Fall Festival Ideas You Can DIY

Iris Watts

Article Posted By: Iris Watts

of Iris Nacole

Fall Festival Ideas You Can DIY

Few events are more fun that a fall festival. Iris Watts of Around the Watts House decided to set up her own fall festival for our Harvest and Halloween Style Challenge series.

We sent her a mystery box of Home Depot Halloween decorations to get her started, and she came up with the fall decorating ideas, in the form of her own Halloween festival.

She came up with several DIY projects to make it happen, including a festival entrance, fun directional signage, a party photo booth, game booth and a gorgeous fall dining table that would be perfect for a Thanksgiving dinner.

Check out Iris’ fall festival ideas and steal some for your own festival.

Fall Festival Ideas

This Halloween is sure to be the most exciting for me ever, because, with the help of The Home Depot, I have the opportunity to recreate a special moment in my life: The Annual Fall Festival I attended as a child!

Fall Festival Ideas You Can DIY

If I had thought of setting up my own fall festival even a year ago I would have laughed. Surely it would be too big a project to tackle, but with some strategic planning, and some effort on my part, I was able to pull it off!

Here’s how I set up my fall festival.

I came up with a plan!

First and foremost, I needed to figure out what I was hoping to accomplish when it came time to put this all together. After much thought, my main goal was to create an outdoor space that would be fun for the whole family. This fall festival would have nothing too spooky, or gory hanging about for the little ones to see, but it wouldn’t be all fluff either, to keep the adults interested.

Directional sign for a fall festival

Second, I needed to figure out what DIY projects would need to be completed to bring the space to life, so I did some research on festivals, as well as referred back to my own memories of what I experienced at fall festivals as a child, and came up with some must-haves for my fall festival.

  • An entrance. It sets the tone for the space, and is fun and inviting for your guests!
  • Directions to the festival events. They keep your guests informed about what to expect out of their visit.
  • Activities for the whole family to participate in! Remember we want EVERYONE to enjoy their experience!
  • A space for pictures. Everyone has fun capturing those exciting moments!
  • Refreshments. Who doesn’t like a tasty treat?
  • A Harvest Table. Because it’s pretty, and gives your guests a place to gather, and relax.
  • A spooky haunted house! No Halloween festival would be complete without one!

Witches parking area at a fall festival

I put my plan into action!

That’s not such a huge list to tackle, right? I didn’t think so, so I set out to find inspiration at my local Home Depot store. If you browse the aisles with an open mind, you just might be surprised at what items jump out at you, grab your attention and set your imagination into motion!

I found so many items that were easily transformed into the things I needed for my festival, that it took me two trips to get them all! Of course, since I planned to build many of the structures, such as the entrance and harvest table, I had to make a lumber run, where I ended up finding even more to work with!

Once I had all the materials home, I got right to work! I was crafting up a storm, building, painting, and planning my decor. It was a whirlwind of activity, but so much fun!

I prepped my space for guests!

Diagram showing supplies and cuts for a DIY festival entrance

The Fall Festival Entrance

Once all the projects were complete, I was ready to set up my space! We chose to set up at the family ranch. With is aged structures, it was the perfect backdrop for our festival!

Let’s talk about the entrance. With a little help from my husband and father-in-law, I was able to pin down the perfect spot to set it up. The poor guys had to move it once or twice, but it’s not heavy, so it wasn’t much of a chore to do.

DIY fall festival entrance

Once the structure was in place, I dressed it up using two Halloween banners, and a hand-painted sign made out of weathered scrap fencing board that I found in The Home Depot’s Lumber Department. I topped it off with a bunch of balloons in classic Halloween colors, and moved on to set up the next space.

The Directional Sign Post

DIY directional sign for a fall festival

To go along with the entrance, I set up the directional sign post that I made. I have to tell you, it was the easiest things to build. A few hand painted signs, which I crafted at home, were nailed onto a weathered fencing board, and that was all it took to make it! Once it was in the ground, we placed a few Jack-O-Lantern luminaries around it to light up the space when the sun went down. It truly was beautiful when it was all put together.

