Host the Best Ever “Happy Fall, Y’all!” Costume Recital

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Happy Fall, Y’all! In October, my students participated in our biggest ever costume recital, complete with food, photos, and even some hilarious games! Spoiler alert – you’re going to get a few free downloads to help host your own fun and fabulous “Happy Fall, Y’all!” recital and game night!

Piano with autumn leaves and pumpkins

What did we do?

To prepare for this recital, I used my trusty Recital Planning Checklist & Timeline, which you can grab for free if you don’t have it yet. That made planning a piece of cake! I asked all of the parents to bring sandwiches, chips, and dip, to keep things really simple, and I purchased two ice cream cakes at Dairy Queen and provided the paper goods.

I asked the parents to sign up for “setup crew”, “food crew”, or “cleanup crew”, and since I had created lists of exactly what I wanted each crew to do, everything ran perfectly smoothly.

Decorating for The Big Event

My awesome hubby helped me decorate for the recital. I had gathered all of the paper goods, stage decorations, recital programs, certificates, trophies, game supplies, and everything else I would need.

We held the recital in the fellowship hall of FUMC Marion, Virginia, and the kids who are involved in the after-school program had carved these awesome pumpkins a few days earlier. How perfect that we could use them for the recital!

For the Happy Fall, Y’all! banner that you see in the background, I asked each of my students to color a letter. They did a fantastic job making our stage look festive!

Hubby and I covered the wall with brown wrapping paper that I bought at The Dollar Tree, I added a few fall leaf garlands, and that’s it for decorations! Super simple, and the stage looked great.

Happy Fall Y'all Stage Decorations

The Performance

Twelve of my fourteen students participated in this recital. Their parents, grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles, and friends came to support them. We had a ton of guests for this recital! The kids and I chose their pieces based on what costume they wanted to wear, and we had an amazing time!

I chose a unique hashtag #happyfallyallrecital for this event so that if parents wanted to share photos or videos on social media, the rest of us could enjoy them too, even if we weren’t connected on social media.

Here’s a peek at the program so you can check out everyone’s characters and pieces, with names changed for privacy.

My kiddos and teens performed SO well! And do you know what I most proud of them for? Providing a solid and entertaining performance, their stage presence (which we had practiced for several weeks), and their ability to gracefully recover from an error.

They recovered so well that mistakes were practically invisible. Way to go, y’all! 😀

The Recital Program

I like to have a professional yet easy-to-use recital program. For my Happy Fall, Y’all recital, I used the Autumn Recital Kit (to find out how easy these are to use, check out Recital Kits with Invitations, Programs, and Certificates — Just in Time!)

If you don’t want to print recital programs, check out How To Create a QR Code for Your Piano Recital Program.

2017 Fall Recital Program blog Cover

 The Photos

After the recital, I presented “First Piano Recital” trophies to the three young ladies who performed in public for the very first time. Then I presented Happy Fall, Y’all! recital certificates to everyone to commemorate this special event. Look how amazing their costumes turned out! Names have been blurred for privacy.

Front row: A Panda (this was her first piano recital), Beast from Beauty and the Beast, Snow White (this was her first piano recital), A Sneaky Leopard, Harley Quinn – Super Villain, Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz, and Moana.

Back row: Audrey Hepburn (I didn’t perform, but I absolutely LOVE an excuse to dress up in costume!), Christine from Phantom of the Opera, Twinkling Stars (this was her first piano recital), Sally from The Nightmare Before Christmas, and Adele – Singer/Songwriter.

Happy Fall Y'all Recital Costumes

The Games

Having a game night after the performance was something I had never tried before, but it was a huge hit! I scoured my favorite source – Pinterest – for ideas for easy and fun party games. Here’s a link to my Recital Ideas Pinterest board. You’ll see tons of fun game ideas and other recital ideas (decorations, food, and more!) on this board.

Once I decided what games we were going to play, I made game instructions and posted them around the room to create stations for each game. I also placed any materials we would need at the station, so that when it was time to play, everything was ready to go.

As the kids were finishing eating their chips, sandwiches, and DQ ice cream cake, I had them go around the room and decide which game they would like to play first, and stand beside that game station.

