Look- we love fall and all that comes with it- flannel, mums, pumpkin spice everything, scarves that are maybe just blankets. If loving fall is basic, we don’t want to be cool. If you’re an unashamed autumnal admirer as well, here are a few tips for hosting a cozy backyard fall fest with ideas for the whole family.  

A circle of hay bales around a fire pit can set a cozy mood. Cover the hay bales with fleece blankets to make them more comfortable to sit on. To put an autumnal twist on s’mores, replace graham crackers with crisp apple slices and swap out chocolate for caramel syrup. Or you can opt to roast marshmallows to go in between gingersnap or snickerdoodle cookies. 

A pumpkin decorating station is just the place to make gourd-geous creations. But who wants to deal with pumpkin guts and seeds during a party? Instead, fill the craft table with lots of paints, glitter glues, googly eyes. Younger guests might enjoy decorating pumpkins by hammering golf tees in with lightweight hammers. 

Pumpkins are the centerpiece of an easy lawn game as well. Space out the pumpkins on the ground and toss hula hoops over them for a kitschy ring toss. 

An outdoor screening of a fall classic (think Hocus Pocus or E.T.) might be a perfect way to wind down at the end of your party. All you need is a projector and a white sheet or plain wall to serve as a screen.   

Apple cider is always a hit. Stock your bar with a big glass dispenser of cider as well as some options for adults to spike it. Butterscotch schnapps, spiced rum, or flavored vodkas like vanilla or pumpkin pie all go well with fresh apple cider. 

Let’s face it: if you didn’t take pictures, did it even happen? Setting up a dedicated spot for photos may be a little over-the-top but guests might relish the opportunity for a mini photoshoot. A few nicely arranged hay bales, some tall sunflowers to add dimension, and clusters of pumpkins are all you need for one simple setup. 

Don’t stress about the food- keep it easy by setting up a chili bar. The chili itself could be made a day in advance and served warm in a crockpot. Toppings could include all the usual suspects (cheese, sour cream, and tortillas chips for example) as well as some fun additions like tater tots, fresh salsa, honey, guacamole, bacon, roasted squash, and Cheetos. If you have vegetarian guests, consider making a meatless chili and adding chorizo or steak to the toppings bar. 

A party in late fall is the time for your outdoor lighting to shine. Even though it could be too chilly to swim, an inground pool can still add ambiance with floating LED votives. Everywhere else? Just add a few lanterns with flickering candles on surfaces and more fairy lights than seems reasonable.

For additional lighting ideas and more, call PA Landscape Group to see how we can get your backyard party-worthy.