Thanksgiving Day is well on its way — and you know what that means. Tons of preparation for the fun to come! You’ll want to keep everyone busy while the food cooks to prevent them from getting restless and storming the kitchen. How can you do that? Plan a full spread of activities to entertain all the adults and kids! If that sounds like a tall order, never fear; we’re here to help with some fun ideas.

Thanksgiving turkey on platter.

“Thanksgiving Turkey [327/366]” by timsackton is licensed with CC BY-SA 2.0.

Common Thanksgiving Day Traditions for Adults to Enjoy

When dreaming up what to do on Thanksgiving Day, you can’t go wrong with following tradition. Give these ideas a try.

Pin the Tail Feathers on the Turkey

Pin the Tail Feathers on the Turkey takes a childhood favorite to the next level, letting adults enter the fray. We sell several options that could work for your turkey, such as foam-core cutouts, bigheads, and wall decals. Or, if you’re crafty, you can make your own. Get some feathers from the craft store or find some online to print out. Getting the kids (or adults) to color the feathers is another fun activity in and of itself. Have enough tailfeathers for everyone to have a turn, and use tape instead of pins so that you can reuse the turkey every Thanksgiving.

Host a “Friendsgiving” and Have Everyone Contribute Something

If you’re away from family or want to add a little extra to the holiday season, consider hosting a “Friendsgiving” with all your closest buddies. You could even widen the circle and invite your neighbors and coworkers or have each person bring a plus one. No matter what you choose, ask everyone to contribute something to eat or drink and award bonus points for anyone who brings an interesting cultural dish and a backstory to share.

Thanksgiving Day table.

“Thanksgiving Table With Food” by Mr.TinDC is licensed with CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Turkey Trot

If all the holiday dishes have you feeling slightly bogged down, work off all those extra calories by signing up for a turkey trot. A Thanksgiving footrace lets you see your beautiful area in a new light while working up a sweat. You can walk, run, or jog as long as you keep your eye on the finish line and spread holiday cheer. Take it to the next level by wearing Thanksgiving-inspired gear and singing holiday tunes every step of the way.

Pinning on a number at Turkey Trot.

“Turkey Trot 5K, 1-mile walk gives runners chance to compete” by Fort George G. Meade is licensed with CC BY 2.0.

10 Best Thanksgiving Games for Adults

Whether you invite all of your family over, have a “Friendsgiving,” or both, you’ll want to dream up tons of fun Thanksgiving activities for adults and kids. Fortunately, you don’t have to go at it alone. Just use this list to bring on the fun and excitement.

Festive Cornhole

Festive Cornhole gets everyone moving, chatting, and cheering each other on, making it an excellent icebreaker. To keep things interesting, order a custom cornhole board using your favorite images or artwork. The cardboard will fit over an existing cornhole stand, or you can use heavy-duty, smooth plastic that’ll stand up to the test of time. Either way, be ready for the competition to get rather fierce as everyone sends their beanbags flying.

Gratitude Game

It definitely wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without pausing for a moment and sharing what you’re thankful for that year. And it’s even more awesome when you do so during the Gratitude Game. You’ll need a big bag of M&Ms, a bowl, and a chart matching the candy colors to the things to be grateful for. Go around the circle and have each person grab a candy out of the bag, and then use the chart to say what person, place, thing, or opportunity they are thankful to have.

Turkey Tag

Turkey Tag starts with the creation of tailfeathers using painted clothespins and a whole lot of features. With those made, all that’s left to do is pin two on each player and shout, “Run, turkey, run,” to start the game. All the turkeys can then chase each other and try to pull off their opponents’ tail feathers. The last turkey standing with their feathers intact is the winner.

Hay Bale Bowling

If you like bumper bowling, you will adore Hay Bale Bowling. This game starts with two long rows of straw bales to create the lane. At the end is a set of bowling pins, all standing up in their traditional configuration. The players have two tries to knock all the pins down before getting their scores and sitting down.

Dirty Turkey

Presents and dastardly scheming come together for the Dirty Turkey game. Each person will need to bring a generic gift to play this game. Give everyone a theme to make it even more enjoyable. Before everyone arrives, put slips of paper numbered with however many people are coming to the party and place them in a hat. Once you’re ready to start the game, have the person with #1 open a gift. The next person in line can either steal that gift as their own or pick a new one from the pile. Continue in that manner until everyone has a present.

