How to Throw a Fall-Themed Dinner Party

Rachael White of Menuism dishes tips on pulling off a party to celebrate the fall season

Fall in love with the season and host a fall themed dinner party.

For many of us, the warmth of summer has begun to give way to the crispness of autumn. In the coming weeks, we’ll be replacing ice-cold drinks with steaming mugs of cider, and bowls of ice cream with hot apple crisps and pies. The beauty of the season during this glorious time of year is practically designed for sharing with friends. Seasons can often slip by without much notice, especially for those of us with busy schedules, which is why a fall-themed dinner party can be just the thing to help us slow down and appreciate the grandeur of nature.

From planning the menu to picking a venue, here are just some of the tips for throwing your own autumnal dinner party that’ll have your guests falling in love with all the season has to offer. 

A Fall Dinner Party Menu

Fall dinner parties are so fun because of the abundance of beautiful, seasonal food. Right now, many of you are celebrating the joys of apple season, while others are still relishing vibrant, late-summer tomatoes. In planning the menu for your fall dinner party, look to the local foods that shine in the fall where you live, and showcase those ingredients in hearty dishes that embody the cozy feelings we all seek as the days grow cooler. Here are a few ideas for inspiration.

Soup is the perfect dinner party pick when that first chill hits the air. Not only is it easy to throw together for a large group, but the steam rising from a big bowl of hearty soup will also wrap your guests in comfort and warmth.
Tasty tips: Try a butternut squash and apple soup, or a hearty chili with tomatoes and a variety of late summer or early fall vegetables. Add a touch of cinnamon to the chili to add warmth without too much heat.

Roasts begin to grace the tables more and more once fall rolls in. They’re easy to prepare and hands-off for the majority of the cooking time, making them a perfect choice for a dinner party.
Tasty tips: Choose cuts of meat that have ample fat so the meat doesn’t dry out as it slow-cooks. Pork shoulder with apples and onions, or a beef roast with warm Asian spices like star anise make great centerpieces at the dinner table. Roast chicken with sweet potatoes and fresh herbs is also an excellent choice.

Spices & Herbs
Spices and herbs become increasingly prevalent in dishes during the fall and winter months. Sage, thyme, and rosemary help bring fresh flavor to slow cooked stews and roasts, while cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, and clove enhance warm desserts and make the house fragrant.
Tasty tips: Get creative with herbs and spices beyond your dinner party menu. Add thyme or rosemary to beautify a vodka martini, or double-dose a mug of cider with cinnamon and nutmeg to take it from delicious to decadent. You can also decorate with spices and herbs. Pile fresh herbs into vases or bowls. Tie napkins with twine and tuck in a couple of cinnamon sticks for rustic style and a lovely scent.

Fall Dinner Party Decoration

There are few seasons that provide as much natural beauty as fall. The warm oranges, reds, and yellows that splash against a clear, bright blue sky this time of year is yet another example of nature’s finest decoration. Bring this beauty indoors with a few crafty yet surprisingly simple ideas.

Wax-Covered Leaves
Hang waxed leaves from the ceiling for whimsical style and pair them with candles scattered across the dinner table. Martha Stewart has an easy tutorial on how to make waxed leaves here. Want an easier option? Ask each of your guests to bring five leaves with them to scatter on the dinner table for an array of different, beautiful colors.

Simple Centerpieces
Continue the idea of bringing nature indoors with various squash, Indian corn, leaves, and nuts for a rustic but elegant table decoration. Stack seasonal squash of different sizes in one large, simple bowl, or multiple bowls, plates and/or cake stands to arrange items at various for more interest. Accent the table with candles for a soft glow.

Rachael White, Menuism


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