It's time to start planning your fall festival, and we are here to help! Though we offered several great ideas last year (including the pumpkin trebuchet), we now have even more ways to take your fall festival to the next level!
1. Pumpkin slingshot
Remember the water balloon slingshot you used for the summer party? Break it out for a new kind of fun. These slingshots are the perfect size to use with small decorative pumpkins and gourds. If you have a big field, you can mark it like a driving range and have a contest for overall flight distance. If you don't have that kind of space, grab or build some archery-style targets and shoot for accuracy. No matter which you choose, pumpkins flying through the air are sure to be fun to watch and will get the youth excited about a typically more child-focused event. If you like this, you'll love our curated collection of group games and icebreakers. They're fun for kids of all ages and of course, the young-at-heart.
2. Mess-free pumpkin carving.
Try these two variations to avoid the goopy mess of a pumpkin carving station.
For a super-hands-clean and knife-free experience, buy (for less than $1 per pumpkin) sets of pumpkin decorating stickers to beautify the pumpkins. Since those pumpkins are not cut, they will usually last outside for 8-12 weeks.
To up the actual pumpkin carving, find church members who are woodcarvers and see if they will give up oak for pumpkin in the fall and create some beautifully carved pieces. Ask if they will set up a table and let people watch as they create one of their masterpieces.
3. Tickets instead of cash
One of the trickiest aspects of a fall festival is dealing with money. With many items for sale at different places, you face either the nightmare of keeping multiple people supplied with change or a huge bottleneck at a single checkout location. Solve that by pricing everything in tickets or "Bible Bucks" and then converting money over at a separate location. This will also help you deal with the problem of fewer and fewer people carrying cash by allowing you to set up a single station to accept credit and debit cards. Either way, you don't hold up the line of people trying to get their cotton candy! Take this concept a step further by connecting your church store with a ministry that teaches children stewardship.
4. Buy your machines.
Speaking of cotton candy, consider buying a different concession machine each year and saving the money spent on rentals. Most will pay for themselves the first year. The next year you won't have to pay to rent the machine. Not only that, you can also have the fun of making cotton candy whenever you have a special event.
5. Mission Station
The church is about mission that transforms the world. Involving your community in the effort is powerful. If you don't have a ministry that needs help filling backpacks for inmates, sorting canned goods or something similar, find a local organization that could use some extra hands and set up a station for people to work in between cotton candy-eating and pumpkin-slingshotting. Have all the supplies set out and a volunteer to give instructions. See how many backpacks you can fill or canned goods you can sort! Maybe you can even make it a contest.
6. Sponsor the school festival.
Speaking of mission in your community, what if you took your fall festival on the road? Many schools have (or would like to have) a special day or event with cotton candy, hot dogs, and face paint, similar to the one you normally plan for your church's parking lot. Consider partnering with the PTA at your neighborhood school and leverage your volunteer resources to put on the whole event from beginning to end — and then give all the proceeds to the school.
No matter what you do this year, we hope you have a successful fall festival. Use this outreach to let people in your community know that God loves them and the church is there to serve and be with them wherever they are.