We’re starting to see lots flyers with pumpkins and scarecrows in our Facebook news feed from PTOs and PTAs. That could only mean one thing: Fall carnivals and harvest festivals are under way.

There’s something really special about these events. For starters, they are all about fun. But there’s more to it than that. Often, a fall festival is the first big event of the school year. The weather is beautiful (especially in New England, if we can brag for a moment!) and families are settled into the school routine and feeling comfortable. Kids have made some early friendships. It’s the perfect time to develop a sense of community and school spirit that PTOs and PTAs can build on throughout the school year.

If your group hosts an annual event, try adding a few different activities this year to give it a fresh feeling. We’ve compiled many new game and activity ideas on our Fall Carnival Ideas board on Pinterest. One of our favorites is a game that involves tossing a sponge at a principal! As we know, involving the principal in games is guaranteed to build excitement. Another cute Pinterest idea is an activity challenge to find the “eyeball’’ in the haystack.

We came across an usual idea in the news that may be a little too out there for some folks, but we thought it would be worth a share: worm charming. The theory is worms are sensitive to sound and will come to the surface if you make vibrations. So, set up teams on the grass and whichever team collects the most worms (humanely, of course) wins.

For those looking for something a little more tame, try holding a cake walk, an oldie but goodie. We have a cake-walk article that gives a helpful overview as well as a letter template to request cake donations on our File Exchange that you can download and customize for your event.

If your group is getting ready to promote your event, check out the free fall carnival and festival images on our Clip Art Gallery. They make nice additions to flyers and emails.

Also, take a look at our Carnivals and Fairs section of our File Exchange. It has templates for flyers and sign-up sheets.

Good luck! And Happy Fall!