Written by Spotloan

Spring breathes new life into everything when we need it the most, and summer is packed with longer, brighter days and fuller laughs. In the winter, everything glows, and the falling snow gives us the perfect excuse to bundle up under cozy blankets and sip from steaming mugs.

But let’s not forget the season that seems to be a fan favorite. Fall is a special season in its own right. The crisp air, the crackle of fires, and the falling leaves make the perfect backdrop for a long list of activities.

Here is a comprehensive guide to fun and affordable harvest season celebrations:

When Are Harvest Festivals?

Harvest (or autumn) festivals occur throughout the fall season. You can find one or another just about every weekend, starting the weekend after Labor Day and lasting through October. They range from wine, apple, and music festivals to events celebrating the unofficial symbol of autumn, the pumpkin.  

Some such festivals involve thousands of intricately carved pumpkins stuffed with tealights, while others are packed with pumpkin-based games and treats. You can Google local harvest or autumn festivals to find the ones closest to you, or follow your town’s Parks and Recreation social media page for information on events close to home.

Local libraries often post flyers for local events, too. Among the many options available for budget-friendly Halloween activities for kids, festivals like these are some of the best because they offer affordable fun, games, and food all in one place.

Harvest Festival Game Ideas

Speaking of games, you’re not limited to what the local harvest festivals are offering. If you’re wondering how to plan a harvest festival of your own, this is the best place to start. Yard games are affordable, easy to put together, and offer hours of entertainment at home.

Here are some of the most popular harvest festival game ideas on Pinterest:

  • Break out your clubs and play pumpkin golf.
  • Compete in a witchy ball toss put together with dollar store cauldrons and eyeball ping pong balls.
  • Play checkers or tic-tac-toe with small, decorated pumpkins, leaves, or gourds.
  • Create your own carnival with a fishbowl toss.
  • Break into teams for some squash bowling.

And for families who are really into DIY, you could build your own cornhole set and paint it to look like a pumpkin patch. If you already own a set, you could also just buy pumpkin bean bags or a wrapable pumpkin decal sticker.

No matter which games you choose for your at-home harvest festival, we recommend buying candy to use as prizes if the games get competitive. But the bigger point is to have fun and enjoy the time together.

The Top 25 Ideas for Harvest Celebration Autumn Activities

  1. Fill your yard with games.
  2. Go apple picking and make candy apples after.
  3. Visit a cider mill and bring some home to heat up later.
  4. Pick and carve or paint pumpkins.
  5. Bake festive autumn treats (apple crisp, pumpkin pie, harvest trail mix, rice krispie treats dyed orange with food coloring, etc.)
  6. Put together (or print) and complete a festive scavenger hunt.  
  7. Collect leaves to jump into, toss like confetti, or turn into a wreath.
  8. Watch all of your favorite fall and Halloween movies.
  9. Make a themed dinner or dessert for movie night (ex. Spellbook-frosted brownies or cauldron-shaped cookies for a Hocus Pocus night.)
  10. Make your way through a corn maze.
  11. Go for a hike or walk somewhere colorful.
  12. Get spooked at a haunted house or haunted trail.
  13. Attend an apple or pumpkin festival.
  14. Plan a festive picnic.
  15. Decorate the house and yard for the season.
  16. Search the closest thrift store for extra decorations, DVDs, or clothes you can turn into costumes.
  17. Create table top shapes and creatures out of candy corn.
  18. Bob for apples in individual buckets.
  19. Make hot chocolate from scratch.
  20. Visit a local farm and enjoy a hayride.
  21. Have a fall photoshoot with your Polaroid or a disposable camera.
  22. Paint a fall-themed picture.
  23. Pick a theme, color, or keyword, and go find a book that matches it at the library.
  24. Take a scenic train ride.
  25. Pick up some festive treats at your local farmer’s market.