7 Fall Outdoor Party Ideas

fall outdoor party ideas

Outdoor Party Tips for This Fall Season

As the nights grow longer, the air crisper and the backyards cozier, an autumnal gathering is just what you need to welcome the coming holiday season. The cooler weather doesn’t mean you can’t throw an outdoor fall party to celebrate the harvest energy of the season while surrounded by nature. Follow these seven fall outdoor party ideas for warming up your outdoor space and throwing a successful afternoon of autumnal enjoyment. Gather all your favorite fall party food recipes and deck out your outdoor entertaining area with tones of orange, reds and yellows, inviting the neighborhood to cherish your warm company.

Choose a Fall Party Theme

fall outdoor party ideas - wine tasting

Designing your décor, food and activities around an outdoor fall party theme helps guests know what to expect, what to bring and how to dress. A few themed fall outdoor party ideas include:

  • Oktoberfest: Gather all your local and German-styled beers with traditional Oktoberfest snacks like warm soft pretzels, sausage and sauerkraut.
  • Fall Wine Tasting Party: The chilly weather makes for an ideal time to sip a few new wines and set up an autumnal wine tasting area with small bites and fine cheeses.
  • Pumpkin Harvest: In true autumn fashion, celebrate all things pumpkin with a carving party just before Halloween. Decorate with gourds and mini-pumpkins while setting up activity stations for the kids to paint or carve jack-o-lanterns.
  • Football: Just before a big game, create an indoor/outdoor party with barbecued tailgate snacks, your favorite beers, and the colors of your favorite team.

Break Out the Autumn Party Décor

fall outdoor party ideas - autumn party decor

No matter your theme, deck out your space with the richest colors and textures of the season. Begin by designating clear places to sit, tables for placing and displaying food and open areas for everyone to gather and wander with ease. Setting up these designated areas helps everyone flow with ease and they catch up and enjoy the party.

Create an eye-catching fall centerpiece on your largest outdoor dining set and smaller centerpieces in the same theme throughout the space.

Some options for designing a successful fall centerpiece include:

  • Light it Up: Incorporate lanterns or pillar candles into your design surrounded by gourds, pinecones and other natural pieces.
  • Paint your pumpkins: By painting small pumpkins white or grey, they will naturally pop out alongside the rich reds and browns of the surrounding foliage.
  • Mason Jars: Fill mason jars with colorful bundles of acorns or plaid ribbon to create a collection of fall décor. Surround the jars with small bundles of autumnal branches and tea light candles for an extra glow.

Plan Your Fall Food Display

fall outdoor party ideas - fall food display

Food placement at any gathering makes all the difference. The right setup means people can flow from table to table with ease, never feeling the need to block an important serving area or wait too long to fill their plate.

To properly spread out your fall party food display, work on multiple surfaces. Designate one main area for entrees, such as on your outdoor dining set, and place the silverware, plates and cups close by. Spread out snacks and small plates at satellite tables throughout the patio or yard, especially close by pockets of seating. Be sure that the traffic flow from the kitchen does not interrupt the crowd gathering around your food spread.

Add a Personal Fall Touch

fall outdoor party ideas - fall decor ideas

Depending on what you’re celebrating, finish off your fall party design with some personal touches just for you and your guests. Are you the board-game loving bunch? Include well-placed decks of cards or create designated areas with sandbag tosses and other outdoor favorites.

On the table displays, pop a few notes about the food and drink options in your own voice. If you’re celebrating a birthday, anniversary or housewarming, include small framed photographs throughout the area.

The size and layout of your unique space will also dictate how to customize the party layout. Overall, make it about you and your style.

Choose Your Fall Party Food Menu

fall outdoor party ideas - fall party food menu

Harvest-themed food is all about hearty soups, spicy flavors and things that generally warm you up. Ideas from appetizers through desert may include:

  • Displays of seasonal snacks that include ingredients like squash, apples and pumpkin.
  • Local cheese and bread to pair with wine tastings
  • Outdoor soup kettle of corn chowder
  • Slow cooker filled with spiced cider or hot mulled wine
  • Barbecue favorites with accouterments
  • Large autumnal salads with cranberries, squash, pumpkin seeds, etc.
  • Football-themed snacks like buffalo chicken dip and nachos

Deck out your bar with a signature fall cocktail such as hot toddies or spiked hot chocolate. Finish the night off with an around-the-fire s’mores celebration.

Liven Things Up With Games and Entertainment

Folk music and other fall entertainment ideas are a wonderful way to warm up a harvest party. Invite a small local band or musician to play throughout the afternoon or arrange weather-proof speakers throughout the yard for ambient tunes.

If you choose to carve pumpkins, gather at the end of the evening for a pumpkin carving contest and award the winner with a special prize. Afterward, arrange a few competitive rounds of lawn games as well.

For football parties, schedule the main entrée to come out before the game begins, or set up an outdoor screen to project to game outdoors. Be sure to check with your neighbors if the game goes into the evening.

Keep it Cozy With Outdoor Seating

fall outdoor party ideas - outdoor patio furniture

Fall temperatures can be a bit unpredictable. Drape throw blankets over the outdoor changes and keep things like hats, gloves and scarves in small baskets near the doors and chairs to encourage guests to stay outside as the weather gets chillier. Be sure to arrange ample seating around the fire pit, as this will be the main focal point of the night as the sun goes down.

The right outdoor seating arrangements make all the difference in making your guests feel comfortable and relaxed. Modular seating, such as the Niko 8-Piece Modular Seating Set by Sirio mirrors the comfort an indoor sofa with the durability for outdoor gatherings. Looking for a collection that shifts and adapts to the space? The Eden 6-Piece Deep Seating Set allows guests to reconfigure the arrangement as the day goes on.

If you’d like the outdoor fire to be your focal point, consider a matching set that blends with the look of the fire pit or table, such as the Chelsea 7-piece Deep Seating Set. This collection includes a stylish fire table to match the overall aesthetic.

Add the extra level of warmth by perfecting your outdoor lighting design. Try these tricks for using lighting to warm up a space:

  • Hang string lights above the bar and backyard entranceway
  • Drape lights throughout the centerpieces and food displays
  • Include jar candles, scented or not, throughout the table and seating area
  • Create a game plan for transition lighting as the sun goes down

As the fall really kicks off, gather all your loved ones before the winter arrives with these outdoor party tips. Autumnal gatherings are the perfect way to get excited for the holiday season ahead while still taking in the stunning fall weather.