How-To: Chili Bar Fall Party

Bowl of red chili with chili toppings for a fall party.

What comes to mind when you hear the words “fall party”?

Perhaps you think of fall activities like apple picking, hayrides, and watching football. For many, the cooler season brings musings of bonfires, comfort foods, cozy decorations, 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! From A to Z, we’ll cover activities, beverages, chili recipes (of course), chili toppings, decor, desserts, and more!

Post updated 10/2022 for clarity and readability. Post contains affiliate links which means our site may make a small commission from sales at no additional cost to the consumer.

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!

Even if you don’t have a big yard, you can purchase a small fire pit table to keep everything nicely contained. Or, create your own more permanent pit with a shovel, dirt, and some rocks. Once it gets dark, gather everyone around to tell campfire stories or sing songs.

Helpful Hint: Don’t forget to grab a s’mores roasting kit and extra firewood!

Play some games.

Our families and friends love the games by the makers of Exploding Kittens. They are easy to learn, unique, and so enjoyable—your cheeks will hurt from laughing so hard! Poetry for Neanderthals and Throw Throw Burrito are can’t-miss games.

Or, keep it simple! Round up a few decks of cards and get everyone in on a lighthearted game of Slapjack or Spades. Apples to Apples, Pictionary, and Charades always ensure laughter among all in attendance. Plus, they are very conducive to large, difficult-to-organize groups. Set out a stack of games before the party starts to encourage your guests to play.

Pro Host Tip: Place a card table behind or near the couch to double as extra seating during the big game moments and keep everyone together!

Cuddle up around the TV. 

Grab a bunch of comfy blankets, organize everyone on the couch or floor pillows, and turn on the TV!

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 everyone 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 fall party, announce to everyone that you’ve hidden the mystery items—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 Party

Instead of serving everyone their drinks from the refrigerator, set up a convenient, customizable beverage bar! That way, guests can serve themselves as the party continues and you can spend more time socializing!

Here are some suggestions for what you’ll need to get started:

  • Long foyer table, buffet, designated counter space, or mobile bar cart.
  • Elegant fall-themed 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 if your bar set doesn’t come pre-contained)
  • Cocktail shaker
  • Ice and ice bucket—or, use a heavy-duty bowl
  • Water pitcher/cooler
  • Pitcher of non-alcoholic beverage like cider or iced tea
  • Pitcher of sangria (I prefer this Caramel Apple Sangria)
  • One clear soda (tonic water, Sprite, etc.)
  • One dark soda (Coca-Cola, Pepsi, etc.)
  • Alcohol of your preference to make cocktails and mixed drinks
  • Cocktail glasses

Functional Decor Tip: Add a cute vase for a fun way to collect bottle caps or pop tabs!

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. At parties, it’s nice to have something on which guests can munch so that no one gets hangry while the chili cooks!

Try to serve a few items that pair well with chili, but nothing that’s too similar to chili. Here are some great appetizer ideas for a fall party:

  • 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
  • chips and salsa
  • raw veggies and dip

The Chili

Okay, let’s get to the main attraction of your fall party—the chili!

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 run out of stove space. Choose a favorite recipe or two and start there.

When choosing a chili 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.

Here are my favorite chili recipes:

Serving Tip: don’t forget multiple ladles to avoid any cross-contamination—and help the scooping move along more quickly!

Bowl of chili with avocado and and sour cream toppings for chili fall party.

Chili Toppings

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. There are so many different types of toppings for chili—the more you offer, the better!

