Pool & Spa Outdoor Blog

Fun Ideas for a Fall Barbecue - Fall Party Themes and Ideas

Fall Outdoor Party Themes and Ideas


Summer may have ended, but the fall season offers just as many opportunities to entertain outdoors. With cooler temperatures, gorgeous foliage, delicious crops, and fun festivities, autumn is the perfect time to invite friends and family over for a backyard barbecue or bash. Here are three fall party ideas to keep guests entertained all season long.

Fall Harvest Party

Celebrate all of the wonderful things the fall season has to offer by throwing an outdoor harvest party. Invite friends and family to bring their best autumn-inspired dishes or consider having a harvest swap! Prepare for the crisp weather and shorter days by adding a fire pit and outdoor lighting to your patio or deck.

Harvest Party Décor

Decorate Your Yard for a Fall PartyWith all the natural colors and bounty of the season, it’s easy to decorate your yard for fall. Create a rustic harvest setting with these easy décor ideas:

Welcome guests and set the stage for your party with a festive display that illustrates all of autumn's natural splendor. Dress up a pergola or arbor with fall leaf garland, mums, and a couple scarecrows.

For a harvest-themed tablescape, purchase a piece of velvet or burlap from your local craft store and use as a table cover or table runner. Arrange a mix of gourds and potted mums down the middle of the table for a simple and festive centerpiece. You can also paint letters on the pumpkins or flower pots to spell out “HAPPY FALL” or “HARVEST.”



Photo courtesy of Frog Prince Paperie

Decorate your yard for a fall party with seasonal touches like pumpkins and mums
Decorate the rest of the outdoor space with seasonal touches. Pile pumpkins and mums around trees; place bales of hay around the patio (cover the hay bales with a blanket or fabric so guests can use them as seats); bundle dried cornstalks together and tie them to the posts of a pergola or gazebo.

For evening gatherings, add charming candleholders to the tablescape by cutting the tops off of small gourds or apples, then carving out circular pockets and placing tea lights inside. Drape throw blankets or afgans in fall hues or motifs (think plaid, leaves, owls, pumpkins, etc.) over chairs; guests can use them to keep warm at night. 


Photo courtesy of Worthing Court,
www.worthingcourtblog.com

To add more festive flair, make a garland of Indian corn to hang along the fence or deck: Plot dried ears of corn* (with the husks attached and pulled back) about 6 to 8 inches apart on a piece of twine or raffia. Once in place, use pieces of twine or floral wire to attach the ears of corn to the twine, tying it around each piece where the husk meets the cob. (*Dried ears of corn can be found at your local farmer’s market or grocery store. You can also dry fresh ears of corn by placing them in a mesh bag and hanging them outside or in an area with low moisture and humidity. Corn will dry in approximately three weeks.)



Harvest Party Food


From apples to pumpkins, the fall harvest offers a bountiful buffet of sweet and savory flavors. Create a party menu that embodies the season with these autumn-inspired foods and recipes.


Food for a Fall Harvest PartyCrudités - Visit your local farmer’s market and buy an array of seasonal fruits and vegetables. They not only make for an easy appetizer but add tons of fall color to your buffet table.

Editor's Tip: Dress up your buffet with mini pumpkins, leaves, acorns and pinecones. Include decorative food labels so guests can easily identify dishes (check out Frog Prince Paperie for printable party supplies).

Photo courtesy of Frog Prince Paperie

Harvest Chicken Salad – Give regular chicken salad an autumn makeover my adding chopped apples, pecans, celery, and pomegranate seeds (arils) to the mix. Serve with whole grain baguette slices or crackers.

Apricot-Dijon Pork SaladApricot-Dijon Pork Salad – This is a perfect transitional dish between summer and fall. Summer apricots and tart cherries add beautiful fall color and natural sweetness to the salad, while the Dijon mustard and ginger dressing lend a warm and spicy flavor. Get the recipe >>

Fall Ratatouille – No harvest party would be complete without this quintessential fall vegetable dish. This recipe features a medley of late-summer/early fall vegetables, cheese, and sun-dried tomato vinaigrette. Get the full recipe >>

Caramel Apples – Combine food and fun by setting up a caramel apple-dipping station: Display skewered apples on a bale of hay for easy picking. Use a disposable chafing dish to keep the caramel warm and ready for dipping. Set up a line of plastic bowls (with spoons) at the end of the table and fill with yummy toppings like chopped nuts, chocolate chips, candy bar pieces, graham cracker crumbs, sprinkles, and crushed cookies.

