How to Host a Backyard Fall Festival
It's officially fall! Festive decorations and pumpkin spice lattes will soon be making appearances throughout the neighborhood. So, what better way to herald the start of this new season than with a backyard fall festival? Your outdoor entertaining is a great way to take advantage of the last traces of warm weather, and it will definitely get people excited for fall activities. If you've never hosted such an event before, deciding what needs to be done can seem stressful. However, you can put your worries to rest because we've come up with a few steps that will help you prepare for your outdoor event:
Step 1: Determine the number of guests
Deciding how many people you want to invite to your fall festival will help you plan the rest of your party. If you want a medium-sized event, with around 12 to 15 guests, you can plan on less food and fewer activities. However, if you want a big shindig with 25 to 30 people, then you'll have to be a little more organized.
Step 2: Send the invitations
You have a couple of different options when it comes to invitations, such as traditional paper invites or online alternatives. Both of these have pros and cons to keep in mind. For instance, paper invitations are exciting to receive in the mail and can be clipped to the fridge as a nice reminder of the upcoming event. However, you have to plan well in advance to make sure everyone gets the card in time, and there's always the possibility it will get lost in the mail.
?Online invitations, on the other hand, are instantaneously received in guest inboxes and can be answered immediately as well, so you'll easily know who has already RSVP'd. On the downside, you have to make sure none of your emails ended up in someone's spam folder. Also, if a friend isn't very good about checking email or has a large volume of emails each day, the message could quickly become buried. Keep these benefits and drawbacks in mind when deciding which method you want to use.
Step 3: Create activity zones
When you're hosting a lot of people in your backyard, you want to make sure you're encouraging guests to move around the space. Creating a variety of activity zones is one way to accomplish this task. For example, set up a pumpkin carving center at your outdoor dining table. Have a contest at the end of the night to determine who made the best jack-o-lantern.
A campfire station is another good option for entertaining guests. Outdoor fire pits provide the perfect opportunity for roasting marshmallows for s'mores and telling ghost stories around the flickering firelight.
Keep the food around your BBQ island and give the adults a nice place to relax in your outdoor living space with plenty of comfortable seating options available, like weather-resistant sofas and chairs. If you want to have live music, make sure you also leave plenty of room on the stone patio for the musicians to assemble their instruments. Arranging instruments in the yard is a little more difficult, and if you have them set up in the corner, your guests will still have plenty of space to walk around.
Step 4: Prepare food and drinks
No fall festival would be complete without the right concoction of hearty beverages and seasonal treats. Have apple cider and hot cocoa available for kids and provide some festive beers for the adults, like a variety of pumpkin and apple ales. Your outdoor entertaining wouldn't be complete without a festive meal or an assortment of snacks, so lay out a smorgasbord of food for your guests.
To create the fall vibe, grill a variety of squash, like acorn and butternut. These autumn-inspired foods are tasty and will remind guests of the reason for the celebration. Kabobs are another wonderful grill idea you should have cooking when people arrive. If you want a dish that is a little more decadent, try these grilled lobster tails.
You shouldn't forget about dessert, either. Prepare pumpkin bars, apple cake or this delicious peach and blueberry pie. Creating these tasty dishes will have your friends and family eager for seconds and copying your recipes. Just make sure you plan ahead for these meals by buying groceries in advance and determining how long it will take you to make each item. For instance, you can easily make most of the desserts ahead of time, but you'll probably want to wait to cook the kabobs and lobsters until your guests have arrived.
Step 5: Have a good time!
The main thing to remember is that your festival is supposed to be fun! So, try not to stress out too much over the details. As long as you follow the steps above, you should have no problem preparing for your backyard fall festival.