Fall Entertaining Ideas on a Budget from Food to Activities

We’re back with our 4-part series on how to host heartwarming at-home fall parties on a budget! We started off with a mouthwatering post on recipes for fall potluck party food—from casseroles to sides to desserts to drinks. Check it out, in case you missed it. Now, we’re sharing more fabulous inspiration for planning an entire event. Ideas for what to serve, DIY decorations to make, tablescapes to style, and activities to prepare. All showcasing the flavors, colors, and natural elements that make autumn such a well-loved time of year! (*this post contains affiliate links)

Party Food Ideas for a Fall At-Home Gathering

 Fall gatherings all seem to revolve around what’s on the table—and rightly so! The ingredients, produce, and spices of the season are more than reason enough. But serving these “family style” make these occasions so much more special. So, see our suggested ways to serve a sumptuous autumn party spread, from main dishes, to desserts and drinks without overspending!


  • For a potluck party, plan hearty make-ahead dishes like these Creamy Chicken Alfredo Roll-ups (1) and assign other guests matching sides and desserts, as in our Part 1 post in this series.
  • A chili cookoff is another filling option for an autumn get-together. You can serve your favorite recipe or try this Easy 3-Ingredient Chili (2) we found.
  • A fall soup and sandwich bar is a great way to satisfy a crowd, while keeping costs affordable. Don’t these combinations look so delectable? Breadstick Grilled Cheese with Tuscan Tomato Soup (4).
  • Surprise your guests with exotic flavors of ethnic cuisine! Consider this Indian-inspired Curried Fried Rice with Shrimp (5), this Easy Korean Beef Bowl recipe (5), or perhaps a sampling of Mediterranean dishes.
  • For a fun do-it-yourself approach, set up a fondue spread featuring this Cheese and Double Smoked Bacon Fondue (6) or any of the many variants to choose from.

Credits: 1 – Our Table for Seven / 2 – Yellow Bliss Road / 3 – Cook Smarts / 4 – Olive Garden / 5 – The Blond Cook / 6 – Cook with Campbell’s

fall wine spread in kitchen by Bellenza

PARTY TIP: A wine and cheese station always looks special, even if the selection may be simple. Make it extra inviting by using whimsical cheese flags to label each the display of individual cheeses.

Dessert Ideas with Autumn Flavors

Make the most of the season’s fruits, spices, and harvest produce when choosing what desserts to serve. Just like in these absolutely scrumptious recipe picks we suggest!


1 – Pumpkin Butter Cake, from Mostly Homemade Mom

2 – Caramel Apples with Coconut and Chocolate Drizzle, from Kraft Recipes

3 – Baked Maple and Cinnamon Donuts, from Tidy Mom

4 – Cranberry Oatmeal Muffins, from Genius Kitchen

5 – Easy Pecan Pie Bars, from Sugar Apron

6 – Easy Date Walnut Cookies, from Betty Crocker

Fall-inspired Beverages to Serve

Celebrate the season with your party drinks and cocktails, too! Choose from these beverages—whether iced and sparkling or hot and cozy—made with fall fruits and flavors.


1 – Easy Homemade Apple Cider, from Divas Can Cook

2 – Coffee with homemade Pumpkin Spice Creamer, from Sally’s Baking Addiction

3 – Slow Cooker Cranberry-Orange Mulled Wine, from Kitchen Treaty

4 – Caramel Apple Sangria, from Wine and Glue

5 – Sparkling Bourbon Pumpkin Apple Punch, from The Speckled Palate

6 – Iced Tea with Orange Slice Garnish – Bellenza

7 – Hot Toddy, from Lemon Thyme and Ginger


Thanks to nature, you have a gorgeous array of decorating materials to source from your backyard or on your autumn walks. Assemble them into wreaths, centerpieces, fall vignettes for your entryway or coffee table, candlescapes, even fragrant accent pieces for your party—then enjoy them all season long!


1 – Fall Leaf Wreath, tutorial from Canvas Corp Brands

2 – DIY Wood Box Centerpiece, follow the how-to for the box from Virginia Sweet Pea, then fill with pillar candles and your choice of fall accents

3 – DIY Simple Fall Garland, courtesy of Lehman Lane, that can grace your buffet table at the party then your mantel afterwards

4 – Fall Centerpiece with Distressed Painted Jars (*affiliate link) via Amazon Handmade

5 – DIY Essential Potpourri, using Doterra ginger, clove, and cardamom essential oils to enhance the natural fragrance of dried fruit slices and peels, spices, and leaves; just place in bowls around the party venue

6 – DIY Oversized Fall Word Art, found via This is Our Bliss, that could welcome party guests at your entryway or serve as a backdrop for the desserts or drinks station

More ideas from our own posts for how to:


Again from our own posts, we’re thrilled to highlight different looks you can choose from for a standout autumn party tablescape!

Rustic Look in Copper and Forest Hues


Gleaming copper containers, candles, and mini pumpkins take center stage in a vignette-style centerpiece. A striped runner in earth tones and guest favors in burnt orange and olive fabric wraps complete the rustic, woodsy effect. (See full post here.)

Whimsical Woodland Theme


Give your fall tablescape a lighthearted air. Take inspiration from our arrangement of heart-shaped cookie favor boxes on the guest plates, a runner of braided straw, cafe lamps with leafy stem-stands, giant golden wooden apples, and fresh red apples. (See full post here.)

Rich, Bold Colors for an Elegant Table


Deep red, hunter green, and gold set a stunning palette for this fall wedding tablescape we styled. Lush arrangements of red roses, bowls of fresh fruit, and bottles of wine add to the richness. While mini gold frames serve as treat trays, and ivy-embroidered favor bags give a nod to the season. (See full post here.)

A Tablescape with Spanish-inspired Flair


The same vibrant red and gold combination appears in this Spanish tapas party we styled. Mainly via the table cloth with a luxe satin sheen, then echoed in the ornate wine bottle case and the crimson cabbage roses accenting each chair. (See the full related posts here and here.)

An Organic-look Autumn Table


If you are into eco-friendly decorating, you’ll find some pretty creative examples of that here. Spot the plate chargers made with dried corn husks, the wine cork coasters, the raffia-nuts-and- anise napkin rings, the table number covered with seeds and beans, and the all-foliage centerpiece in gorgeous fall colors!


After all that eating, some fun party activities would be just the thing. Prepare a selection of board games and group games that pairs to families can play, like these popular ones available from Amazon.

1 – Backgammon Set

2 – Chess Armory 15″ Wooden Chess Set

3 – Deluxe Bingo Set (6-inch metal cage with calling board, 75 colored balls, 300 bingo chips, 50 bingo cards)

4 – Mattel Pictionary Board Game

5 – TicTacToe Classic Board Game

6 – Winning Moves Games Classic Yahtzee

7 – Hasbro Scrabble Crossword Game

8 – Mini Soccer Tabletop Game

Fall party inspiration overload? Wait till you see more in Part 3 and Part 4 of this continuing Fall Entertaining series.

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