Recipe and photo courtesy of National Pork Board

Apple Cider – Serve this delectable fall drink in a pumpkin punch bowl: Hollow out a large pumpkin, removing all the seeds and scraping out the pulp from the sides. Pour in apple cider and garnish with apple slices and cinnamon sticks. Use mason jars for drinking glasses to add a rustic touch!




Harvest Party Games and Activities

Complete your harvest party with a host of festive fall games that feature the bounty of the season.

Harvest Party Games and ActvitiesCorn shucking contest – Divide ears of corn evenly among guests and see who can finish shucking their pile the fastest. Award the winner with a homemade treat, such as apple cranberry granola bars or a loaf of pumpkin cornbread. After the game, throw all the shucked ears of corn on the grill for a tasty treat.

Bobbing for Apples – You can also go for a twist on this classic game. Hang apples from tree branches by tying a string around the stems. Guests then have to try and bite the apple without using their hands. The first one to eat their apple wins.

Pumpkin bowling – Use a pumpkin as a bowling ball (pick one that’s not too heavy or too big) and use soda bottles as pins (fill them with some sand to weigh them down).

Pumpkin Bocce – Use a medium-sized pumpkin as the pallino and small gourds for the bocce balls. Very the type or color of the gourds among the different teams to keep accurate score. 

Photo courtesy of Frog Prince Paperie






Backyard Tailgate Party - Fun Ideas for a Fall Barbecue


Fall Outdoor Party Themes: Backyard Tailgate Party



Backyard Tailgate Party

Fall and football go hand in hand—and with it comes tailgating! Instead of heading to the game or stadium parking lot, give yourself the home-field advantage with a backyard tailgating party. Put on your best game day gear, fire up the grill, and invite fellow fans (and non-fans) over to enjoy a pleasant fall day of fun, football, and food.

Tailgate Party Décor

Whether you root for your alma mater or local NFL team, here are some ideas for creating a fun football atmosphere everyone will cheer for.

Ideas for a Fall Backyard Tailgate PartyCreate an authentic tailgating ambiance by decorating your truck or car with your team’s insignia and parking it on the back lawn. Add a pop-up canopy and portable chairs to complete the tailgating vibe.

Show your team spirit by hanging pennants, banners, and streamers that display your team’s colors and/or logo.


Photo courtesy of Amy’s Party Ideas


Football Paper Lanterns for Tailgate PartyFootball paper lanterns (pictured at left) and tissue paper pom-poms are another fun decoration: hang them at varying lengths from tree branches or pergola beams.

Put a football twist on seasonal items to liven up your décor:
- Use mums to display your team’s colors
- Carve pumpkins to look like football helmets and paint your team’s logo on them
- Transform a tall oval pumpkin into a football by painting the entire pumpkin pigskin brown and adding white laces down the center
- Make a scarecrow that resembles your favorite player, your team’s coach or mascot

Photo courtesy of Party City



AstroTurf Buffet Table for a Tailgate PartyFor a festive food display, turn your buffet table into a football field with this fun AstroTurf table runner idea from Uncommon Designs. Artificial turf can be purchased at your local home store, or you can use dark green felt as an alternative. To complete the look, use white athletic tape to add yard lines.

Include yourself (and your guests) in the décor by sporting festive football apparel, jewelry, and accessories like party beads, wigs, and foam fingers.

Photo courtesy of Uncommon Designs

Since the game is the main attraction, tune in to the pregame show while you pregame with an outdoor TV. Make sure the TV is positioned where everyone can view it. You can also rent or buy an inflatable outdoor screen if you’ll be entertaining a large crowd—or just want to really impress your guests!



Tailgate Party Food


A simple, self-serve menu of finger foods, hearty sandwiches, and quick-cooking fare will keep fellow football fans fueled from kickoff to the final touchdown—and prevent you from getting sidelined to the grill or outdoor kitchen. Tackle any appetite with these tasty tailgating food ideas and recipes.


Roasted Red Pepper, Ham and Parsley Torte – This delicious appetizer is perfect for a crowd, easy to make, and can be prepared a day ahead.

Football Themed Deviled EggsDeviled Eggs – Turn this classic finger food into football-shaped food by topping with pieces of chives in the pattern of football laces.

Grilled Sweet Potato Salad – This recipe is a delicious fall alternative to traditional potato salad and will pair well with any type of game day grub. Get the recipe >>

Sub or Sandwich Tray – Subs are filling, tasty, and easy to make. Wrap individual subs or sandwiches in napkins so guests can grab both and get back to watching the game.

