The Thanksgiving dinner ideas that follow will help you pull your harvest look together for the biggest impact. Most will work whether your party location is indoors or outdoors or whether you’re decorating a gymnasium, a classroom or a home.
• Welcome your guests and greet your neighbors by hanging an Autumn Border personalized banner across your porch or over your garage door.
• Decorate your entryway by surrounding it with balloon pumpkins.
• Use bales of hay, cornstalks, uncarved pumpkins and gourds, dried Indian corn, a scarecrow, or candy corn in the doorway to greet your guests.
Set the right tone for your celebration by using simple but colorful decorations. Incorporate harvest colors into your decor: browns, golds, reds, yellows, and oranges.
• Hang the banners, tissue balls, pilgrims, and other decorations over table and other focal points.
• Jazz up those chairs by tying bows around each one with beaded chair ties.
• Never underestimate the power of decorating with balloons. Balloons can turn any space into a festive and inviting atmosphere in minutes at a very low cost. You need not use helium and will save money using this tip. Inflate harvest colored and pumpkin balloons, and tie a 5- to 8-foot piece of yellow, red or orange curling ribbon to the end of each one. Using scotch tape, masking tape, or straight pins, hang balloons down from the ceiling so they hang at different lengths. Curl the loose end of the ribbon with scissors. Group a bunch of them together over a serving table, over a doorway or in any creative manner you choose.
• Start by covering tables with orange solid flat paper. Group tissue pumpkins in the center, and scatter tissue leaves and a few foil-wrapped chocolates in fall colors down the center of the table. The orange paper functions as a colorful tablecloth, and the kids can draw on the paper if they finish any activity sooner than anticipated. Add baskets of markers to the table, and encourage them to make handprint turkeys!
• Create an inexpensive centerpiece using pilgrim hats. Select balloons and curling ribbon to match your theme colors. Inflate the balloons (always use an odd number — 3, 5, or 7) with helium and attach a weight to the bouquet. If you prefer not to use helium, attach the balloons to balloon sticks and press the sticks into a piece of floral foam. Turn the pilgrim hat upside down, add the balloons and tissue paper or metallic shred to complete the centerpiece.
• Use 12″ autumn leaf cutouts as mini placemats. Add gold metallic plates, gold plastic cutlery, and orange napkins. Scatter a little leaf confetti or metallic shred in the center of the table, and your tables will look terrific at a budget price.
• Tie bows made of raffia (leave long, flowing tails on the bows) around the stems of real uncarved pumpkins or gourds left over from Halloween, and place a few in the center of each table.
• For a more elegant look, use tablecloths and gather a collection of gourds, pumpkins, leaves, acorns, etc. Spray paint them with gold paint. Arrange them on your tables, and mingle some long pieces of wired ribbon (3-3 ½” wide) among the golden pieces. You could use ribbon that is either a wine colored ribbon or has a harvest pattern on it.
• For an original touch on your Thanksgiving feast tables, use a paint pen (available at craft and art supply stores) to draw little random dots on the handles of plastic cutlery. Utilize colors that coordinate with your decorating scheme. Tie the plastic flatware together with raffia or satin ribbon…big impact at a little price!