Idea No.


Oktoberfest & Harvest Party



October 2005


Cindy in Manassas, VA

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Miscellaneous Parties

This is my third year in a row for throwing a family Fall party for friends and neighbors.  We had folks from grandparent age down to 6 months old attending.  It's finally found an official name of "Oktoberfest and Harvest Party".  The party centers around all the things that make Autumn a wonderful season here in the MidAtlantic.  I focus more on the Harvest element than approaching Halloween, cause I figure the kids get enough of that later in the month.  The special food is a big anticipation -- at least for the adults.  We grill all kinds of brautwurst and get a german beer on tap.  A good friend make authentic German potato salad and sauerkraut.  Of course we have regular hotdogs for the children.  Appetizers include:  soft pretzels with mustard (big hit), hard pretzels wit dip, a veggie tray, a Fall munch (raisins, peanuts, holiday m&ms, and candy corn), carmel and cheddar popcorn, and the Utz Natural kettle cooked potato chips (includes the sweet potato kind).  To the main course german fare I added an amish macaroni salad and apple-baked beans, large whole dill pickles, Brotchen (german hard-roll) and regular long rolls.  Dessert was apple and cherry strudel (from a local bakery), brownies, holiday cookies, and apple walnut cake.  So what did we do other than eat?  I got a very large moonbounce -- big enough for the adults to go in with their kids.  Games we planned were apple bobbing, which was as funny for the adults to watch as it was fun for the kids.  We did a scarecrow ring toss.  Got some decorative scarecrows from the Michaels craft store and decorated them with fall-colored streamers.  We bought bales of straw and set up an obstacle course with large moving boxes and corn stalks in the back yard and just left it open as something to play with.  The children ran back there and played all sorts of pretend games, running, climbing and escaping the "headless horseman", I'm told.  We had plenty of footballs and basketballs and a few games were struck up during the party.  We played a trivia game based on a story book called "Bat Loves the Night".  I made up some multiple choice questions from the book.  After reading the story to the kids, they paired up into teams and I asked the questions.  They raised their hands when they knew the answer.  When they were right they got to move down to the next level (beginner bat, intermediate bat, and expert bat).  If they gave the wrong answer they had to move back a level.   This is more for the older kids but the questions can be tailored for any age level -- mine were for 4-8 year olds.   Winners got a special lollipop and everyone else got a tootsie pop.  We had a pumpkin roll relay race, too.  A pinata shaped like a pumpkin rounded out the organized activities of the night.  I had two crafts available at a table for the kids.  One was decorating a pumpkin head or a scarecrow head. I pre-cut the heads and fabric squares.  I got a big bag of buttons and put out markers and glue sticks.  They used straw too.  I bought pre-sticky leaves from OT and tissue squares that they could crumple and stick down to decorate the leaves (many kids used the supplies from the other craft to decorate these too and they turned out wonderfully).  I like "open-ended crafts" for younger kids that let children at all levels create something special rather than crafts that require specific instructions and an outcome that looks a prescribed way.  For decorations we used lots of solids in fall colors.  I got Oktoberfest beer cups for the adults from some german site, and I used pumpkins, scarecrows, and the usual Fall trimmings all around the house and outdoors.  This is really an "outside" party and we had perfect weather (after cancelling the weekend before cause of major rain).  As the evening approached, I took out glow bracelets and necklaces and the children ran around in the yard in the dark with them -- having the best time.  This is my favorite party to throw every year.  The adults can relax and enjoy great food and conversation and watching their kids have a blast.

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