Ideas for a fall party.
We could feel autumn in the air. An apple-bobbing party seemed just the thing to celebrate the new season! My mind started racing with all the fun outdoor activities our 1-3 year old daughters and their friends could do.
All of the activities were huge hits, and great on a budget!! Plus, there was enough choice to keep the ball rolling for their short little attention spans
Fun was had by all!
Here’s the run-down of activities:
(Details of how to create it all as you read on).
- Apple Bobbing, of course!
- Caramel Apple Dipping
- Homemade Piñata from a brown paper grocery bag.
- Red Balloon Scoop
- Potato Sack Race
Apple-Bobbing: For the barrel, I went to our local Tractor Supply store. You could also use a Whiskey barrel. This time of year is clearly perfect for apples. They are so delicious and are sold by the bag-full.
Painted Signs: For the signs, I took some scrap 1/8″ ‘hardboard’ squares we had in our shed and spray painted them white, let it dry, then painted the words in red. A quick job. Do it a couple of days before the party. The signs added a lot to the overall scene. If you don’t have scraps of wood lying around, use cardboard.
Caramel Apple Dipping: This was such great fun, and absolutely delicious! Making the caramel was as easy as apple pie. This sauce is buttery, creamy and sweet. Absolutely heavenly.
12 small apples
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup dark corn syrup
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Insert sticks into tops of apples. Collect sticks from the yard if possible, for an authentic look. Make them nice and long for those little arms to reach the dip more easily.
- Bring cream, sugar, corn syrup, and butter to a boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Clip a candy thermometer to pan, and continue to cook until mixture reaches 245 degrees, 10 to 12 minutes. Use your instinct on consistency. Do not walk away. Keep a close eye on it. It only takes you away from the party for 10 minutes. If the thermometer doesn’t seem to be working, don’t rely on that. Rely more on the time and consistency.
- Like a pro, with your head held high, pot-holders in hand, take the bubbling, caramel deliciousness out to the party and amaze your guests! (You will hear lots of “ooooo’s! and ahhhhh’s). Put it on a hotplate in the middle of the table, ready for dipping. Stir it around with a wooden spoon until the bubbles settle down before unleashing the children on it.
- Dip each apple into the caramel. Dip them again into sprinkles. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet, and refrigerate until set, about 15 minutes (or overnight). For the party, we just dug in! The sauce held beautifully to the apples.
Piñata: For the Piñata, I didn’t want the ones in the stores, that had nothing to do with my theme. So I just saved my money, and painted a brown paper grocery bag red like an apple a few days before the party. I did it the same time as the signs. I painted the top bit green. It looked more like a strawberry to be honest, but still fun. I filled it with a big bag of candy, threw a ball of twine up over a tree branch and tied it up. Job done. Easy-peasy. I recommend taking a knife and slashing a few slits in it to make for easier breakage.
It was the most fun the kids had at the party. They went crazy on it! Leave it until the end so they don’t eat all that candy throughout the whole party and end up completely sick. It’s also a great bang to end the party on.
The Red Balloon Scoop: This was something I came up with at the last minute. It was a blast for the littlest ones. A toddler can never have enough balloons, you know! We had some nets to scoop them up with, but clearly that was considered unnecessary after a while.
The Potato Sack Race was good fun. Some kids take to it more than others. It also needs a bit more leadership than the other activities, but worthwhile and still lots of fun. I got these sacks for $1 each at our local Tractor Supply store. I drew start and finish lines on the grass with white spray paint.
As for food, I gave myself a break. Didn’t cook a thing. I bought an apple pie, drinks, candy, raisins, Twizzlers, apple cider, and chips & dip. Apples take center stage on this day!
A few things to make for good decor:
* Use fancy paper straws and mason jars if you can find them.
* Use a wheel barrel for ice and drinks.
* Use cute tablecloths
(Be sure to use a vinyl tablecloth for the caramel apple dipping station).
The activities themselves take care of the rest of the decor.
A next day left-over bonus….. Salted Caramels!
You will likely have leftover caramel. When you take it inside, scoop it onto parchment paper. Warm it up a bit if necessary to get it out of the pot. Wrap it up in the parchment paper, creating a rectangle about 1/2 thick. Put it in the fridge.
The next morning cut it into cubes and wrap them up in pieces of parchment as illustrated below.
This caramel is buttery, sweet, smooth and decadent, so does benefit from some coarse sea salt sprinkled on top to balance the flavors.