The air is crisp. The leaves are falling. As the summer wraps up in a few weeks here are a few ideas that can be planned and laid on fairly quickly to bring people together and provide the residents in your community some value added service at little to no cost. Children are picking out their Halloween costumes. That doesn’t mean it’s time to head inside and hide away until spring.

Autumn is the perfect time to gather the community together to participate in fun outdoor activities that will bring people together. As the summer wraps up in a few weeks here are a few ideas that can be planned and laid on fairly quickly to bring people together and provide the residents in your community some value added service at little cost. If you are a manager or leader in your local community consider working with your Recreation Department or Recreation Commission on a few ideas like these:

 

Pumpkin Decorating Contest

Nothing says autumn like pumpkins. A pumpkin decorating contest is a great way to get people of all ages involved with a hands-on project. If you think ahead early enough, you can plant pumpkin seeds at the end of spring, so they are ready to pick by October. Decorating possibilities are endless and can include everything from paint to ribbon to googly eyes.

 

Community Bonfire

Circle around the fire with some hot apple cider for a cozy bonfire. Be sure to have marshmallows on hand for roasting and all the makings of a good, old-fashioned s’more. A bonfire isn’t just for a summer night. It’s also an ideal way to stay warm on a cool, autumn day.

 

Neighborhood Trick-or-Treat

Kids will love donning their costumes for a family-friendly trick-or-treating session through the town. Holding the event during the day gives local businesses a chance to get involved while also making it safer for the little ones. Families can venture through designated areas to find the best candy and surprises.

 

Autumn Scavenger Hunt

Hosting a scavenger hunt at the local park is a wonderful way to get the community up and moving for an afternoon. People can work either individually or in teams to search for several items on a list. Some suggestions for the hunt include:

  • Leaves
  • Pinecones
  • Acorns
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Berries
  • Rocks
  • Cattails

 

Family Fun Festival

The ultimate autumn event would be a festival that boasts several of the best chilly weather activities. Festival attendees can dress in their favorite spooky costumes and enjoy delicious treats like caramel apples, kettle corn, and hot cocoa. Craft vendors, game tables, and kid-friendly activities will create a delightful experience for people of all ages. There’s no better way to get the community together for some fall fun. Admittedly, this one is not so easy to put on quickly but you could build up to it for next year by doing some of the events already mentioned to create some buzz and excitement for a larger event the following year.

 

Haunted House

This is another one that will take some planning but will draw a good deal of attention and can even generate some modest revenues (entry fees) to defray its cost and defray the cost of some other small events. It does not have to be in a “house”, but if you think about the public buildings and public lands in your community there are probably opportunities to set something up in an underutilized public building or a forested area on public land.

 

I would recommend your Recreation Department network with some other community groups like the Scouts, Lions, or Rotary to name a few to partner with them on events like these. Organizations like these bring their own energy, enthusiasm, skills, and volunteer workforce that are strong resources. They also have the connections to help network and promote these events ensuring that the community organizations will be vested in the event for its success. People will have fun, be thankful for being brought together in this way, and they will look forward to the next event.