Autumn is such a great time to host a party outside. The weather is predictably beautiful with comfortable temperatures. Nature provides beautiful decorations and party materials too! Adults enjoy this lovely time of the year with Oktoberfest parties where beer and hearty food are highlights of the day. There's no reason why the kids can't take part in the fun with their own Oktoberfest party.
Change the beer to root beer (or apple cider to trick the adults!), the bratwurst to hot dogs, and add a few more activities besides eating and drinking to keep them busy. You'll have the recipe for a wonderful party. Oktoberfest is about more than beer and your children will be grateful for the opportunity to help usher in the beautiful new season.
Since autumn leaves and sunny skies provide the backdrop for this party, few additional decorations are required. You can use your natural resources such as a bounty of fall colored leaves, twigs and berries for decor. You can also supplement nature with a few other harvest-type decorations with a quick trip to the market. Some standout ideas include:
Dried corn stalks are available at farms and garden centers in the fall. Tie them to the sides of your deck or stand them against a wall or fence. Corn stalks are an easy way to bring an instant autumn feel to your party space.
Also available at garden centers in the fall, hay bales add both decoration and seating for your party.
Pumpkins and Gourds
Piles of pumpkins and gourds around your hay bales give extra color and texture to your party. Place a few on your tablecloths to hold them down in case of a strong breeze.
Orange, Gold, or Brown Tablecloths
Coordinate your table coverings with the natural color scheme.
Rotate groups of children through different activity stations, that way they're always busy. Have an adult or two available to supervise or help at each station. Hired babysitters make terrific helpers at these parties since they usually enjoy being around younger children.
Since this is a party for children, there's no need to make a full-size scarecrow. Supply each child with a child-size shirt and pair of pants instead. Look through your children's old clothing, ask friends for clothing they don't need or, visit your local thrift shop where these items can be purchased inexpensively. Although scarecrow making is a pretty simple activity, younger children will need adult assistance with assembling the body parts, so make sure you have enough helpers on hand.
Prepare a Craft Station
Fill cups with washable tempera paints, and supply lots of paintbrushes. Give each child a pumpkin to paint. Let them create marble art pictures by placing a sheet of paper in a shirt box, dropping paint on the paper, and rolling marbles around over the paint. Be sure there's a bowl with water for cleaning the marbles. Leave extra paper at the craft station for other works of art.
Hire a professional face painter to work at your party. Children will wait very patiently for their turn with a face painter. Or if you have artistic talent, you can be the face painter. Klutz has a great book that includes paints for beginners desiring to learn how to face paint. If you do decide to tackle this job, be sure to have enough help to run the other activities since you will be very busy for a while. Practice a few designs prior to the party to offer as choices to the kids.
Play the Chicken Dance Song
Have the children dance around to the tune. They'll know what to do!