How to Throw a Simple Fall Family Party

By Kelle Hampton

The temperatures are dropping with autumn’s arrival, and we’re in the mood for cozy, comfy homey events that help spin some family magic for the remaining months of the year. Plan some meaningful family time indoors with a simple fall-themed party that your kids will love. A few delicious treats, a fun pumpkin activity and a pile of blankets on the living room floor for watching a good family movie might be just what you need to highlight this season in your home.

Bring together these simple activities for a weekend evening of family fun.

Caramel Apple Station

Ingredients You’ll Need

5 to 6 medium-sized apples
1 bag wrapped caramels
Popsicle sticks
Toppings: crushed pretzels, ice cream sprinkles, crushed nuts, mini chocolate chips
Waxed paper
Extra large paper cupcake holders, greased

Directions

Cover the working area with butcher paper or waxed paper (it will get messy with kids!). Unwrap all the caramels and place them in a medium-sized saucepan.

Add 2 tablespoons of water and place the pan on low-medium heat, stirring until the caramels are melted. Make sure your toppings are ready because you’ll have to work quickly before the caramel hardens (but you can heat it up again if it gets difficult to work with).

Dip an apple in caramel, spooning additional caramel over it to evenly coat the apple.

Let any excess caramel drip off, and roll the apple in the desired topping. Place it in a greased paper cupcake holder and let it cool for one hour (or refrigerate).

Enjoy!

One of our favorite cozy fall treats is a hot wassail drink that our entire family enjoys. It’s a soothing after-dinner drink but also works great in place of coffee in the morning.

Hot Wassail

Ingredients You’ll Need
1/2 gallon apple cider
1 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons brown sugar
Mulling spices or make your own with 1 teaspoon cinnamon, a dash of ground cloves and several whole cloves (skim off before serving)
Orange slices to float on top

Directions

In a large saucepan (we use our Dutch oven), combine all the ingredients and bring them to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes before serving. Refrigerate any extra wassail and heat up the leftovers throughout the week.

Baked Apple a la Mode

Ingredients You’ll Need

1 apple per person
Butter
Brown sugar
Cinnamon
Vanilla ice cream

Directions

Slice an apple and arrange it in an oven-safe ramekin.

Fill the middle of apple with two pads of butter and sprinkle it with brown sugar and cinnamon. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes or until soft.

Let the apples cool to a safe temperature for kids, add a scoop of ice cream and sprinkle with more cinnamon before serving.

While your edible fall party treats probably won’t last long past your party, this next activity will give you something to display and enjoy for longer than a few days.

Glitter Pumpkins

Ingredients You’ll Need

An assortment of mini pumpkins — orange and white
School glue
Paintbrushes
Fine glitter in a variety of colors

Directions

For little kids, this works best if you pour a small pool of glue on a paper plate, so they can have easy access to it. Paint a thin layer of glue on a pumpkin in whatever pattern you’d like the glitter to appear.

Shake the glitter over the glue. Tap the pumpkin to get rid of excess glitter.

Let it dry and add it to your fall decor arrangements.

And to set the tone for your fall family night, play some music from this fall playlist while you work — and end the evening with a favorite fall feel-good movie (say that three times fast!).

Fall Family Playlist

Jake Bugg — “Country Song”
John Coltrane — “Autumn Serenade”
Nat King Cole — “Autumn Leaves”
Neil Young — “Harvest Moon”
Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong — “Autumn in New York”
Fleet Foxes — “Sun It Rises”
Sea Wolf — “Leaves in the River”
Anything from the You’ve Got Mail soundtrack

Fall Family Movies

Little Women (There’s a great “Here We Come A Wassailing” scene you can tap your wassail mugs to.)
October Sky
Where the Wild Things Are
Once Upon a Forest
It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
Casper

Harry Potter
Fly Away Home


More from Kelle Hampton

8 Easy Halloween Costumes for Kids

7 Sanity-Saving Ways to Survive the Witching Hours

Red Balloons for Ryan: How the Power of Social Media Brought Love and Awareness to a Grieving Family

Photo credit: Kelle Hampton

About the Author

Kelle Hampton is a writer, photographer and speaker. Her blog post about her daughter's Down syndrome led to the writing of "Bloom," a New York Times bestselling memoir. Hampton has contributed to "Parents," "Parenting," "Martha Stewart’s Whole Living," "Good Housekeeping" and NPR’s "All Things Considered." She shares photography and journals about life and motherhood on her blog Enjoying the Small Things.