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Harvest Festivals

Tuesday, October 18, 2011 @ 10:10 AM Karen Hood

Harvest festivals are a wonderful way to enjoy the autumn season for those who do not celebrate Halloween for religious reasons, or who simply don’t like to be scared.

Decorations concentrate on rich fall colors of gold, yellow, orange, red, and earthy brown. Pumpkins, corn stalks, apples, and colorful fall leaves can be incorporated into the décor to invoke a welcoming, harvest atmosphere. You can even go farther and make your home look like a farm—try bales of hay, friendly-looking scarecrows, horse or chicken themed pictures and items, rustic gingham prints, straw hats, and other items that can be found on a farm.

Food should concentrate on traditional autumn fare like apple cider, roasted pumpkin seeds, oatmeal cookies, zucchini bread, caramel apples, and popcorn. Hot, hearty dishes like soup and chili will warm up your guests. Try butternut squash soup as squash is plentiful at this time of year. Don’t forget that Halloween Delights, the fabulous cookbook by experienced chef Karen Jean Matsko Hood, contains a host of delicious and creative recipes that are perfect for autumn, not just Halloween.

Some traditional Halloween activities can be easily adapted to a harvest festival. Bobbing for apples and carving pumpkins are always fun, and you can invite your guests to come in costume as long as they don’t choose anything scary. Wheelbarrow races and other relay games provide excitement and competition for all ages. Carnival games, like beanbag throwing and ring toss, are also popular at harvest festivals, and of course there is the traditional fall hay ride.

Don’t let the frights and commercialism of Halloween stop you from celebrating this gorgeous time of year! A harvest festival is good, clean family fun that will create treasured memories for years to come. Be safe, be creative, and above all have fun!

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