pumpkins from a local craft store or Paperless Post Party Shop.
- Encourage guests to bring in additional materials or ideas for creative autumn wreaths to share.
Fall birthday party ideas
Libras, Scorpios, and Sagittariuses, this is your season to celebrate and shine. After choosing the right birthday invitations, check out these fall birthday party ideas that are sure to connect everyone in your constellation.
16. 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 featuring pizza, beer, and outdoor games like:
- Bocce ball
- Ring toss
17. Birthday bonfire
Gather in the backyard, or at 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.
- Serve hot dogs with all the fixings.
- 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.
- 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.
- Chunks of pineapple, apple, and pear get even sweeter and more delectable when they’re roasted on an open flame.
- 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.
18. 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, apple ciders, or hot chocolates.
19. Pick and sip at the apple orchard
Plan a trip to the nearest apple orchard for fresh air, crisp fruit, and endless 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.
- Take a basket of apples back home to make a sweet treat together like apple pie or tarts.
20. 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.
- Find a local Oktoberfest celebration and join in the fun with the community.
21. Breezy luau
Missing those warm summer nights already? Heat things up with an indoor luau-inspired birthday party.
- Tell guests to wear 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 channeling laid-back good times.
22. 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.
- Make it kid friendly—host at a park with a playground, and bring some outdoor games like cornhole or horseshoes.
- 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, host a donation party and have everyone gather old clothes or books, or organize a local creek clean-up with friends.
- Then treat yourselves to a delicious meal at your favorite restaurant.
24. Costume party
Since Halloween’s one of the biggest holidays this time of year, why not infuse your birthday celebrations with a little spookiness?
- Go formal with a masquerade party.
- Host a more casual get-together with a fun theme like “Heroes and Villains” or “Cartoon Favorites.”
25. Mix things up with a cocktail competition
Invite your friends to compete in a cocktail competition with you as the judge.
- Have guests 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-themed corporate event ideas
Whether you work in a corporate office or an elementary school, celebrating fall can make those shorter days feel full of fun. Use these fall party ideas for anything from full office events to tiny autumnal details during the day.
26. A workplace autumn forest
Set up a workplace event to show appreciation to employees by creating an autumn forest setting in the office.
- Set up a forest-like atmosphere with in red, orange, and autumn leaves. Decorate an office hallway with lots of fabric or painted leaves to bring the colorful foliage inside to your coworkers.
- Have employees create their own leaves and add to the decor.
- Set out forest treats like apples, berries, nuts, and cheese.
- Thank employees for their hard work so far this year with awards or a speech.
27. Simmer some cinnamon for a scented happy hour
There’s no official smell of fall, but a fall simmer pot of cinnamon, pumpkin, nutmeg, and apple will do until one comes along.
- Set up a crock pot in the staff room, set on low, and enjoy the warm scents wafting through the office.
- At the end of the day, pour some cider into the crockpot and invite everyone to have a warm happy-hour drink.
28. Fall harvest cook-off
Do you and your coworkers have backyard fruit trees and vegetable gardens? Share the fall harvest by bringing in extra apples, tomatoes, corn, peppers, and anything else that’s falling off the branches.
- Set up rules around the cook-off—is it savory, sweet, or both?
- Let competitors know if they’re sharing the ingredients or if they have to use their own.
- Provide festive fall plates and cups to add to the theme.
- Invite the rest of the office to judge blindly and award the winner with a fall-themed prize.
29. Apple pie contest
Mary in accounting swears she makes the best apple pie—but does she really?
- Encourage coworkers to bake their best pies—other flavors allowed, too.
- Bring them in for a lunch-hour vote.
- Then serve them up and enjoy!
30. Paper-bag pumpkin carving party
Carving pumpkins is a little too messy for an office setting. That doesn’t mean you have to skip the decorations, though.
- Let coworkers and employees bring their kids to an office “carving” party.
- Set up a station in the break room where colleagues can decorate orange paper bags and set them aglow with electric candles.
Fall invitation template wording
Fall invitation template wording
Fall party invitations are the cherry on top of any fall soirée. Whatever the theme of your next party, we have a Card or Flyer that will have your guests falling over themselves to get to your door.
Send one of these fall-themed online invitations when planning your next gathering. Like all Paperless Post invitations, these invites can be customized with elegant Page Styles, themed stamps and backdrops to add to the festive vibe, and the ability to send the invitations via text message or link in case you don’t have everyone’s email address.
An apple a day
Invite your core group of friends to an apple-picking party with the “Apple in Season” invitation.
LET’S GO APPLE PICKING!
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 28TH
11AM TO 3PM
HARBES FARM, LONG ISLAND
PACK YOUR OWN LUNCH
Bring your friends over for a night of fall flavor with the “Cozy Glass” Flyer.
Come over, drink cider
Come by my cozy abode for some
catching up, cider, cinnamon sticks, apples, and candles
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 16
5:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Let your friends know what and when to expect at your game day celebration with the “Football and Beer” invitation and casual wording.
Please join Tami and Eric for ribs, wings & football.
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 3RD, 6PM
123 CHANDLER DRIVE
Mellow & mull
Want to throw a slow fall cocktail party? Use the “Garden Spells” invitation to gently summon your fellow chillers.
Martha and George
Invite you to indulge and imbibe
with new and old friends
SATURDAY, JUNE 2ND
A fall fête
Invite your guests with a card as fresh as the fall air. Use the “Rake It In” Card template for your next get-together.
Please join us
For a FALL FÊTE
Saturday, October 6th
Fall into autumn with Paperless Post
No matter what kind of fall party you want to throw, the people you love really make it special. Whether you’re planning a flag football fest or a birthday bonfire, your nearest and dearest will bring joy, laughter, and 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!
Hero image via Adobe Stock.