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Plan a neighborhood family harvest party

Jen Klein is a New England-based technical writer and mother of three. When she isn't asking her kids to stop bickering, "caramelizing" the dinner or actively ignoring the dust bunnies under the couch, she enjoys knitting, gardening, pho...

Giving thanks before Thanksgiving

Autumn, the time of agricultural harvests, is also a time many think about the things in their life for which they are most grateful. The Thanksgiving holiday, for example, is all about appreciating. But while holidays often focus on family connections, what about the other relationships in your life: Your friends and neighbors? This year, why not throw a neighborhood family harvest party and show your appreciation? Both kids and adults are sure to have blast!

Fall-party

Regional fairs and festivals are taking place all over the country in the fall. Having a neighborhood event is a way to bring that festive feeling really close. Just like any event, the most difficult part of it is just deciding to do it. But once you do, you can create an afternoon of seasonal fun for all those who add color to your life. Don't be surprised if it becomes a yearly tradition!

1Do it Before it gets too cold

As the weather turns cooler, it's a perfect time of year to have an outdoor event. It's not oppressively hot any more -- and not so cold that you have to worry about hypothermia! With the variability of autumn days, a day could be quite warm or snuggle-inducing chilly, but the chance you are going to have a decent day is pretty good.

2Gather the neighbors

Invite everyone in the neighborhood. Yes, everyone. Even the neighbor with whom you occasionally disagree. There's no time like the present to do some bridge building -- and even the grumpy neighbor adds something to your life. Besides, you'd feel pretty uncomfortable if that neighbor invited everyone except you to a party. Take the high road and just invite everyone!

3Indulge in fall treats

Just like fall fairs and festivals, indulge in fall treats with your guests. Pumpkin bread and pear pie, caramel dipped apples and warmed cider…mmmmm. What a great reason to raid the last of the local farmer's markets and take advantage of seasonal produce!

4Set up games for the kids -- and adults

Set up games for kids and adults alike -- or have games kids and parents can plan in teams. Sure, it looks a little goofy to do the three-legged race, but it's so silly and fun. You can set up mini pumpkin hunts for the little ones and pumpkin carving for older kids (and kids at heart). Games like bocce and corn hole and even croquet keep the gathering focused on fun.

You can choose to say it or not, but your guests, young and old likely will understand the point of the gathering: Giving a bit of thanks for another year of good friends and good neighbors. No formal holiday needed.

More fall fun for your family

Fun fall activities with kids
Fun activities for the first day of fall
10 Destinations for a quick fall getaway


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