Photo courtesy of Party City

Burger Bar for a Tailgate Football PartyBurger Bar – Burgers are a tailgating staple and easy crowd pleaser. Set up a build your own burger bar with an assortment of condiments and toppings to satisfy everyone’s taste buds. Take a tip from The Frog Prince Paperie’ s Touchdown Slider Bar and include labels so guests know exactly what they are trying—and don’t confuse the pickled peppers with the hot peppers!

Beer-Grilled Chops – You’ll score major points with these juicy and tender pork chops. Get the recipe >>

Photo courtesy of Frog Prince Paperie


  Find more crowd-pleasing football party recipes >>




Tailgate Party Games and Activities

Keep guests entertained before kickoff with a variety of tailgating games and football activities.

Quarterback Toss – Hang a 30”, a 36,” and a 40” hula hoop from a tree and write a point value on each one (the smaller the hoop, the higher the point value). Let each player have three turns at tossing a football through the hoops. The player with the highest amount of points wins.

Football Face Painting for Tailgate PartyFootball Fan Face Painting – Fans young and old will have fun putting on their game face. Make sure you have paint colors to represent each guest’s favorite team. Along with face paint, provide an assortment of football themed stickers, temporary tattoos, and colored hair spray–and see who gets the most creative!

Touchdown Bean Bag Toss – Form a small football field on the patio or lawn with masking tape. Divide players into two teams and have them take turns tossing bean bags onto the other team’s side of the field. Keep score for each team by tallying the yardage points where the bags land (touchdowns count as 0 points). The team with the lowest yardage points wins.

Photo courtesy of Party City

Football Bingo – Create Bingo cards with football terms and phrases (such as “touchdown,” “false start,” “field goal,” and “interception”) and have guests try to fill out their cards as they watch the game.




Take our survey to get a FREE download of Award-Winning Pools book for iPadFree e-book! See over 75 amazing pool photos in our Award-Winning Pools book. Take our quick survey to download Award-Winning Pools FREE for iPad >>



Q&A: Endless Pools Swim Spas & Swim Current Generators

Swim Spas and Fastlane Swimming Machines by Endless Pools Offer At-Home Fitness








While many pool owners in seasonal climates are getting ready to close their pools, swim spas are an option that allow you to swim year-round. And for those who already own a pool, a swim current generator can turn almost any pool into a lap pool.

We spoke to Mark Langan, marketing director at Endless Pools, to learn more about the benefits of swim spas and swim current generators, and get tips on choosing the best model to fit your needs.

PoolSpaOutdoor.com: What are the top reasons your customers purchase a swim spa? Are they more interested in fitness, the swim spa/hot tub combination, at-home convenience, etc.?

Endless Pools swim spa modern indoor roomMark Langan, Endless Pools: People purchase an Endless Pool Swim Spa for all of those reasons and more.

Our customers certainly tend to be fitness-conscious, and the ability to offer them an unmatched swim current along with the relaxation and therapy benefits of a hot tub results in a great combination.

The at-home convenience of a swim spa is a major benefit. There’s a big difference in being able to relax and exercise at home versus packing up your gear, driving to the gym or pool, trying to find an open swim lane, showering and removing the excessive chlorine, and then driving back home.


PSO: What is unique about swim spas by Endless Pools? What special features do you offer?

Endless Pools swim spa exercise roomML: We have over 25 years of experience building swimming machines, and we've carried over the same fully adjustable swim current we perfected in the Original Endless Pool to our Swim Spa. We've also spent a lot of time developing two underwater treadmills—one manual and one adjustable in speed, which can be added to any one of our pools or spas.

Our integrated treadmills are very affordable and add incredible value. Users can walk, jog, or run for a challenging cardio workout with the help of the resistance of water. Add in our contoured hydrotherapy jet seats, LED lights, and a range of sizes and beautiful finishing options, and we believe our Spa Series offers something for everyone.


PSO: Do you recommend that customers take a test swim before purchasing a swim spa?

ML: Absolutely. We pride ourselves on maintaining a deep network of demonstrators who can provide people with the opportunity to visit a local Endless Pool. The best way to experience the Endless Pools difference is to hop into one and get a feel for the swim current, the hydrotherapy jets, the contoured seats, and more. We encourage people to try before they buy because we believe our pools and spas offer the ultimate user experience.


See photos and learn more about Endless Pools swim spas >>


PSO: Which one of Endless Pools’ four swim spa models is the most popular? What are the determining factors selecting a swim spa model?

