The fall season brings cooler weather, falling leaves, and plenty of opportunities for your parent-teacher group to raise the critical funds your organization, school, and students need. What fun, new, and unique attractions can you add to your fall festival or carnival? Association Insurance Management Inc. has gathered our experts and brainstormed several ways to increase your earning and fun potential this autumn.
Stick to It
Printing stickers for your fundraising event can be beneficial in plenty of ways. You can use them as proof of admission (saving the cost and energy of hand stamping people as they come in and out of the event). They also can quickly transform a standard item into a giveaway. And school spirit stickers make for great prizes. Plus, if you create a new sticker each year, parents and students can collect them and look back on the fall memories they’ve made year after year.
Bring on the Fall Festival Entertainment
You need some pizzazz to bring the crowds out for your event. Depending on just how cold your part of the country gets this time of year, you can have some fun along with gathering all those funds. Here are some suggestions:
Host a Cake/Pie Walk
Sure, we’ve all heard the term cakewalk. But have you ever participated in one? It’s easy: Gather a group of people around a large circle with numbers. Place the numbers around the circle either by gently taping them to the floor. Then, similar to musical chairs, play some music, and everyone dances around the circle, stopping when the music does. Whatever number a participant is standing closest to corresponds to the cake or pie that they win.
You can charge participants a fee for the opportunity to dance their way to a tasty prize. Or consider auctioning off places in the circle to raise even more money.
Get Sketchy with a Caricature Artist
Having a talented artist on hand to capture people’s looks can be a fun moneymaker. If you don’t know any artists that can do this, try asking the school’s art club or meeting with the art teachers. This fall festival idea could give their students an excellent opportunity to practice their drawing skills for an appreciative audience.
If you’re fortunate enough to live in an area with hay or cornfields, making an outdoor maze can bring in plenty of paying customers. Perhaps some local farms in your area already do this, and your group can partner with or help sponsor.
Don’t have fields of corn and grain in your hometown? Why not craft a cardboard maze? You can ask local businesses to donate boxes for supplies. And while there’s plenty of excitement to be had leading people through your maze, it’s just as fun for your group to put it together and decorate it.
Dunk on Everyone
Sometimes, the best moneymakers are the most tried and true. Who wouldn’t love to dunk their teachers or principal in a tank of water? Renting a dunk tank is a great way to earn money for your group. You may even want to partner with several teachers and increase the price to dunk the more popular ones.
Are Dunk Tanks Safe?
By and large, they can be, but AIM also offers the insurance your group needs to protect it against any accidental falls, sprains, and fractures. On our Playlist of Events, dunk tanks are a PAUSE activity. While your policy potentially covers a dunk tank, it is a high-risk event and requires extra precaution.
Paint (And Ink) the Town
Face painting and temporary tattoos are fun money-making options. From painting kids to look like their favorite superheroes to adding school colors to their faces before the football game, this is an easy activity for anyone to do, regardless of artistic talent. Just be sure to purchase allergy-free products and have facilities for washing up afterward.
Throw’em in Jail
A fall festival jail is a great fundraising opportunity! It’s easy — those that want to jail someone at the event pay your “festival police” a bribe to arrest someone for a fun charge, like being too silly or being too good of a teacher. Then, after getting their fingerprints, a mugshot, and putting them behind bars, the arrested party pays another donation to free themselves.
Take a Hayride
Partner with a local farm to create a traditional hayride to drum up donations. Riding in an open, horse-drawn wagon can be lots of fun, but remember to keep things safe. And just like the dunk tank tip above, AIM can be your partner to make sure your group has the insurance it needs to stay protected. For specific questions about your fall festival or carnival activities, and if your policy covers them, you can call us 24/7 at 1-800-876-4044 with questions.
There’s a reason parent-teacher groups keep coming back to dances with bands or live DJs for fundraising. They’re easy to sell to the public and are always plenty of fun. There are many ways to make your event even more exciting, such as using social media to get parents and students to select the bands or DJs that will play at the event and pick what style of music gets played. Or you could open the event up to student bands and DJs.
Throw Some Obstacles in the Way
An obstacle course can be a challenging physical way to raise donations at your parent-teacher group’s fall festival or carnival. Now, you don’t have to go total American Ninja Warrior on your town, simple obstacles like jumping in and out of hula hoops, running under a clothesline, running while balancing something on your head, or plenty of other low impact challenges.
You can either charge folks money to run the course or have runners collect pledges like a bowl-a-thon. And don’t forget to grab some awards for the best times!
Get Cute with a Petting Zoo
Everybody loves cute animals. So bring them to your fundraiser and let participants get up close and personal with them. Plenty of companies can bring a petting zoo or pony rides to your fall festival or carnival. Or you may try partnering with a local animal shelter that can bring their dogs, cats, and bunnies to your event. Attendees get the opportunity to interact with some furry new friends, and some of them may even end up getting adopted!
Snap a Picture
Create a selfie station with the name or hashtag of your event for attendees to use. Or provide attendees a picture opportunity with dress-up fall costumes or posing next to a fall-centric scenery. Creating a pumpkin, scarecrow, and hay bale photo set can add up some more revenue for your parent-teacher group. And, the more snap-worthy your event is the more likely it is to generate a buzz online and pull in more attendees.
