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Fall seems to bring out certain flavors and feelings that only come for a short period of time each year. We love the coziness of the season — the hearty foods and comforting scents of apple and pumpkin. It’s time for all things fall. Find an excuse (or make one) to host a dinner party, and bring friends together for some amazing food possibilities. Pick one of these fall dinner party ideas and your guests are sure to be impressed!

Make sure to check out our article on 5 tips to throwing a great party.

5 Creative Fall Dinner Party Ideas

The best fall dinner party menu ideas! Find an excuse to host a dinner party, and bring friends together for some amazing food possibilities with these fall dinner party ideas.

Chili Cookoff

Not only is this a tasty dinner option, but it can be a simple one, too! Guests bring chili of their own concoction. As the host, you can provide toppings like cheese, sour cream, jalapenos, and corn chips. Make a big pan of cornbread and add a salad with pears and walnuts to bring in more fall elements. Don’t forget a pot full of hot cider and some simple pumpkin cookies for dessert.

At the place settings, print up score cards for each guest. Throughout the dinner, you can taste and rate the chili. The winner goes home with a simple basket of chili-themed goodies, including spices for your next recipe, a wooden spoon, a set of bowls, etc. What a great way to kick off the season!

Harvest Dinner Party (Vegetarian)

Fall foods feature lots of squash and beautiful vegetables. Take advantage of these seasonal wonders, and create a vegetarian harvest feast. Extra points if you purchase it all at a local Farmer’s Market.

On the menu:

Appetizer: Sweet Potato Rounds with Goat Cheese

Salad: Autumn Apple Salad

Side: Parmesan Roasted Carrots

Main Dish: Butternut Squash and Spinach Lasagna

Dessert: Maple Vanilla Baked Pears

Your dinner will be packed with rich, autumnal flavors. You won’t be sorry. As you set the table, use small gourds and pumpkins to decorate, adding to the harvest theme. This is truly a beautiful fall dinner.

Tailgate Dinner Party

When you think of Tailgate food, you often think portable, easy, and of course, tasty. Though you won’t be cooking on the go, you and your guests will love the casual feel of this football-centered dinner party. Find a night where you can share a meal and then watch the game shortly afterward. Grab paper products in your team’s colors. Make football-shaped place settings. And if you want to add some fun to the table, use brown butcher paper for a table cloth and pass out crayons. Guests, young and old, will love the setting for this meal.

For the menu, don’t overthink it. Make a whole meal of finger-foods! For the main course try some buffalo chicken sliders or create a “walking taco” bar. Add in some great sides like these tater tot skewers or some BLT waffle fries.  Mix up some guacamole or queso, add a big bowl of chips, and place it in the middle of the table for snacking. Finally, don’t leave your guests without something sweet. These pretzel s’more bites will be the perfect addition to this football dinner party. They’re super simple and allow you to get that campfire favorite in a little bite-size package. Invite your friends over, and enjoy two of fall’s favorite ingredients: football and food!


The Pumpkin Spice Latte. People anticipate its return and race to the nearest Starbucks when it arrives each fall. Now, people who love pumpkin spice are even teased about living the PSL – the pumpkin spice life. If you are a lover of all things pumpkin, there could be a fun dinner party in your future.

Pumpkin is often known for its presence in delicious desserts and sweets. But there are lots of savory pumpkin dishes out there, too. This fall, grab a few other pumpkin-loving friends and gather around the table for a fall feast.

5 Creative Fall Dinner Party Ideas To Impress All Your Guests

On the menu:

Appetizer: Pumpkin Pecan Baked Brie

Salad: Fall Harvest Salad with Pumpkin Goddess Dressing

Bread: Pumpkin Dinner Rolls

Main Dish: Pumpkin Mac n’ Cheese with Bacon

Dessert: Three Layer Pumpkin Brownies

This is one of the fall dinner party ideas that may be a bit over the top, but if you’re feeling adventurous and want to try some new pumpkin recipes, go for it! The dinner table could be decorated with pumpkins of various sizes and shapes and colors. You could add a small pumpkin to each place setting with the guests name written on its side. This is definitely a fun theme, so go big with the pumpkin motif!

Alternative Thanksgiving

Sometimes, we want to try new recipes for old favorites. Maybe you want to spice up those traditional mashed potatoes or give the classic pumpkin pie a face lift. Your family holiday dinner may not be the place to experiment with new recipes, but why not have an alternative Thanksgiving dinner party? You and your guests can try new twists on these well-known dishes. And if they are winning recipes, you might just want to trade out the old for the new.

On the menu:

Mashed Potatoes: Cauliflower Mash

Green Bean Casserole: Green Bean Casserole Crescent Cups

Stuffing/Dressing: Beer Cheese Stuffing

Turkey: Caveman Pops (Turkey Legs)

Pie: Pumpkin Pecan Cobbler

If your mouth hasn’t started watering as you looked over these fall dinner party ideas, you are a stronger person than me. Have some fun this fall and gather friends together for one of these great dinner party options. It’s never a bad idea to be with good people, eating good food. So pick your favorite from these fall dinner party ideas and try it out!

Jess Lyons
Jess Lyons
Jess Lyons is a wife, mom, and Resident Director to 100+ college students. Her days are filled with dorm events and bike rides with her family, and she loves the overlap of it all. In her free time, you can find her reading a book or enjoying good food with friends.