Somewhere between my early 20s and motherhood, fall fun went from pumpkin ales on a hip rooftop to pumpkin carving on our patio. Fall might look a little different as a parent, but I try to think of parenthood as a giant Pinterest board of possibilities.
I’m a firm believer in the fact that social media can make me anyone I want to be, and dang it, I want to resemble an overachieving mother. Get your cameras ready, and dust off the pumpkin ale, because we’re about to throw a Pinterest-worthy birthday party that is seasonally on trend and gender.
Fall safari scavenger hunt
Details: Create a scavenger hunt checklist filled with all things fall. Kids can “hunt” for 10 brightly colored fall leaves, a mini pumpkin (they can paint later and use as a goody bag takeaway), bob for one red apple, ask a neighbor for an item that reminds them of fall, make your parent a glass of warm apple cider and draw a pumpkin on construction paper. This will keep the kids busy for hours and insure your glass is always full.
Dollar store decor: Burlap table runner or place mats, safari animal face masks, plastic bin for apple bobbing, and apple cider drink dispenser. I also bought the faux pumpkins for painting at the Dollar Tree, but you can buy the real ones as well.
Wagon hay ride & parade
Details: Have people bring their own wagons (strollers also work) to decorate! Theme can include cowboy hats and boots, and guests can collect hay, pumpkins and leaves to decorate their wagons. Stage a time for the wagon parade and get your camera’s ready!
Dollar store decor: Burlap ribbons, streamers in fall colors, LED light lanterns for tables (or to hang in trees), and twine to string for empty cans to tie to the back of your wagon, “Just Married” style. If your dollar store does not carry hay or straw, other stores may. Do a little research online so you’re not spending a day tracking these things down.
(Child’s name) Fall market
Details: Set up bins of fall fruits and veggies. Give kids market bags and teach them about foods that are harvested in the fall. They can give you their apples, and you can have it magically turn into the apple pie they eat. They can keep their market bags filled with their market gatherings as goody bags.
Dollar store decor: Market bags, bins for food storage at market, chalkboard sign to create Fall Market signage, all things burlap (table cloths, runners and place mats), and faux fall foliage for ambiance.
(Favorite Team) Tailgate
Details: Chicago Bears Tailgate, Fire Soccer Tailgate, you name it. The best decor will be the kids running around in their favorite football team’s jersey, representing their favorite soccer team or wearing their favorite baseball hat. Set up goals and fill the yard with footballs, soccer balls, etc., and let the kids play the day away!
Dollar store decor: Line the yard with $1 sports-themed balloons, sports-themed table cloth, cups, plates and napkins.
Around the campfire
Details: Kids can bring their favorite books for camping stories (bonus if they are signed and given to the birthday kid as a gift!), and their own sleeping bags for “camping.” Start a fire in a bonfire pit in the backyard. The kids can roast marshmallows and their own hot dogs, make smore’s, and tell their stories around the campfire. There’s a really cute campfire cake circling Pinterest, so definitely check that out.
Dollar store decor: Table centers can be smore’s fixins, all available at the dollar store. Bowl of marshmallows, plate of graham cracker squares and bowl of Hershey’s chocolates. Sticks can be purchased or you can have the kids hunt the front and backyard for their roasting sticks.
Here’s the breakdown of my Pinterest-perfect picnic:
Fall tablescape is all from Dollar Tree in Melrose Park. Grand total was under $15.
Individual pumpkin and apple pies are from Twisted Cookie in Forest Park. Pies and candy corn are obviously edible but double as decor. Pretty sweets are huge with guests so load up on them.