Bowling for Pumpkins
Everyone’s bowled at one time or another. But how many people have used a pumpkin to bowl over the pins? This autumn activity can gather a crowd and may even get attendees lining up to try their hand at rolling the lumpy gourds down the lane.
Scavenge for Pumpkins
Much like an Easter egg hunt – but perhaps much cooler – you can hide decorated mini-pumpkins in a pumpkin patch for kids and adults to discover. A scavenger hunt is fun for attendees, but it’s also a great opportunity for team members and their kids to have fun setting up the scavenger hunt.
Set Up the Games
Every fall carnival needs plenty of games on the midway. Here are a few of our favorites that will not only delight the crowds but get them donating money to the cause.
Pumpkin and Gourd-Centric Games
You can transform traditional games like checkers, Connect Four, and tic-tac-toe with pumpkin and gourd game pieces. Running the games is simple: if the player can beat your group’s volunteer, they win a small prize. Maybe they get a pumpkin to keep things fall-tastic!
Creating a balloon darts game is simple: Blow up some balloons, staple them to a board, and grab some darts. The rules are just as easy: either give a prize whenever someone breaks a balloon or require them to target three out of three successful pops of the balloons.
BINGO is always a proven moneymaker. But you can make it Fall-festive by creating an autumn version with pictures instead of numbers. For example, pumpkins, leaves, a scarecrow, and different colored apples can be on the board, along with some great season-specific prizes.
Other Simple Fall Festival Games to Consider
From ring toss and corn hole (bean bag toss) to milk can toss or a prize wheel, there are so many fall festival and carnival games that can raise money for your group. Figure out ways to make them more fall-friendly or tied into your school or organization too.
Get (Arts and) Crafty
Your parent-teacher organization’s fall festival or carnival can give attendees plenty of ways to explore their artistic sides while also helping out your group. These are some of our favorite ways to keep things colorful:
Make a Mural
Place pens, markers, and crayons in several buckets for attendees to use and encourage them to help create a large fall mural on a large sheet of paper. They can either pay a small donation to be part of this art piece, or the mural can be auctioned off to the highest bidder when it’s done.
Color the Leaves
Print several blank sheets of leaves and give kids the opportunity to pick their favorite colors and fill them in. Perhaps you can create the best leaves of the season contest and provide a prize for the best entry.
Pumpkin Painting Station
Charge a nominal fee for attendees to decorate pumpkins alongside artists from your school’s art club. Painting is less dangerous than pumpkin carving and maybe even more fun!
Putty in Their Hands
Making putty is a kid-pleasing activity that’s also incredibly easy to do. For each attendee, mix three tablespoons of cornstarch with two tablespoons of liquid dish soap. You don’t even need to add any other color as the hue of the soap will color the putty that gets made. Grab several different colors of soap so that each kid gets a different color putty!
Get Your Fall Festival Cooking
Fall is about more than just cool nights and falling leaves. It’s also about all the food of the season! Here are some tasty choices for your fall festival or carnival:
- Caramel/toffee apples or a “Create Your Own” toppings bar with apple slices
- A hot drink station with coffee, cider, and hot chocolate. Don’t forget the pumpkin spice flavored cream!
- Chili cookoff: Challenge your community and organization to see who makes the best chili around. Not only can you charge money for tickets to attend, but those that enter the contest will be feeding those that show up with the chili they’ve cooked up.
- Food truck alley: Many food trucks in your area are looking for opportunities to sell their delicious dishes. By giving them a place to set up and charging a minimal fee, you can solve your food needs in a very convenient – and community-minded – way!
- A DIY S’mores Making Station: Have all of the expected ingredients – graham crackers, chocolate, and marshmallows – as well as the unexpected like peanut butter, dark chocolate, and jelly. Then, provide a safe heating source and sticks for parents to heat up the treats their kids have put together.
Don’t forget – you can always win over the crowds with cotton candy, popcorn, funnel cake, and pie.
Keep Your Parent-Teacher Group Front and Center
Make sure that you have a booth for your organization right up front where you can take the tickets, accept donations, explain your group’s goal, and even sign up new members. Being in the front of your fall festival or carnival is a fantastic opportunity to be face-to-face and show the community just how much you care and contribute.
AIM Policies for Your Parent-Teacher Group Fall Festival or Carnival
For everything that can go right at your event, there are just as many opportunities for things to go wrong. That’s why you need some protection.
From volunteers pocketing entrance fees and ticket sales money to emergencies like falls, sprains, fractures, food poisoning, and allergic reactions, AIM can protect your group from the potentially catastrophic financial losses resulting from claims related to the various fall festival or carnival events organized by your parent-teacher group.
We can also help protect your group’s property, like popcorn makers, PA systems, raffle prizes, and more against damage, theft, and vandalism. AIM has plans that guard your group and its members against perceived acts of discrimination, misrepresentation, inappropriate actions, and dissemination of false information.
For more information on insurance coverage and fall festivals, see our Fall Fundraising Carnival Video.
AIM Stands Ready to Support Your PTA, PTO, or Booster Club
AIM Insurance provides all the insurance your parent-teacher group needs, even for off-campus activities. Annual coverage starts at just $65/year, and it takes only a few minutes to get a quote and purchase insurance for your group.
For more specifics about what event activities AIM covers, read visit our Events Playlist. Have a question about COVID-19 and how it impacts your parent-teacher group’s coverage? Or, if you have specific questions about your coverage or other insurance questions, you can reach us at 1-800-876-4044.