What comes to your mind when you hear the word “fall party”?
Perhaps you think of fall activities like apple picking, hayrides, and watching football! For many, like myself, the cooler season brings musings of bonfires, warm colors of the leaves, cozy decorations (my personal favorite, as shown by this post), and gathering together with family and friends.
Today I want to share how you can incorporate all your favorite aspects of the season into a fall party, chili bar style!
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Activities For Your Fall Party & Chili Bar
First things first: during the party, what are you and your guests going to do? Of course, socializing is always the main focus at an event, but it is nice to have some different activities in mind to help encourage the fun! Here are some festive fall ideas:
Make a bonfire!
If you have a yard, purchase a fire pit or create your own with a shovel, dirt, and rocks! Once it gets dark, gather everyone around to tell campfire stories.
… isn’t just for children. Round up a few decks of cards and get everyone in on a lighthearted round of Slapjack or Spades. Apples to Apples, Pictionary, or Charades always ensure laughter among all in attendance. Plus, they are very conducive to large, difficult-to-organize groups.
Just set out a pile of games on a table somewhere and the players will come!
I know my hubby and his friends LOVE to watch football. However, my girlfriends and I enjoy binging on old 90’s movies. Either way, once you decide on what to watch, just keep the volume to a comfortable level to ensure the conversation is not hindered!
Try a friendly game of football…
… if your friends are up for an active afternoon! Organize into evenly matched groups and get competitive! For a mixed-gender group, try a friendly game of two-hand-touch with flags (instead of tackling).
Organize an autumn-themed scavenger hunt.
Before the guests arrive, hide fall-themed items around your house or yard. Try faux acorns, mini pumpkins, or apples!
Then, when you feel a lull in the excitement during your event, announce to everyone that you’ve hidden items and whoever finds the most wins a prize! To add some difficulty, wait until the sun sets and use small flashlights (or turn off the lights inside!)
Beverages For Your Chili Bar
Instead of serving everyone their drinks from the refrigerator, set up a convenient, customizable beverage bar! Here are some suggestions for what you’ll need to get started:
- Long foyer table, buffet, bar, or even just a designated spot on the countertop.
- Table runner or tablecloth
- Bar toolset including the following items: corkscrew, bottle opener, bar spoon, knife, muddler, jigger, and some sort of container to hold and keep them organized (try a mason jar)
- Water pitcher/cooler
- Pitcher of non-alcoholic drink like cider or iced tea
- Pitcher of sangria (I used the recipe from here)
- One clear soda (tonic water, sprite, etc.)
- One dark soda (Coca-Cola, Pepsi, etc.)
- Alcohol of your preference to make cocktails and mixed drinks
- Glasses (multiple sizes)
Cuisine For Your Fall Party & Chili Bar
Appetizers and hors d’oeuvres are said to be an important aspect of a meal because they prepare your palate and increase your appetite for the main course. I, personally, can eat like a horse and therefore like to munch throughout any event. Most people that I know would agree.
When curating a menu for your party, take into account all of your guests’ food sensitivities and preferences. For example, if you’re serving plenty of heavy, carb- and fat-filled toppings and sides with your chili it might be best to venture on the lighter side in terms of starters. Place bowls around the family room with some veggies and ranch dip.
Some other ideas for appetizers to serve before your chili include:
- jalapeno poppers
- guacamole with plantain or corn chips
- cheese ball and crackers
- roasted sweet potato wedges
- mini soft pretzel bites and nacho cheese
- salty or spicy Spanish nut mix
Enough talk about the appetizers; let’s get to the main attraction- the chili!
Again, based on your guest list, you want to tailor your chili options so that everyone can enjoy the meal together. Having said that, don’t try to create a separate chili for each and every guest- you will drive yourself crazy and likely don’t have enough stovetop space for that. Choose a favorite recipe or two and start there.
When choosing a recipe, take note of the number of servings each batch will produce. If you are making chili with your own recipe, just keep in mind that a serving is typically around one and a half cups. Therefore, a five-quart pot should fit approximately 20 cups of chili or 13 servings.
Also, don’t forget multiple ladles to avoid any cross-contamination (and help the scooping move along faster!)
Now, we have come to the best part… *drum roll please*… the toppings!
This is where you can get extra creative and really trust your taste-buds; anything and everything that you think someone would like to eat with chili- you name it- it’s here.
- Sauces to add heat: buffalo, sriracha, tabasco
- Dressing to cool: sour cream, ranch
- Chips: Fritos, Doritos, Goldfish, and “scooper” corn chips
- Cheese: Mexican, cheddar, jack, etc.
- Onions: green and red
- Sliced avocado
- Tater Tots
- Cornbread (try cutting it into small, crouton-sized cubes to sprinkle on top of your bowl)
- Hot dog bites (think- an “inside out” chili dog)
Some ideas not shown here: lettuce, olives, chopped tomatoes, bacon (or bacon bits), crumbled sausage, corn (if not in your recipe), lime zest, fresh cilantro, sliced radishes, and french fries (for chili cheese fries)!
Sounds amazing, right? My mouth is watering as I proof-read this post!!
Finally, you CANNOT forget dessert! Here are some delicious fall-themed sweets that are sure to go as quickly as you can say “pumpkin pie!”
I always like to set out some smaller, bite-sized sweets for grazing as the night goes on. After all, even the non-sweet eaters usually like a liiiitle something after dinner. Gather up some cute, small bowls and fill them with treats like chocolate covered almonds, yogurt covered pretzels, M&Ms, sweet trail mix, or mini cookies.
Decor For Your Fall Party and Chili Bar
Get your guests in the autumn mood by utilizing these easy tricks to decorate your entire home- in less than one hour!
Fall Decorating Tips
Consider some areas in your home that could use a touch of burlap for a rustic fall vibe. Use a moderately thin piece as a table runner, add a burlap bow to the back of each dining room chair, or think about purchasing a simple burlap tablecloth.
Also, pay attention to replacing smaller items (such as the napkins, pot holders, and vases) with fall-themed substitutes. Check out my guide here for budget-friendly fall decorating using decor you already own!
To add some depth to the bow, use a piece of twine about four times as long as you would originally need, and fold it in half twice. Snip the ends, wrap your bow, and admire your cute decor!
Create a Serving Platter Pumpkin
Check out this super easy and cheap DIY to create a pumpkin-based serving platter! Use it for silverware, desserts, rolls, or napkins!
So cute and so unique! ALL your friends will be asking, “where on EARTH did you buy these?”
Fall Florals and Fauna
Decorate with yellow daisies, sunflowers, red dahlias, orange mums, or any other fall flowers you have accessible. See my tutorial here to create your own fall faux-flower centerpieces!
Utilize seasonal pumpkins and gourds as cute, yet functional decorations. I love this idea for a pumpkin punch bowl.
Purchase a garland of autumn leaves to string over your front door, mantle, or stairway banister. You can also set up an area against a flat wall to create a fun, fall backdrop, perfect for photo-ops!!
Pinecones can be used as great placeholders to mark each guest’s seat! Collect your pinecones, clean them well, and paint the tips gold or silver (or you can skip the work and buy them here).
So, have you been inspired yet?
This post covered everything that you need to make you feel excited and comfortable in hosting your next autumn-themed chili bar party. I can’t wait to hear all about your fantastic festivities!
Don’t forget to find me on Instagram so we can keep in touch, and be sure to tag me in any photos you post of your fall party or decorations! I love to see what you come up with!
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Take care guys! Until next time…
P.P.S – Forgetful like me?
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