Here are the games we played, and a few photos. There were TONS of giggles all around, and I think they had a great time. **Update: My students are already asking when our next game night is going to be!!

Self Portrait

Materials: paper plates and markers

Instructions: Players put a paper plate on their head and draw a self-portrait without looking at the plate until they are finished.

Recital Games Self-Portrait

Chubby Bunny

Materials: large marshmallows

Instructions: Players put one marshmallow into their mouths, then say “Chubby Bunny”. Repeat until their mouths are full. Have a trash can nearby so they can spit out the marshmallows when they’re done!

Chubby bunny recital game


Materials: ping pong balls, foam board, plastic cups, duck tape

Instructions: Make the boards by taping 2 cups to the bottom to make it elevated, and 10 cups to the top. Players bounce one ball at a time into the cups. The first player to land 6 balls (choose the best number for your kiddos) in the cups wins! The kids who are waiting their turn can chase the ping pong balls that don’t land in the cups 😀

Ping pong ball recital party game

Face the Cookie

Materials: Oreo cookies (or any cookie you prefer)

Instructions: Players place a cookie on their forehead and move it into their mouths without touching it with their hands. This is one of my favorite pictures from the entire night! Such concentration and strength in the facial muscles!!! 😂 Oh how I love these kids ❤️

Face the Cookie Recital Party Game

Chocolate Unicorn

Materials: Oreo cookies (or any cookie you prefer)

Instructions: Players stack 10 cookies onto their foreheads. The first one to 10 wins! I used dollar store plastic tablecloths taped to the floor to help with cleanup. #bestideaever

Chocolate Unicorn Recital Party Game

Ping Pong Scoop

Materials: 6 ping pong balls per player, 1 plastic spoon per player, 2 bowls per player

Instructions: Players put the spoon in their mouths and try to scoop 6 ping pong balls from one bowl to the other without touching the bowls or the spoon with their hands. Of course we made exceptions for the little ones. The first one to succeed wins!

Ping Pong Scoop Recital Party Game

Hubby and I ended the evening with a fun photo in front of the beautiful banner ❤️

Melody & Greg Audrey Hepburn Recital Photo

Gifts for you!

  1. If you haven’t already downloaded the extremely thorough and helpful Recital Planning Checklist & Timeline, you can grab it for free at the link.
  2. Looking for gift ideas for your students? Here’s a list of over 50 affordable gift ideas!
  3. Free game station signs! Click here to sign up for the free resource library and newsletter, and you can access the signs we posted at each game station. Includes a customizable page for your studio-specific games!

Oh – and don’t forget to stop by the shop and pick up one of several editable Piano Recital Kits! The kits include recital program templates, certificates, and invitations and makes recital preparation quick and easy!


More blog posts about recital prep:

























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Melody Payne

Melody Payne

Dr. Melody Payne is a pianist, teacher, and educational resource author who believes that all piano students deserve the best musical experiences possible, in every single lesson. Melody self-publishes pedagogical materials for piano students as well as piano teaching articles and professional development courses for piano teachers. She holds a Doctor of Philosophy in Music with emphases in music education and piano pedagogy and a Master of Music in Piano Pedagogy from Louisiana State University, and a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance from William Carey University in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. She is a Nationally Certified Teacher of Music through the Music Teachers National Association. Melody and her husband Greg live in Marion, Virginia, a small town nestled in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, where she teaches children and adults of all ages and abilities in her online piano studio.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Karissa

    What a fun night!! If I plan an event like this for my students, I will have to use your checklist and sign-up suggestions!

    1. Melody Payne

      Thanks, Karissa! We had such a fun night. Hope your recital goes fabulously too!

Leave a Reply


Hi! I’m Melody Payne, a pianist and piano teacher, educational resource author, a fun-loving wife to the most wonderful and talented hubby I could ask for, and a lifelong learner who loves to share. I want to make your life as a music teacher easier by writing and sharing helpful and relevant music teaching articles, and by creating educational resources with your very own students in mind. If you are a parent who wants to enroll your child in piano lessons, I’d love for us to get started building those skills that can give your child a lifetime of musical enjoyment!

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