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Elementary School Fall Festival

Updated on September 25, 2014

Why have a Fall Festival?

With the classroom games, the pumpkin sales and the hay maze, the Fall Festival is something the kids look forward to each year. Making money for field trips and other school activities is the reason for the Fall Festival but it can be so much more.

Planning a Fall Festival requires coordination of the parent volunteers, the teachers and the school staff. Start planning during the summer volunteer meeting. This is when the brainstorming is most important. What games do you want? What kinds of foods will you sell? Are you allowing outside vendors? How will you keep track of the money distribution to the classrooms? All of these decisions need to be made and implemented at the planning meeting. It takes a lot of planning. Start early, assign tasks and break it down into manageable pieces.

Dates and Publicity

One of the best times to have a Fall Festival is on Friday, the week before Halloween. Many schools do not encourage Halloween costumes at school but at the Fall Festival, they are allowed. Many children opt not to wear them because with all the things to do, it becomes cumbersome to deal with the costume.

A month before the Festival, send out save-the-date flyers. List all the things that families can do. Many teachers may have their classroom game planned so list as many of those as you can. On Monday, before the event, send home a half page flyer to remind the parents that the Fall Festival is coming. Place the flyers in local business. The Fall Festival is a community event, open to everyone. Get the information up on the school marquee. The time generally runs from 5:00 pm to 9:30 pm.


Create a map to be given to festival attendees. A map, showing the classrooms with games and activities on the playground allows families to find the activities without wandering around. Also, show the restrooms available and the locations of the ticket booths.

Sell tickets for the activities

Fun Express - Single Roll of Tickets Yellow Color Tickets Per Roll (1-Pack of 2000)
Fun Express - Single Roll of Tickets Yellow Color Tickets Per Roll (1-Pack of 2000)

Having one place (or two) to sell tickets for the rock wall or hay maze makes it so much easier to control the money.


Ticket Sales

Two ticket booths need to be setup. One should be at the school entrance and one in a central location in the center of the playground. No money should be exchanged at the individual games or food vendors. All of the participants will collect tickets and return them to the volunteer group on the following Monday. At that time, cash will be distributed to the various vendors and teachers. Prices for the games vary. A classroom game may be $.25 for three tries and the rock wall $2.00. Setting prices will be what your area will allow.


Families come there expecting to eat. Make sure they are not disappointed.

Food sales are a variable. Depending on school regulations, it is possible to have a prepared dinner available to Festival goers. One year we had a spaghetti dinner. We have had a vendor provide a Mexican dinner (some of the proceeds going to the school). The choices are endless but make sure you contact the Health Department and review the local health code regulations before setting food items into motion.


Many local businesses like to have a booth at the Fall Festival. Home sale businesses like Tupperware and jewelry can make a tidy sum at a Fall Festival. Smaller communities like to have vendors to add an additional layer to the Festival itself. It is a good marketing event. Vendors who want to sell food must have their licenses available. If you have already had a soda drive and plan to sell beverages, do not allow the other vendors to sell drinks. Booth spaces should not be cost prohibitive. A fee of $20.00 per booth is adequate. The Scouts and the local sports groups are given free spaces to sign up children interested in participating.

Rock Climbing Wall

Wonderful money maker that the kids loved.
Wonderful money maker that the kids loved. | Source


Living in a rural area allows many different options. One of the more popular activities is the Hay Maze. Children love the maze. With parent spotters, safety is guaranteed. If a child gets lost, there will be someone there to guide them to the end.

Pumpkins are a great seller. If you are fortunate enough, a local grower may donate them, depending on the season's crops. This is iffy and several years the volunteers have paid almost full price. However, 90% of the children leaving the Festival leave with a pumpkin.

In a rural area, animals abound but many of the children never see them. Several local farmers bring their animals in for the children to pet. Although they donate their time and do all the setup and cleanup, they are given a gratuity. It is a thank-you for donating their time and animals.

In every community, there is an artist who likes to do face painting. Children love to have their faces painted with something special. Many community face painters will donate their time to help the school. Many have children in the school district and know what it takes to support field trips and other activities.

In the past, various parents and grandparents have stepped up and donated a Climbing Wall or Bouncer. Most companies charge a flat fee for the time and setup. The school set the price per ticket. The company will monitor the time and collect the tickets, returning them to the volunteer group at the end of the night.

Suggestions for a classroom game - The kids love this

Kids try to get a fish. Have a child on the other side of the pool, swirl the water to make it a little more challenging. Bottom line, these are magnets so catching a fish is not difficult.

Classroom games

While the parent volunteers are raising money for the field trips and assemblies, the teachers also have a chance to make money for their classrooms. Some of the use it to offset extra activities for the field trips and some use it to buy additional classroom supplies that are not in the budget. Regardless of what they use the money for, these are the favorite activities of the children. Most teachers allow their students to participate in the activity. The children collect tickets, reset game pieces or try to get other children to join in. This is great for the children who feel included in the event.

Suggestions for a classroom game - The kids love this

Intex Snorkel Buddies 5ft Snapset Pool - 5'X10"
Intex Snorkel Buddies 5ft Snapset Pool - 5'X10"

Kids try to get a fish. Have a child on the other side of the pool, swirl the water to make it a little more challenging. Bottom line, these are magnets so catching a fish is not difficult.


Local Groups

At most school events, it is required that the Fire Department be on site. This is a plus for the kids when a fire engine turns up on the playground. It has a "wow" factor.

The local sheriff also comes and does fingerprinting. These fingerprinting cards are useful and the parents can add other information on the card with a picture. The process fascinates the children.

Many scout troops will volunteer their time to earn badges. It is important for the community to have them at the Festival so that parents who do not know how to contact them can speak with a representative.

Baseball, softball and soccer are all great sports for children. The local sports associations have great success at the Fall Festival, registering children and answering questions about the leagues.

Thank you to all the volunteers!

On a personal note, I would like to say thank-you for all the volunteers who work tirelessly to make the fundraisers successful. You are making a difference in our schools.

If you have planned a Fall Festival, spent weeks getting ready and it is going well, take a break. Walk the Festival, play a game, get something to eat. The Fall Festival is something to be enjoyed by everyone in the community, including the volunteers.

Comments welcomed

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    • ladyguitarpicker profile image

      stella vadakin 2 years ago from 3460NW 50 St Bell, Fl32619

      I found this hub very interesting, since it will soon be Halloween and we are thinking things for the kids to do. Thanks

    • ReginaHurley profile image

      Regina Hurley 3 years ago from Cedartown, Ga

      Great article I really enjoyed it