Endless Pools swim spa with hot tubML: To be honest, each of our swim spas has been a hit. Most often, the planned installation space and the height of the customer are the biggest determining factors for which size they choose. For people who plan on spending a lot of time relaxing with family and friends, the 19-foot Spa gives them the most options, with a swimming area and an attached four-person hot tub. The 15-foot and 17-foot models are excellent for swimming, therapy, and relaxation as well.

Our 10-foot Exercise Spa is the latest member of our Spa Series and is really starting to pick up traction. It is a great option for customers seeking a compact swim spa. We’re excited to offer yet another option for home therapy and exercise.


PSO: Does a spa cover come standard on an Endless Pools swim spa or must it be purchased separately? Are both manual and automatic covers available?


ML: Each Endless Pools Swim Spa comes with a solar cover included in the package. In addition, we offer three upgradable options—a manual retractable security cover, a bi-fold 4-inch insulating cover, and an automatic retractable security cover. Each of these covers meets strict safety standards.

PSO: How can existing pool owners benefit from a swim current generator such as the Fastlane?

Endless Pools swim spa Fastlane current generatorML: If you already have an existing pool, we are able to offer the same swim current generator that we use in our Endless Pools. The Fastlane® can transform a traditional pool, making it a spot for exercise rather than just leisure.

Instead of constantly bumping into the wall and worrying about flip turns, we can turn an existing pool into an effective exercise pool with our swim current. It also widens the fun factor of pools as kids love to play in the river-like current.


PSO: How is the Fastlane installed? How does it operate?

ML: We offer a Wall Mount for new pool construction or a Deck Mount for existing pools. The Fastlane Swim Current Generator rests on the sidewall of the pool and is connected to the remote power unit through hydraulic hoses, eliminating the need for electricity at the pool.

Operation couldn’t be simpler, as our wireless remote control allows users to easily adjust the propeller driven swim current with the touch of a button

PSO: Anything else you’d like to add?

ML: We appreciate the chance to answer these questions. We have a lot more information available on our website www.endlesspools.com. We’re also very active on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google Plus, so everyone out there is more than welcome to say hello and check us out!


Endless Pools above ground swim spaView more photos and watch videos of Endless Pools Swim Spas and Fastlane >>





Photos courtesy of Endless Pools




Pool Photos: Top 5 Award-Winning Pools

AWARD-WINNING POOLS: Top 5 Pool Designs







When it comes to swimming pool designs, there are so many shapes, finishes, and water features to choose from, you may not know where to start. We chose five amazing pool designs featured in our Award-Winning Pools book to give you some inspiration for your own backyard.






Christopher Anderson Custom Pool design perimeter overflow infinity poolThis raised perimeter-overflow pool features Egyptian glass tile and is surrounded by bright flowers, lush landscaping, and decorative planters. Its geometric design and infinity edge create a sleek modern look for this tropical escape.


Pool designed by Christopher Anderson and built by Bob Anderson. Photographed by Collin Guinn (bdpusa.com) for Custom Design Pools, Webster, Texas; Association of Pool & Spa Professionals (APSP) Award





Pools by John Clarkson patio deck mosaic tilePerfect for entertaining a crowd, this pool features a spacious deck, tanning ledge with mosaic inlay, and upper lounge pool with bar stools on the other side of the pool wall. Decorative ceramic bowls filled with rocks adorn each corner throughout the space.



Designed by Krent Wieland Design, Inc.; Photographed by Ben Brewer for Aquatech Pools by John Clarkson, Jacksonville, Florida; Aquatech Award





Dal Pino Quality Pools sunset pool spa gazeboWith two spas, a swim-up bar, and stylish gazebo with a fire pit, this pool has everything a homeowner could want in a backyard retreat for hosting parties or simply lounging poolside while enjoying the sunset.




Photographed by Keith Sutter Photography for Dal Pino Quality Pools, Inc., Auburn, California; Association of Pool & Spa Professionals (APSP) Award




California Pools tropical pool spa fountain bubblers rock waterfallThis tropical oasis features a beach entry, a giant rock waterfall, and decorative pots that double as water features. A large circular spa, complete with over a dozen fountain bubblers, makes this pool the ultimate place to spend a weekend.



Photo courtesy of California Pools, West Covina, California; Association of Pool & Spa Professionals (APSP) Award




G&G Concrete infinity pool lake viewThis vanishing-edge infinity pool appears to flow right into the lake it overlooks. A well-crafted design makes the unique shape of this pool a tranquil outdoor retreat.



Photo courtesy of G&G Concrete Pools, Inc., Fort Pierce, Florida; Master Pools Guild Award


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