Investing in workspace morale is one of the best ways organizations can support employees, as it encourages productivity and boosts retention. While your company culture is hugely influential in increasing employee confidence and engagement, a well-planned seasonal celebration can have a similar effect.

Here are four fall office event ideas designed to encourage your team to collaborate, enjoy friendly competition, and give back to the community.

1. Have a Pumpkin-Carving Contest

Some 146 million Americans included pumpkin carving as part of their Halloween plans in 2021. This time-honored tradition is as popular as ever, which means you can build a fall office event around all things pumpkin.

The easiest way to have a pumpkin-carving contest is to buy a bunch of pumpkins, lay out disposable tablecloths to catch the mess, provide the necessary tools, and let your employees begin crafting jack-o’-lanterns. Stock carving stations with an assortment of knives, seed scoops, paint, glue, and decorative options like glitter, feathers, scissors, construction paper, and battery-operated tea-lights to bring out each pumpkin’s inner glow.

As for the judging, it’s best to keep things as objective as possible by putting together a score sheet ahead of time. For instance, you might have the contest committee (comprised of supervisors, employee volunteers, or a mixture of both) use the following system:

  • Originality: __ out of 50 points
  • Theme Execution: __ out of 30 points
  • Use of Color: __ out of 20 points

Award special prizes for the scariest pumpkin or the one that best represents your company brand. Prizes can be almost anything, like company swag, points towards the employee rewards program, or gift cards to restaurants.

2. Treat Employees to an Autumn-Themed Lunch

A free lunch is a delicious way to thank employees for a job well done. It’s also an invitation for coworkers to chat in the buffet line or eat side-by-side at the communal table — who otherwise may not cross paths in the office.

Use your Grubhub Corporate Account to browse lunch menus from local restaurants and pick out some fall favorites. In addition to some more expected options like apple pie, consider variations on these creative dishes that are distinctly autumnal, yet a bit outside the box:

  • Pear and Pomegranate Salad
  • Hazelnut Risotto
  • Butternut Squash Bisque
  • Greek Pastitsio
  • Roasted Mushroom and Rosemary Flatbreads

Ultimately, your order depends on what area restaurants are serving, but being open-minded about which recipes truly encapsulate fall flavors will create a more memorable event.

If lunch is a busy time for your team,  simply switch to an autumn-themed breakfast. There are tons of cozy dishes to start the day,such as pumpkin French toast, apple pancakes, pumpkin spice oatmeal, and delightful cinnamon rolls.

Remember to include hybrid and remote employees, too. Grubhub’s Individual Meals option allows you to set rules and a budget for free meals while giving work-from-home employees the ability to place their own order on the company account.

3. Challenge Your Team (or Another Department) to a Tailgating Cook-Off

The professional football season kicks off in early autumn, which calls for plenty of tailgating opportunities. Think of tailgating like a giant potluck, but instead of placing homemade dishes on a long banquet table, participants serve out of the bed of their truck or on a table near their vehicle. If you’re in a city, consider heading to a neighborhood park or even a rooftop.

Everyone gets to wander around—sampling each other’s food while soaking up the crisp fall air.

Tweak the usual tailgate setup as needed:

  • Swap out the potluck aspect for stations filled with catered goods delivered by local restaurants— focus on handheld treats, fall favorites, and traditional game-day eats like hamburgers, nachos, tacos, hot dogs, chicken wings, chips and dip, etc.
  • Divide the labor by encouraging staff to bring or order side dishes while management oversees the grill
  • Incorporate a chili cook-off or other competitive activities for more interaction and excitement
  • Pair tailgating with a company softball game or even challenge a neighboring office to flag football
  • Work with your AV department to set up TVs in the parking lot and/or broadcast the game—if there’s no game on and you’re tailgating just for fun, stream some upbeat music instead

4. Use Your Fall Office Events to Support a Good Cause

Underscore your company’s commitment to philanthropy by combining a fun fall office event with charitable giving. Choose a nonprofit your team wishes to support, then decide how you’ll raise money and awareness for that cause.

  • Build a corn maze on open land and charge guests to take a trip through. You can have a family-friendly maze by day, then transition to a haunted maze at night with the help of volunteers
  • Sponsor an employee team for a 5K, with walkers and runners sharing the team link to drum up pledges. After the run, provide a satiating lunch and company t-shirts
  • Throw an Oktoberfest-themed bash complete with Bavarian pretzel kiosks, sausage-making demos, root beer served in traditional steins, and a polka band. Donate all proceeds from ticket sales and concessions
  • Invite clients and vendors to a fall-themed lunch and ask them to bring donatable canned goods, coats, or other high-demand items in return for a catered meal

These fall office events give your team something to look forward to—perhaps even increasing morale—so everyone’s more happy, engaged, and energized to contribute toward shared goals.

Need help with food for your next corporate get-together? Cater your company events with Grubhub. Contact us to learn more.