With festivals, football, crisp days made for a hike, corn mazes, pumpkin patches and more, fall is the perfect time to plan a birthday party – entertainment will practically take care of itself. Try one of these ideas, add refreshments, and Voila!, instant party.

Festival Fun

Kids’ activities are a big part of metro Atlanta’s fall festivals, with arts and crafts and games to entertain. Just a sampling of what’s available: Atlanta Parent’s Family Festival on Oct. 14 has tons of kids’ activities, bounce houses, pony rides, exotic birds and more. Kids who love cars would enjoy the Marietta Streetfest classic car show Sept. 16-17, or teach the kids to fly a kite at the Atlanta World Kite Festival and Expo Oct. 14-15. Pick from our guide to fall festivals here. 

Party at a Playground

Take the birthday celebration to a playground for slides, jungle gyms, swings and plenty of free fun. We have a guide to 75 playgrounds, with the features that make them special. You’ll find Gary Pirkle Park Playground at Sugar Hill on the list – it’s completely covered, so your party can’t be rained out.

Haunting Parties

Kids with birthdays in October can celebrate with Halloween festivals and activities, including Halloween Night Hikes at Chattahoochee Nature Center in late October or Howl on the Green in Duluth Oct. 27. For older kids, a local ghost tour is a spooky idea. Try Decatur, Lawrenceville and Roswell Ghost Tours or Ghosts of Marietta. 

Arts, Crafts and More

The outdoor piazza around the High Museum is alive with happy chatter during the High’s free-admission Second Sundays program every second Sunday. Kids and families love the afternoons of entertainment, storytime, performances, arts and crafts and museum tours.

Time for a Fair

What kid doesn’t love a good pig race or the thrill of Midway rides? Three fairs have multi-day runs in September and October, with specials that keep costs down. Gwinnett County Fair is Sept. 14-24, North Georgia State Fair in Marietta is Sept. 21-Oct. 1 and the Georgia State Fair at Atlanta Motor Speedway is Sept. 29-Oct. 8.

Gridiron Thrills

Cheering fans, marching bands – the excitement at a football game is contagious. Young fans who dream of playing in high school will have a fun time at a game in their school district. Do a pregame tailgate party with hot dogs, chips and drinks.

Booth Western Art Museum

Be a Cowboy or Viking

Western music, re-enactments of the Gunfight at the OK Corral, Native American dancing, children’s activities and a petting zoo are all part of the Southeastern Cowboy Festival and Symposium at the Booth Western Art Museum in Cartersville on Oct. 28, and free for children 12 and younger. The Viking Encampment at Barrington Hall in Roswell on Oct. 7-8 is a free festival and includes demonstrations of Viking weapons and fighting techniques, clothing and crafts and even a Viking wedding.

Hike into Fall

Go for a hike in a state park, take a picnic and make s’mores over a campfire. Find out about the amenities of nearby parks here.  The Chattahoochee National Recreation Area with trails along the Chattahoochee River is also a good bet for a fun hike.

A-maze-ing Celebrations

Corn mazes and pumpkin patches abound in fall, with lots of kids activities. Many have hayrides and farm animals for petting – several hours of fun for $5-$15 per child. Pick one from our guide. 

Archery for Fun

Kids love learning a new skill, and several nearby state parks teach archery or tree-climbing classes for $15 per kid. Find out more here. 

Organizing that Outing

Taking kids off-site for a party requires a little planning:

  • If it’s appropriate, let the venue know you’ll be bring a group.
  • Enlist friends and other parents to help supervise the kids; a ratio of one adult to three kids is a good one for young kids.
  • If the kids will be in a crowd, spring for identical T-shirts in a bright color or give them glow bracelets; make sure each child has identifying information in case he’s separated from the group.
  • Ask about pavilion policies at a park or playground and consider renting a pavilion to serve snacks and cake.

–Amanda Miller Allen

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