Sunday, January 3, 2016

How to do a LARGE Fall Festival for less than $300!

So pay no attention to the date I posted this.....ok, I bet you just checked the date I posted this huh? Yeah, yeah life has been busy and I am just now posting about a "Fall" Festival in January. I have been out of commission working on a children's book, a logo for a plumbing company, and putting together almost 60 pallet signs for a church craft night. Needless to say I am a bit behind. However, I had wished for a posting like this back in September when I was first asked to put on this activity, so I am hoping this run down will help some of you who have been given the same task. I am going to share what activities we did, what supplies you need, and even share the invitation we made. And we did this all on the cheap. So read on...
First off, this is the flier we sent out to advertise about the upcoming activity. This was done for my church and we had over 300 people attend. We printed four to a page and fortunately my husband's boss said it was fine printing them in color at work. Thus, it was free for us, but you can print them at Costco as 4x6 prints for relatively cheap.
I tried to figure out how to share a .psd file on here for those of you who have Photoshop or PS Elements (like me) and could just edit the text, but unfortunately I never could figure out how to. Feel free to email me if you would like that.
Here is the image I found on google images. I also used a few fonts downloaded for free from (love that site). The fonts are (starting from the top): Ever After, Orniste (created two layers in two different colors, very slightly skewed from one another to create depth), DK Wayang, and then Gill Sans for the location info.

I also found the banner image as clip art on google images, and created white squares/rectangles that I made around 60% opaque (I think PSE file is being tricky for me to verify that).

We passed these around to our congregation about a month prior to the event so they knew it was coming up as well as to invite friends and neighbors. We then passed the other copies around almost every subsequent week leading up to it. I think we made 50 copies which totaled 200 invitations.

I then started scouring Pinterest for all kinds of budget friendly ideas for games and decor. To save you the effort of the scouring, you can check out my board made specifically for this activity here. You will find the blog posts that inspired this:
Sorry for the less than quality photo, but this is the only one I got of my kids posing in it before we finished painting the sign. Below is better quality.

This thing was 10 feet long! We made it out of old closet doors and reinforced it with some scrap wood.
We made these pumpkins using old fence pieces we picked up for free off of Craigslist thanks to Finding Home's inspiration:

We made a bean bag toss using some of the excess closet door material to look like the one found here (this link takes you to all kinds of game and decor ideas for Fall themed parties):

And our centerpieces came from all kinds of pins on that same board. We bought white circle plastic tablecloths at the DollarTree (for $1/each of course). We had 30 tables with 8 chairs to the table. If your DollarTree doesn't sell the circle ones, you can either go with the rectangle size, or Amazon sells the circles for a little over $1.

For the brown paper you can see in the middle of the table you can buy a roll at Hobby Lobby (don't forget the 40% off coupon) and cut the roll into squares. You will need to have the pieces lay flat with weights prior to the event since they want to curl back up. You can get cheap knock off Mason jars at Walmart and other retailers, and then the fake flowers at Michaels. These things accounted for a lot of the budget. We found pine cones in our friends' yards and the nearby park. We found fake leaves at Salvation Army that were marked half off the new price of $0.50, and bought a lot of those to sprinkle around the jars. And for half of the tables' jar decor we placed medium sized sticks that I found placed out on trash day from someone's yard clippings.

The paper products also are pricey, but buying in bulk is a cost saver from Costco. We did bowls, plates, napkins, cups and cutlery. This wasn't accounted into our budget, but since we spent well under $300 for all of the above, I am hoping that this is still accurate. We did the meal potluck to save on cost. We sent sign ups around several weeks prior for: soups or chilis, rolls, salads, and some people brought dessert even though we didn't ask for them. We just served water in pitchers that were set on each table. (I wanted to serve wassail, but then realized what a nightmare spills of that would be to clean up).

Also, members of our activity committee work for Lowes and were able to save 3 refrigerator boxes. With those boxes I made a large barn out of one (inspired by the Little People books), and the other two I made four apple trees out of each. Unfortunately I was so over everything that night of the activity that I didn't take any pictures (MAJOR REGRET). You can barely see one of the trees behind the barn (I hid it behind the barn cuz I oversprayed some of the green paint on the "trunk"). To make the cardboard trees I roughly drew a simple tree shape, cut it out with my jigsaw, and then laid all of the "trees" out on my lawn to spray paint them green. (I covered the trunks to not turn green). I then used sponges cut to the shape of leaves and dipped them in different fall colors of acrylic paint and sponged them sporadically on the trees. I then did the same with an apple shape dipped in red paint. These were stapled on the walls around the gym along with the barn (we used a pneumatic staple gun, with less than 100% power since the staples wanted to shoot all the way through the cardboard. They were very easy to remove and throw away after the event).  We also had the reclaimed wood pumpkins (link above), a large wood sign pointing the directions to different activities (made with the old fence pieces), and a scarecrow we borrowed from someone placed around the large indoor gym.

On one of the sides of the large room there is a stage that we placed pumpkins on that different church members decorated/carved before coming. We placed 3x5 cards with numbers on them for people to vote for which pumpkin they liked best. We offered 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place prizes such as apple cider, pumpkin shaped Reese's peanut butter cup pack, and a caramel apple kit with apples.

Below are the other activities we offered in rooms throughout our church's building. We had prizes leftover from previous years so that saved on cost, but after shopping all over, Amazon seems to offer the best prices (barely beating Oriental Trading Co.).

We offered a:
  • Fishing Hole: used an underwater plastic tablecloth (Oriental Trading) taped up to a doorway, where kids could "fish" using poles made out of large branches and string and a clip. On the other side of the tablecloth was an adult who would clip a prize on to the string and tug for the child to retrieve their catch.
  • The bean bag toss (see link above) was in another room. One of our committee made the bean bags and I made the candy corn with three sized holes to toss into.
  • A craft room that had cute foam owls to make (Oriental Trading...Walmart has less expensive and less complicated ones for sale)
  • A tot lot for babies and toddlers that could string Apple Jacks or Fruit Loops on string as well as play with other nursery type toys. (So they didn't get trampled on in the other big kid game rooms)
  • A shooting range: A church member made fun targets using PVC pipe and used black lights to make the surroundings extra fun. Several of us brought in our kids' Nerf guns for the night, and I bought a pack of knock off foam bullets that had about 50 to a pack for $11.
Once again, wish I had taken pictures of all of these rooms so I could share them with you!

In case the timeline of everything is helpful to know:
We had the dinner served from 5:00-6:00 with the activities going from 5:30-6:30. We then brought everyone back into the gym to announce the pumpkin decoration winners, have a costume parade to "Monster Mash" and then went outside to the parking lot for 30 minutes of Trunk or Treating.

Hopefully spelling this all out helps anyone else in charge of putting together a big Fall activity. We purposely stayed away from typical Halloween decor and games since we had done that for the activity the prior year. Sorry I can't provide exact costs for everything, but hopefully I provided a ballpark range for things.
My little fam dressed for the night. Never been one to coordinate cute family costume idea so we were randomness based on what the kids wanted. Hubby and I went as Sheldon and Amy from "The Big Bang" though :). Too bad my handsome hubby's natural hair has said sianara to this life, so we bought a wig that just didn't quite do the trick!

Happy Fall y'all (in 8 months)!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments make my day so please say hello and let me know what you think!