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Now that summer is just about over, the time is approaching to start planning fun events for the fall. The first thing that springs to mind when you think of autumn is, of course, Halloween. Autumn is also a time when we get to reap the harvests that have been proliferating all summer. Hosting a Halloween and/or Harvest party can be a fun way to bring your friends and family together, and give you a good way to display your planning and creative skills as well as show off your green thumb. First things first, you’ll need to stop by your local rental center and pick up some of the essentials and help get your creative juices flowing.

You can start with invitations. Use Harvest and Autumn themes and include time, location, directions, a phone number and RSVP date. Send your invitations 6 week in advance to ensure that your party is not conflicting with other events.

Estimate your spending limit and put together a list of things or activities you’d like to have at your event. It’s a harvest party, so try to use the resources you have available to put the fall feel on any type of decoration. Divide your budget among food, decorations, and entertainment. Then let your imagination go wild! At your rental center, you can get everything from a dunk tank to your favorite carnival game to keep your guests entertained at your harvest event.

When planning your menu, keep consistent with the harvest theme by using a lot of apples, hearty stews, squash, and cider and tea to drink. It may help to prepare dishes that can be made a day in advance so that you are not busy and stressed the day of the party. For dessert, make sweet breads made with pumpkin or squash rather than purchasing overly sweet store-bought cakes and pastries. The fall weather can be tricky, so rent the equipment you need to keep your guests and your food at the right temperature. Space heaters for those chillier fall nights, tents for the unexpected rain, and coolers for the deserts and beverages. You can find it all at your local rental store.

When decorating for your party, use things that you grew in your garden and the beautifully colored leaves will gladly donate to your event. If you can find multi-colored Indian corn and gourds, add them to your table’s centerpiece. Use a few bales of hay as seating, but make sure you put a picnic cloth over it or your guests will get poked by the firm straw. It may be a good idea to rent some chairs for the lest adventurous guests too! For entertainment, go old-school and set up a barrel for apple bobbing, and have guests bring any talents they might have, like guitars or fiddles. Hold a pumpkin carving contest where the winner receives a special autumnal treat. Make use of mother nature with a harvest party and enjoy the most colorful season of the year.