3 Outdoor Activity Ideas For Fall Birthday Parties 

Birthday parties are just another thing that the pandemic has forced us to reinvent. 

In a lot of ways the pandemic has enabled me to revisit some of the things I enjoyed most from my own childhood growing up in the 90’s  —  perpetual outdoor playdates, lunches and dinners al fresco, and a lot less formality around birthday parties.

Since I became a parent, I’ve admittedly put a little too much time and energy into planning these annual celebrations. So with two, back-to-back birthday parties to plan for in October and November, I find a little relief that the pressure is off to coordinate food, dessert, decorations and activities for 20+ kids. Nonetheless, I still want to do something to celebrate a soon-to-be 6 and 8-year-old. While the guest list may not be as big as previous years, there are still lots of fun activities you can do to make your child’s birthday a memorable one.

3 Ideas for Outdoor Celebratory Activities 

  1. Movie Night: Who says you need to “drive-in” to go to an outdoor movie? Earlier sunsets create the perfect ambiance for a movie night! Source a projector from a friend, and set up your laptop and a white sheet on your garage. Just don’t forget the popcorn! Bonus points for supplying each guest with the necessary parts to assemble their own “car” for the drive-in. (Costco is usually happy to offload some of their extra cardboard boxes.)
  2. Obstacle Extravaganza: What better way to burn that pent up birthday excitement with an obstacle course? Put all those outdoor toys to good use (think cones and hula hoops), incorporate your backyard swing set if you have one, or host the party at your local park where there may be more open space to run. Setup the first course to give guests an idea of the possibilities and then let them make their own! Create a sense of team spirit by allowing guests to decorate awards for their teammates and opponents before the “Awards Ceremony.”
  3. Piñata Party: Who says piñatas need to be full of edible treats? What about chalk, bean bags or jump ropes? Once the piñata breaks open, guests will have plenty of new toys to keep them busy and entertained.

As we all know, fall get-togethers in Wisconsin are tough to plan for. It could be 80 degrees, or snowing. Don’t the latter get you down. There’s always the “Zoom Party” to fall back on. Send guests on a virtual scavenger hunt and create some excitement leading up to the party by personally delivering treat bags with supplies such as balloons that they will need in order to partake in the festivities. Sing Happy Birthday, turn up the music, and have a dance party!

What about the cake? 

As far as treats go, there are a few creative ways to keep the level of germ-sharing at a minimum, without sacrificing on fun: A visit from the Kona Ice Truck, a caramel apple dipping and decorating station; or my favorite so far, individually packaged and uniquely decorated, sugar cookies from a local artist like Jazzy’s Cookies to tie in with your party theme.

Ultimately, my October birthday boy didn’t even ask for a party, but rather to go on a family camping trip. Makes me wonder if low-key birthday parties are perhaps the way to go for the future, pandemic or not.

Katie was born and raised in Milton, Wis. She attended UW-Eau Claire before studying abroad in Normandy, France, and later teaching English as a foreign language in Mexico City. Katie and her husband Alex currently live in Middleton with their two boys Felix (2013) and Gabe (2015). Parenting threw Katie its first curveball when her son Felix was diagnosed with food allergies at 11-months-old. She advocates for inclusivity within the restaurant industry on behalf of individuals impacted by food allergies, among other dietary restrictions. Katie and her family have spent a lot more time outdoors camping since the pandemic started, and they are looking forward to their new adventure this winter as members of Blackhawk Ski Club.

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