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4 Tips for Hosting an Outdoor Fall Party

From gorgeous fall weather to entertainment and fun, find out what goes into hosting the perfect outdoor party for your guests (and you!) to enjoy.

Hosting an outdoor fall party can be a lot of fun. Fall is the perfect season to sit outside in cozy sweaters and enjoy hot beverages with friends. You can’t go wrong with good weather and good company. A lot of factors go into hosting the perfect outdoor party—here are some suggestions on how to keep your guests happy.

Invite guests early

Sending out invites early is the first indication of a rocking fall bash. It signals to guests that you’ve planned ahead and that they weren’t last-minute invitees. You don’t have to work out every detail of your party by the time your guests begin to RSVP, but knowing how many people to expect will help you plan everything, from the menu to activities.

Make it warm and cozy

Even if you have a daytime party, it may last past sunset. The weather can get chilly once the sun goes down, so keep your guests warm with plenty of blankets. You can lay them over seating arrangements or keep baskets of them around the party.

Staying warm is more than just blankets, too: a campfire is an outdoor party staple. Light a fire in your firepit or build your own bonfire (space and proper permits permitting) for guests to gather around and warm up. Make sure to have enough materials to keep the fire burning for your whole party; if the fire dies out, you lose lighting and warmth. Also, because fall can be an unpredictable season, prepare for rain or cold with tents and heat lamps, or plan a backup space indoors.

Keep guests full and hydrated

The secret to a great party is well-fed guests. Eliminate the chance of hangry visitors with a planned menu. Depending on your party size, you have several options. Decide beforehand if you’ll serve a full meal or just have appetizers and snacks. Once you’ve chosen, make the decision to cook or cater.

For any size party, have warm drink options for your guests to enjoy. A perfect fall drink is warm apple cider. Add cinnamon sticks and star anise for a fun twist. Another great fall drink is hot chocolate, which is sure to be a crowd-pleaser. For adult parties, you can create and pre-make a signature cocktail. Booze up your apple cider and keep it in a crockpot so that guests can serve themselves and you can enjoy your party instead of playing bartender all night.

Offer entertainment

Keep your guests entertained by offering optional activities when conversation lulls. For a mid-party activity, have a basket of mini pumpkins or gourds for guests to decorate and take home. You can also mix snacks into the fun. Put apple slices on sticks and set out melted caramel and toppings so that guests can make their own caramel apple slices. Roasting marshmallows over the fire is also a time-honored fall party tradition. Making s’mores is a fun activity that results in a delicious treat.

You could also add some fall staples to your activities list. Bags (or cornhole) is sure to bring out your guests’ competitive spirit, or you could set up a relay race to really get people up and moving. An upside to this activity is that people will stay warm when they’re running around! Bob for apples, send the kids on a fall-themed scavenger hunt, or simply enjoy the company of your guests. All of these are great ways to host a fun outdoor fall party.

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Karen LeBlanc

Karen LeBlanc is a travel host and writer with a popular travel show, The Design Tourist, and a companion lifestyle blog. As a widely published travel journalist and content creator, Karen is a member of the North American Travel Journalists Association. She also serves as the Design and Travel editor of the national lifestyle magazine, LaPalme. Karen believes that every destination has a story to tell through its local art, architecture, culture, and craft. This immersive creative exploration begins with authentic accommodations where the narrative of place unfolds through art, accessories, accouterments, furnishings, fixtures, and food. 

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