5 Home Decor Must-Haves For All Of Your Fall Holiday Parties

Ready, set, go! It's time for that annual mad sprint from Labor Day to New Year's when the leaves change, we break out the sweaters and apple cider, and brace ourselves for trick-or-treat time. That's followed before you can catch a breath by Thanksgiving. For some, it's a favorite time of the year, and just making it through the last heatwave of the season is something worth celebrating.

To that end, what comes to mind when you think of decorating for all of the fall parties on the horizon? This season instantly makes us conjure up images of hot cocoa, warm apple pie, mocha, pumpkin-spiced lattes, and hot buttered rum. And guess what? You've just landed on a good portion of your décor color palette for the next few months, as you can see on the Pro Flowers website.

If you take a bit of time to browse the internet, you'll find a wide array of seasonal decorations perfectly suited for your fall gatherings. Some people like to place a pumpkin or two on the porch and declare victory, and that's fine. But we here at House Digest took a deeper dive — and here are the décor must-haves for your next autumn bash.

Table centerpieces

Decorating a table with fall elements is one of the easiest ways to prepare for a party. If you're the home-crafty type, here's a prime spot for you to indulge your most creative DIY impulses. Conversely, you could simply order readymade pieces online, as noted by WM Design House. And while you're deciding which most suits you, it's perhaps a good time to ask yourself whether you'll want to gather items over time that you can eventually pass on as heirlooms or you prefer the pastime of creating them anew each year.

An autumn-themed centerpiece is your first must-have for fall parties. It's almost as much a mainstay of fall Americana as a Norman Rockwell painting or a day trip to see the fall foliage. Some folks like the ease of the one-and-done wicker basket with nothing living inside. Or, here's where you can lean into pine cones, fall leaves (and there are some great options of faux fall leaves that will outlast most of humanity everywhere online), candles, and even miniature footballs if you're a sports fan. 

Others elect to create arrangements of living plants that need only an occasional visit to keep them thriving. Stone Gable will take you on a tour of terrific options. Oftentimes they include small gourds and such decorative additions as flowering cabbage and kale. Containers can be porcelain, wicker (which really gives off fall vibes), pitchers, or vases. And, you can keep what works for next year.

Pumpkins and more

Autumn is a time when we start to see the world in sepia, so take a look around your home and consider what you might put away for storage — and what festive fall flourishes you might bring in to substitute. Of course nothing says autumn (as you can see in the example above) like the humble pumpkin, per Global Web

These must-have party favors come in a seemingly endless variety of hues and sizes, not just in jolly Jack-o-Lantern jumbo proportions. Their range of options is so vast that you can place them in every room of the house, including your bathroom. That means white Cinderella pumpkins, sage-colored pumpkins, and tiger stripe pumpkins, just to name a few. Still not enough? Try the whimsical faux pumpkin assortment at Grandinroad.

But why stop with pumpkins alone? Complement them by curating your own fall party collection — one that can expand and contract as your vision dictates. You'd be surprised how well couch accent pillows, a warm throw, or dried plants in vase can evoke the imagery of fall and put guests in the mood to mix and mingle. You can start with something as basic and simple as framing a colorful leaf. (And if you're not crafty, the artisans at North Branch Floral will be happy to sell you one of theirs.) Fall-themed slipcovers can also protect your furniture at party time this year and in those to come.

Outdoor decorations

Weather depending, you can still host parties outside in autumn, so consider how you might decorate your outdoor space by using the color palette that's unfolding all around you. The hues of sunset now last all day long, and while spring and summer can boast blooming flowers and green grass, fall brings brilliant combinations of gold and red and orange and brown and green (via Bridgeman Images). 

So for the next must-have on your list: You need some fall color up front outdoors. An autumnal wreath is easy enough to make (and a terrific family project as well); The Pioneer Woman has 40 different ideas to put you on your path. Can't spare the time or feel as though you're all thumbs when it comes to making something from nothing? Not to worry: The folks at Darby Creek Trading have a broad selection available for sale. They and Balsam Hill also offer an assortment of faux wreaths which will last as long as you take care of them unless mother nature intervenes.

As you can see in the photograph above, a wreath is only part of the overall look. You can assemble or buy garlands, place potted plants like sunset mums on either side of the door, or place a few pine cones and fall leaves into a basket. If you scroll down the site at Nearly Natural, the vendors there also have an array of hangable art, including such Halloween-themed items as wreaths featuring ghosts and skeletons.

Dining room decor

Another must have for autumn gatherings: dining room décor. Start with fall glassware; Williams-Sonoma has clear gold-rimmed pumpkin-shaped options that are perfect. You can also buy or create cloth napkins, placemats, coasters, and tablecloths in autumnal colors (per Bridgeman Images). And, if the décor of your living room is neutral enough, you can put down rugs or change your drapes for the fall.

Additionally, we do have five senses, so don't forget the savory aromas of autumn. Punchbowl recommends that you kickstart your party with any of the candles that carry the scents of the season, and at the top of the list are apple, pumpkin, and pecan pie scents. If you're looking for a more aromatic and long-lasting effect you can head to Yankee Candle, which has one called Autumn Leaves and another labeled Crisp Campfire Apples. The nice thing about these candles is that they also serve as décor while creating inviting aromas in your dining room.

Autumn is also harvest season, so using late summer flowers or unshucked corn decoratively on the wall or in baskets is always a great visual accent. With all of these in place, you'll never be caught-off guard if someone has a birthday, gets engaged, or celebrates an anniversary while the leaves are changing.

Halloween decorations

No collection of autumnal party must-haves would be complete without a nod to Halloween; decorating for the holiday is a tradition as American as pumpkin pie, as noted by History. With the holiday being so over-the-top, Halloween welcomes you to bring whatever imagination you have to bear in home decorating. Many love the DIY ethos of heading to a party store and stocking up on items to tack up on the door, such as plastic skeletons and skulls, or creating a witch's broom out of an old one that's laying around. But you can also go high-end, even on a holiday with as much built-in kitsch as Halloween.

Outdoors, our favorite must-have is the Hammacher Schlemmer two-story inflatable black cat. If you'd rather purchase something more manageable, check out their lawn-sized replicas of Charlie Brown and the Peanuts gang trick-or-treating. At Popfun, they'll even sell you a yard tombstone set and giant bendable spider that glows with LED lights.

Inside, you can never go wrong with the haunted house look. Along those lines, you can bring home an utterly terrifying full-sized animatronic clown from Lowe's or a motion activated witch for your window from Hammacher Schlemmer. Best of all: None of it ever goes out of style.