Shades of Autumn

Here's a theme that couldn't be simpler. You can decorate just by walking in your backyard or through your local park with a stop at a local nursery...or you can let us help (and keep some of the decorations for next year—we won't tell!) These ideas work at home or for the office!

Fall Invitation
For quick and easy invitations purchase them at your local party or invitation store. Or choose a personalized fall invitation. There are several great styles to choose from.

You can make your own invitation with brown stationary or cardstock. Just print a few leaf silhouettes on the bottom, or embellish it with a little raffia to give it a fall flair.

Want to get the kids involved? Give them red, orange and yellow paper, and let them create fall leaves invitations. Write the party information on the back. Or they can do a leaf rubbing by placing a piece of paper over a leaf, turning a crayon on its side and gently rubbing over the paper. Add a few fall stickers to the outer envelope. Your guests will smile the minute they open these original invitations.

Fall Decorations and Party Supplies
Create a walkway with bales of hay stacked this way and that to make a path right to your door. Get a fall theme banner to greet everyone. If you have young children, you can let them decorate the door with cut-outs of pumpkins and leaves. Add real pumpkins with leaves underneath on your steps or on nearby ledges and rails. Nothing screams fall like pumpkins, autumn leaves and the crisp cold air that usually accompanies this time of year!

When your guests walk into the house, greet them with the beauty of autumns bounty:
  • Decorate with small pumpkins and gourds on your tables.
  • There are some great scene setters available that make creating a fall atmosphere easy, quick and inexpensive.
  • White pillar candles and votives, or even twinkle lights will give the room great ambiance.
  • Small metal pails are great for serving snacks (roasted pumpkin seeds and dried apple chips) while people are milling about before dinner.
  • Add in some fall leaves garland wherever you need a little more color.
Your party room will look a beautiful as the fall outdoors!

Fall Table Decorations and Menu
The dinner table is the fun part. I love making a table look like a feast is about to appear. I always set the table to the max. A charger (a large plate under the dinner plate), a dinner plate, a salad plate—stacked at each place on top of leaves that work as placemats. If you're using fall paper goods, use a real plate under the larger dinner plate for a finished look. Either on top of this setting or in the wine glass, display the napkin—either wrapped with leaf garland or doubled over and fluffed in the glass.

If there's room on the table for a centerpiece, use a straw cornucopia filled with leaves and autumn fruits and vegetables.   Scatter candles on the table, and set a personalized candy bar at each place as a favor.
 
Use mini-pumpkins as place cards for each guest, one at each place or on a table at the door with name and table number (if you have multiple tables).

Some people forget the buffet, and it's as important as your dinner table. A pair of autumn colored candles, pumpkins small and large, casserole dishes touched up with more leaf garland, all make for a finished look that pulls through the theme.

For your menu think hearty fall fare. Have roasted pumpkin seeds, pumpkin bread and pumpkin pie. Have an "apple tasting" contest allowing kids to try different breeds of apple slices such as Granny Smith, Fuji, Red Delicious and more. Check local farmer's markets for a grand selection of different apples. Other great snacks include candy or caramel apples, hot dogs or sausages (in celebration of Oktoberfest) and of course, apple pie or oatmeal cookies.

Fall Party Activities
Fun fall activities include having a hayride or even a bonfire (but not at the same time!) Here are a few fun fall party games to play as well:
  • Hot Apple - It's "Hot Potato" with an apple (or even a mini pumpkin)!
  • Bobbing for Apples - This easy fall favorite is a classic! Set up large tubs filled with water and apples. Players have to try to pick up an apple only using their teeth, no hands allowed! Use small apples for kids, and make it harder for adults by using large apples with the stems taken off.
  • Count the Corn - Fill a jar with candy corn and have guests guess how many are in the jar. An easy game for when guests are filtering in and milling around. the winner can receive the jar and a fun fall goodie bag!
Fall Party Favors
On top of the personalized candy bar, give each guest a tray of fall themes cookies to take home as a thank you, wrapped in a cellophane basket bag and tagged off with something cute (Don't "leaf" without your cookies!) or something warm and fuzzy (From our house to yours – Thanks for coming!).