Creative Fall Festival Ideas for Schools
If you're looking for a fun and creative way to mark the end of summer and celebrate the beginning of a new school year, consider a fall festival. This is an excellent opportunity to help students reconnect after vacation and have fun together before settling down to a new semester. It also affords parents and faculty an opportunity to get to know one another in a less formal setting. Celebrating together can help to foster a sense of community and school spirit.
However, a school fall festival does not just happen without effort. It takes pre-planning and organization to pull off properly. The following are important aspects to take into consideration to help ensure that your school's fall festival is fun and successful for all.
You may wish to hold your festival outside, which is entirely appropriate. However, because the weather can be unpredictable at this time of year, it is also a very good idea to have an alternate indoor location, perhaps the school gym, in which you can set up in case of rain. Your school's gymnasium or multipurpose room may be an excellent alternate location. Once you have decided on an alternate indoor venue, be sure that you include this information on your invitations.
However, do not feel obligated to hold your festival on school grounds. Another location, such as a city park, may better serve your needs for a number of reasons. However, if you do hold your fall festival somewhere other than school grounds, be sure to direct attendees to the correct location. A school mascot tube man is a fun and effective way to guide attendees in the right direction on the day of the festival.
Part of the purpose of a school festival is to promote unity. To that end, the decorations you use should foster school spirit. Custom tablecloths are a useful item that can be produced in school colors and potentially even carry a printed picture of the school mascot. Other decorating ideas include streamers, balloons, and pompoms.
There are several ways to provide food at your school festival. You can have the event catered, but that can be expensive. You can ask attendees to bring food for a potluck or a bake sale, but that can be difficult to organize, especially if you intend to invite a large number of families. One solution that often works reasonably well is to provide an entrée, perhaps by grilling hot dogs, hamburgers, and the like, and then asking attendees to provide potluck side dishes. To ensure that not everybody brings the same thing, you can assign people to bring specific types of dishes according to the first letter of their last names. For example, people with last names A through E bring salads, F through J bring desserts, etc.
It is not much of a festival unless you provide fun things for people to do. This can take the form of custom games that bear your school's name, mascot, etc. Examples of custom games include the following:
- Giant Connect 4 Game
- Spin to Win Wheel
- Corn Hole (i.e., beanbag toss, lawn toss, Chuck-O, the bags game, etc.)
You should try to provide games that are fun for people of all ages, but most particularly for the age group that your students fall into. After all, the festival should be for their amusement most of all. You do not want to frustrate or bore them with activities that are too far above or below their skill level. Depending on the game and the age of your students, you may have to modify the rules of the game. For example, if you are playing corn hole with elementary-aged children, it is not appropriate to have them stand at the 30-foot foul line that adults use when tossing their beanbags. Children's foul line should be 21 feet from the board.
You should also choose games that are appropriate to play either outside or indoors. They should be easily portable so that you can transport them to the venue with little difficulty. Bear in mind that with some games, most notably the spin to win wheel, prizes are expected, so be sure to have some on hand. Prizes may not be necessary for a game like Jenga in which it is often difficult to determine a clear winner. If you promise prizes, be sure that you are prepared to deliver. They do not necessarily have to be big or fancy, but they should be age appropriate, and you should manage expectations by not over promising.
Because this is a fall festival, the activities that you choose can have an autumn theme, such as bobbing for apples or pinning the leaves on the tree. It is also a good idea to have creative activities that allow students and families to exercise creativity and then take home a memento. Pumpkin painting or carving activities are an excellent example. You can even set up a face painting booth that is staffed by your art teachers or students.
Depending on the venue that you choose, you may need to acquire permits from city government or special insurance prior to the event. For everyone's safety, you should schedule the event on a weekend during daylight hours and stick closely to the schedule.