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Fall festivals continue to be one of the popular ways that churches reach out to their communities. Background image by Lisa Fotios, Illustration by Cindy Caldwell, United Methodist Communications.

Background image by Lisa Fotios, Illustration by Cindy Caldwell, United Methodist Communications

5 ways to take your church’s fall festival to the next level


By Jeremy Steele

One of the most-anticipated yearly events for many churches is welcoming the community for the fall festival. Some years, though, you may be stumped on new things to do and ways to promote the event. Try these great ideas.

1. The Pumpkin Trebuchet

You may have heard about pumpkin-throwing competitions and thought, “Wow, wouldn’t it be fun to be a kid again?” You can! Making your own trebuchet is easier than you think. WikiHow has great instructions for building the trebuchet. will help you tweak the measurements  of your trebuchet to throw whatever size pumpkin you want. Consider inviting your local scout group to build smaller trebuchets to throw grapes. Voila! You have a new competition for your event.

2. ‘The Great Pumpkin’ Drive-in Movie Night

Set up a video projector and screen or sheet in your parking lot in the evening and have a movie night showing the classic Charlie Brown movie. Families can stay in their cars or bring blankets and picnics.  Since the movie is only 30 minutes long, it is great for families with small children. Make sure you have legal coverage to show motion pictures. Check out the CVLI license which is specifically geared for churches.

3. Character Cut-Outs

Go to any theme park and you’ll find spots where you stick your head through a hole and transform yourself into a bunny, mouse or princess. Using clip-art, plywood and a little paint, you can create settings for families to take pictures. From scarecrows to Peter Pumpkin-Eater and his wife, fall offers many ideas for these fun picture centers. Set a couple of crafty and handy volunteers loose on this creative project.

4. Pumpkin Faces

Instead of carving or painting pumpkins, let people make themselves look like pumpkins. Order black, green and orange face paint. Set up a station with mirrors and plenty of disposable cups and brushes, and watch the fun as people turn themselves or their friends into a fall decoration. Consider having prizes for some of the funniest and most interesting pumpkin faces.

5. Free Meal Coupons:

Instead of simply distributing flyers to your members and in the neighborhood, turn them into gifts. Make each flyer a coupon redeemable for a free hot plate at the event. Give coupons to each member to pass on to their friends or people in need. You are getting the word out — and giving people the ability to bless others. Members could purchase meals or use the coupons themselves if they have need. Members who purchase meals could pay for one or more meals to help cover the cost.

Whatever you do, have fun and be creative. Use your fall festival to share the joy of being children of God with other people in your community.