Every year our elementary school PTA puts on a fantastic Fall Festival and every year we are trying to coming up with new ideas on a shoestring budget. We have been very fortunate that one of the parents always donates his DJ services so we always have great music.
Here are some of my favorite activities that we've done in recent years.
Collect empty 2-liter bottles to use as pins and get some small to medium-size pumpkins to use as bowling balls. You'll need 8-12 bottles. If you want to make the game extra cute, spray paint the bottles white to make them look like ghosts. After they dry, use a permanent marker to draw eyes and mouths.
Set the bottles up like bowling pins and use the pumpkins to try and knock them down.
Kids can't get enough of this one and it's fun to watch, too. That's my daughter in the picture above. Hard to believe she used to be that little when she will probably be taller than me by the end of the year.
For the game, hang donuts from strings that are attached to a long stick. Keeping their hands behind their back, watch the kids race to eat the donuts.
If you've ever done a cakewalk, this is the same thing but for Halloween. Cut out pumpkins and number them from one to ten. The pumpkins should be large enough for the kids to stand on them. Tape the pumpkins on the floor in a circle.
Each child gets a ticket with a number on it. An adult plays music and as the music plays, the children walk around on the pumpkins. When the music stops, the children stop on the nearest pumpkin. The adult then pulls a ticket and the child on the number closest to the one on the ticket wins.
Of course, in a cakewalk, the prizes are cakes. I think it's fun to have pumpkins as prizes for the pumpkin patch walk. See if a local farm will donate them to your school or at least give you a good deal on them. You could even grow them in a garden at your school if you have a gardening club. If you don't have pumpkins, any prize will do. You could even use Halloween candy.
I know face painting isn't exactly a game but the kids absolutely love it. In the last few years, we've asked students from the high school cosmetology program to volunteer to do face painting. The students have done a fantastic job and seeing all the painted faces makes the carnival even more festive.
The kids LOVE showing off their costumes. Lead them in a parade and have a costume contest. Have a variety of categories so lots of children have a chance to win. Some of the categories we've had in the past include the most creative costume, the scariest costume, the best homemade costume, the most colorful costume, etc.
Borrow some orange cones from the gym. Tape white construction paper in a stripe on the top and yellow construction paper in a stripe at the bottom. They will look like candy corns. To set up the relays, set up two lines of cones in rows with space to run between them. Place a bowl filled with candy corn at one end and an empty bowl at the other end. The first child takes a spoonful of candy corn and runs through the obstacle course to dump the candy in the empty bowl.
After dumping the candy in the bowl, the child returns to the spoon to their team. Then the next child does the same. The first team to fill up their empty bowl with candy corn wins.
Small bags of candy corn make a good prize for this game.
There are tons of cute ring toss games for Halloween. For Candy Corn Ring Toss, instead of turning those cones from the gym into an obstacle course, you could make them into a ring toss game. Again, you can just use a couple of strips of construction paper to transform the cones into candy corn. If you want a more permanent game, you could always, paint the tip white and the bottom stripe yellow. Just cover the orange part that you don't want to get paint on.
It's fun to use glow necklaces for the rings, especially if your school or community has its Fall Festival outside. Our games are always set up inside the gym so we can't really see the glow from the necklaces but it's still fun.
If the cones are already spoken for, collect some witches hats or make some and turn those into a ring toss game. Another alternative is decorating soda bottles like ghosts or monsters and using those to catch the rings. Get creative! There really are endless options.
One year, we had materials for the kids to decorate small pumpkins at the festival. Another year, we worked with the art teacher to have each class decorate a larger pumpkin and displayed them at the festival. Both were a lot of fun and I really enjoyed seeing how creative the kids were.
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Fall Festival is by far my favorite PTA activity for the year. I'm not involved in the planning at all this year and I can't wait to see what they come up with.
Have you seen some other great DIY Fall Festival games? Share them in the comment below or better yet, join us for a conversation about enjoying the holidays on a budget in the Watch Her Thrive Facebook Group.
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