Witches Parking

Witches parking sign for a fall festival

Oh, and I can’t forget my designated “Witches’ Parking” space holder! Using a sheet of MDF, and a jig saw, I cut out a few fun Halloween shapes, which you will see throughout the grounds, including a witches’ hat just for this!

Activity Space

Game booth for a Halloween or fall festival

Next it was time to set up my activity space. Since I was in a “build it yourself” kind of mood, I built a festival booth to go along with one of the games I came up with. I call it the “Boo Bucket Toss”.

Boo Bucket Toss

Bucket toss game for a Halloween or fall festival

Using three white buckets, with fun ghostly faces drawn onto them, a player needs to sink two out of three balls into the bucketes to win a prize. If they succeed, they get to choose from an assortment of Halloween masks or fun hanging ghosts, which I made using wiping cloths, twine, and a permanent marker to drawn on the faces.

Bobbing for Apples

Galvanized metal tub used for bobbing for apples game at a fall festival

A small Apple Bobbing station was set up as well. I didn’t have to think twice about using this large galvanized tub for it. It’s such a staple of any fall festival!

Fall Photo Booth

Photo backdrop for a Halloween or fall festival

Without planning on it, my photo backdrop ended up being a small pumpkin patch. I wanted to have one for sure, and originally thought the barn would be a good spot for it, until this space was set up. With the dilapidated fence, built of scrap boards, surrounded by bales of hay, Jack-O-Lanterns of all sorts, and various sized pumpkins, I quickly realized that this was the perfect space for my guests to snap some pics!

Jack-o-lantern string lights at a fall festival

Draping these beautiful Mercury Jack-O-Lantern string lights across the fence and throughout the space, created a sense of whimsy, which was perfect to capture in photos.

Don’t worry Mom and Dad, they are plastic, and won’t easily break if your little ones happen to get a hold of them.

Harvest Table

Sawhorse work table that will be used as an outdoor dining table at a fall festival

Next we set up our harvest table. We built it using common boards and two saw horses as legs, all found in the lumber department at The Home Depot. Again, it was super simple to complete, and we even used it as a work bench while working on a few other builds!

Sawhorse table set up for outdoor fall or Thanksgiving celebration

Now it was time to decorate! This is where I had the most fun!

Burlap used to decorate a fall harvest or Thanksgiving table

Using a set of brown paper drop cloths as a tablecloth, along with gardening burlap as a runner gave the table the rustic look I was hoping to achieve, and on a tiny budget too!

Croton plant as centerpiece for an outdoor fall harvest or Thanksgiving table

As part of my tablescape, I chose to use a couple of Croton plants placed inside galvanized buckets, dressed up with raffia, and fun crafted witches’ hats. I couldn’t be more pleased with the outcome. It’s so fun!

Fall Festival Ideas You Can DIY

I chose to drape a few sets of color changing lights throughout the grounds in hopes that it would bring a little sparkle to the fall festival. They didn’t disappoint! Just look how gorgeous the table looks with the lights hanging above!

Patio torch at a fall festival

To keep the bugs away, I set up two patio torches, flanking the table on each side. I like the fact that they are black metal, and that they give a sort of old world, spooky touch to the space.

Refreshments Table

Refreshments table at fall festival

Of course, we can’t forget the refreshments table! I draped the table using the same roll of garden burlap that I used on the harvest table. There was just enough left over to finish up the space!

Hand-made spiders on an old barn wall for a Halloween or fall festival

Last but not least, we decorated the old barn using hand crafted spiders, corn stalks, and faux spiderweb. The patio torch adds an element of impending doom to the space do you think? Enter if you dare!

So you see, it was a lot of work, but nothing that couldn’t be accomplished by any determined person. The crafts were simple, as were the builds, and I just know you could do them too. Topped off with the wonderful products from The Home Depot, this space came to life. Now all that’s left is to enjoy the space with family and friends, and I hope you do!

Iris Watts blogs about decorating, DIY and Family at Around the Watts House. She lives with her husband and little boy in the San Antonio, Texas area.

Get more Halloween and fall ideas with our Harvest and Halloween Style Challenge series. And check out our Holiday Decorations Department for everything you need for Halloween decorating (and Thanksgiving and Christmas, too!)