How to Plan a Memorable Church Fall Festival

It’s that time of year when the weather chills, the leaves turn beautiful rusty colors, and your church starts planning a Fall Festival. If you’ve never planned one before, or if you’re looking for fresh ideas to make this year’s festival run smoothly, here are tips for planning your best church festival yet.

1. Determine Your Church’s Fall Festival Mission

Do you want to provide a safe alternative to Halloween for you members? Are you looking to introduce your church to your community? Are you hoping to grow your membership? Are you focused on reaching children in your area with the gospel? Answering the question, Why are we doing this?, is a great way to make sure your plans line up with your vision. It will also help you make decisions like: Should we advertise this event? If so, how? How big of a festival will this be? And, what activities will we have?

2. Assign a Leader for Your Church’s Fall Festival

Assign one person to manage the event. Keep frustration to a minimum and communication flowing by allowing that “point person” to make decisions without having to run the bulk of those solutions by church leadership.

3. Arm Your Church’s Fall Festival Leader with Support

Make sure your leader has the support he or she needs to be successful. Start assigning volunteers to lead different areas of the event. For example, assign someone who is a gifted host or hostess to oversee the food. Someone familiar with your church’s preschool program can head up the preschool area. Another person can handle the live entertainment. Allow these people to make a reasonable number of decisions for their areas without having to clear everything through the leader.

4. Brainstorm Your Church’s Fall Festival

Going back to your event mission, brainstorm ideas for the different parts of your event. Here are a few ideas:

Preschool area

Petting zoo

Games

Jump houses/blow-up obstacle courses

Food/Concession

Carnival Games

Dunk Tank

Cake Walk

Live Entertainment

Karaoke

Hayride

Hay/Corn Maze

Pumpkin Carving

Pie Eating Contest

Face painting

Rock climbing wall

Fall Photo-scape

As you consider each area, make a list of the supplies and personnel you will need to make it successful. Choose a comfortable number of stations and activities, remembering that you can always grow in years to come.

5. Collect Candy & Candy-alternatives for Your Church’s Fall Festival

Set up collection sites around your church and ask members to donate bags of candy. This will offset the expense of the candy and prizes and allow your members to be part of the Fall Festival’s success. If you live in a warmer climate, ask people to skip the chocolate, which could melt. And by including candy-alternatives as well as candy, you are giving safe options for families who have special dietary needs.

6. Think Through the Logistics of Your Church’s Fall Festival

A number of areas need special attention for your church’s Fall Festival to go off without a hitch. Those include parking, bathrooms, security, electrical, and audio/visual. Ask yourself these questions:

Will parking be sufficient? What if it rains? Can our church members serve as the parking attendants, or do we need to hire off-duty police to assist?

Do we have enough bathrooms, or do we need to rent porta potties? If we open our building, do we need more security? Can we use our building’s bathrooms if it rains?

Do we have enough electrical outlets and cords? What are our power needs? Can our system handle our plans?

Do we have extra A/V cords in case something doesn’t work? Will our current sound system work in the open air or will the sound be lost? How can we protect our equipment if it rains?

7. Make Pre-Fall Festival Volunteering Easy

You’ll need many people to volunteer on the night of the event, but don’t overlook those who want to help but can’t be there on the actual night. Allow your church members to help in the Fall Festival’s success by making signs, painting backdrops, building booths, baking, or collecting supplies. Many members would be willing to help before the event if asked.

8. Invite Volunteers to Sign Up for Time Blocks During Your Church’s Fall Festival

It goes without saying that you’ll need volunteers to make your church’s Fall Festival successful, but make it easier for members by allowing them to sign up for two-hour blocks of time. For instance, if your Fall Festival is a four-hour event (5pm – 9pm), allow people to sign up for 5-7 pm and 7-9 pm. This will allow parents and grandparents to volunteer and spend time enjoying the event with their own family. And don’t forget your teens. They’re often eager volunteers when they can participate with their friends, and with time blocks, they’ll still enjoy free time at the festival.

9. Keep Communication for Your Church’s Fall Festival Flowing

Make sure to communicate clearly to your volunteers before, during, and after your church’s Fall Festival. Sending out regular updates to the volunteers in the different areas will help keep everyone informed. This includes emails and text messages, something good Church Management Software like FellowshipOne is able to do.

10. Create a Unique Hashtag for Your Church’s Fall Festival

A unique hashtag will allow you to track your event on social media. You’ll see what people are saying and the photos they capture. You’ll then be able to use those photos to share your success with you congregation, and with permission, use it in the next year’s advertising.  

Your church’s Fall Festival is sure to be a success when you implement these 10 steps. By determining your event’s mission, creating a well thought out plan, making it easy for your volunteers, and keeping the communication flowing, you’re well on your way to having a fun-filled event.

If you need help scheduling and communicating with your volunteers and members through email, texting and more, let us help you. At FellowshipOne, we love to partner with churches to make their events—and their day-to-day operations—as successful and effective as possible. Click here to schedule a free demo of our Church Management Software today.