Chili Topping Ideas:

  • Sauces to add heat: buffalo, sriracha, tabasco, hot sauce
  • Dressing to cool: sour cream, ranch
  • Chips: Fritos, Doritos, Goldfish, and “scooper” corn chips
  • Cheese: Mexican, cheddar, jack, etc.
  • Green and red chopped onions
  • Jalapenos
  • Sliced avocado
  • Tater Tots
  • Cornbread—try cutting it into small, crouton-sized cubes to sprinkle on top of your bowl
  • Hot dog slices—like an “inside out” chili dog
  • Rice/small noodles
  • Shredded lettuce
  • Olives
  • Chopped tomatoes
  • Bacon (or bacon bits)
  • Crumbled sausage
  • Corn salsa
  • Lime wedges
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Sliced radishes
  • French fries (for chili cheese fries)

Sounds amazing, right? My mouth is watering!! If you can portion the toppings into small, individual bowls, like this set, it’ll add an extra flair to your setup!


Whatever you do, don’t forget dessert! Here are some delicious fall-themed sweets that are sure to go as quickly as you can say “pumpkin pie!”

Fool-Proof Apple Pie—flavorful, tender apple pie filling inside a buttery, flaky, always-perfect pie crust.

How to make the best pie crust! An easy, simple tutorial that is backed by science to create a flaky, buttery pie crust - no soggy bottoms here!

Maple Pecan Creme Brulee Eclairs—so tasty, full of fall flavor, and much easier to make than they sound… impress all your guests with these drool-worthy pastries.

Maple Pecan Creme Brûlée Eclairs

Chai-Spiced Pumpkin Hand Pies—Hand pies are perfect party treats, and they’re so cute, too!

Pumpkin hand pies with chai spiced sugar

Red Velvet Fall Flower Cupcakes—sweet, tangy, and ultra-soft red velvet cupcakes with a delectable cream cheese frosting… you haven’t had Red Velvet ’til you’ve tried these!

Fall Flower Cupcakes - A gorgeous, delicious, and easy fall cupcake recipe!

Chai-Spiced Shortbread Cookies—soft and crisp cookies with warm, spiced fall flavors.

Chai Spiced Shortbread Cookies on Cooling Rack

White-Chocolate Cranberry Walnut Cookies—chewy white chocolate chip cookies full of dried cranberries and crunchy walnuts.

Jar cookies make the perfect hostess, housewarming, or "thinking of you" gift! This homemade mix for cranberry-walnut cookies is so delicious, too!

Spiced Chocolate Pumpkin Cheesecake Cake—warm, spiced chocolate sponge cake stacked with luscious cinnamon pumpkin cream cheese filling and a crunchy graham cracker pie crust layer.

spiced chocolate pumpkin cheesecake cake fall autumn cake decorating tutorial and recipe

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 little 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 with these easy, festive fall party decorating ideas!

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 napkins, pot holders, and vases) with fall-themed substitutes. Check out my guide here for budget-friendly fall decorating using decor you already own!

Twine-Covered Jars

Wrap twine bows around mason jars and use them to hold silverware, flame-less candles, candy, or any other miscellaneous items you have lying around.

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!

DIY, Easy, Dollar-Store Fall Serving Platters

So cute and so unique, all of your friends will be asking where you bought them!

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!

fall decor decorations flowers autumn sunflowers yellow daisies twine burlap DIY

Utilize seasonal pumpkins and gourds as cute, yet functional decorations. I love this idea for a pumpkin punch bowl.

(I was unable to find the original source of this image, found on Pinterest. The link only lead to spam.)
(I was unable to locate the original source of this image, found on Pinterest. The link only leads to spam.)

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!!

Photo: For The Love Of (http://www.fortheloveof.net/)
Photo: For The Love Of (http://www.fortheloveof.net/); Click here for this post!

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.


Happy Fall Partying!

I hope this post covered everything that you need to make you feel excited and comfortable in hosting your next fall-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…


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how to throw an autumn themed chili bar fall party with great toppings, ideas, decor, and more


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How To Throw The Best Fall Party with a Chili Bar! #fall #party #autumn #chili
  1. Pingback:21 Of the Best Ideas for Fall Photo Backdrop Ideas – Home, Family, Style and Art Ideas

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  3. Eve says:

    Greetings! Very useful advice within this article!
    It’s the little changes which will make the most immportant changes.
    Thanks a lot for sharing!

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