Ugly Sweater Contest

Christmas can’t have all the awesome games, so steal the Ugly Sweater Contest for Thanksgiving. You’ll have to tell all your guests well ahead of time that you’re playing, of course. Just let them know to pick or create the most outrageous sweater possible centered around the Turkey Day theme. Then, create gaudy awards for tons of different areas, like “Most Offensive,” “Most Colorful,” and “Least Appetizing.”

Traffic Yam

If you have more sweet potatoes than you know what to do with, give Traffic Yam a try. This game requires spoons and yams for each player. You’ll also want to create starting and finish lines using painter’s tape. Once you say, “Go,” each player will need to use their spoon, and their spoon alone, to push, carry, or yeet the yam to victory.

Pumpkin Artist

It’s virtually impossible to play Pumpkin Artist with a straight face. To play this game, give everyone a hardback book, a piece of paper, and an orange crayon. Then, have them put the book on top of their head and the paper on top of that. Once you say, “Go,” give them 45 seconds to draw their best rendition of a pumpkin. Just be prepared for everyone to roar in laughter once they catch a glimpse of their drawings.

Rip It Up

With the rest of your paper, you can play Rip It Up as many times as you wish. Everyone gets one sheet of paper to work with and nothing else. Once you start the timer, they will need to rip up the paper into the shape of a turkey with tailfeathers and all. You can repeat this game with any shape imaginable, including pumpkins, acorns, and cornucopias.

All these things to do on Thanksgiving Day will surely be a hit. Take note of the most popular ones to roll them back out next year. Before you know it, enjoying these awesome activities will undoubtedly become an honored tradition.

Other Fun Things for Adults to Do on Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving activities for adults don’t end there, however. There are still plenty of fun things for everyone to enjoy, like:

Thanksgiving Movie Marathon

A movie marathon is an excellent way to kill some time and honor everything there is to love about the holiday. Films you might want to break out include:

  • Freebirds
  • A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving
  • Alice’s Restaurant
  • Addams Family Values
  • Son-In-Law
  • Rocky
  • Planes, Trains, and Automobiles
  • National Lampoon’s Holiday Reunion
  • Paul Blart: Mall Cop

As an added benefit, when you roll out the popcorn to munch on, everyone can keep from feeling too peckish as dinner slowly cooks to perfection.

Watch Football or Host a Watch Party

For many, watching football is a non-negotiable part of all the fall holidays, Thanksgiving included. You can either tune your TV to your local game or use a sports streaming app to bring up other competitions across the nation. If you’re far from your loved ones or even want to invite your closest bubble over, consider hosting a watch party to bring everyone together.

Receiver catches pass during Thanksgiving Day game.

“Thanksgiving Game-30” by TBlosser Photography is licensed with CC BY-ND 2.0.

Thanksgiving Crafting Party

After Thanksgiving, the wheels of time start roaring toward Christmas. So, to get a little bit ahead, consider hosting a crafting party to get started on decorations. You’ll need plenty of craft supplies, plus a glue gun for every guest. Have tons of craft plans on hand, or use your phones to brainstorm ideas before the glue starts flowing. You’ll love to see what everyone creates as they use their imaginations to harness the spirit of the season.

If you’re out of fantastic Thanksgiving Day activities to enjoy, there’s nothing wrong with taking a nap. Between all that excitement and a filling turkey dinner, you’re likely feeling quite tired anyway. Remember to set the alarm or risk sleeping like a baby through the evening.

Celebrate Thanksgiving with Cardboard Cutout Standees

All these fun things to do on Thanksgiving will keep you and your guests having a fantastic time all day and evening. As you dream up all your favorite activities, don’t let décor go by the wayside. Your party can only hit the height of perfection if you dress up the place and ready it for a great time.

Thankfully, you don’t have to put a lot of time or effort into the decorating process. Just order some holiday-inspired wall murals and decals to put up around your house. If you want to go the extra mile, you can get hilarious BigHeads or Standees to surprise your guests as they walk through the doors. Ready to get started? Let Cardboard Cutout Standees help you out.


  • Jason Frank

    Jason Frank is the Co-Founder and Vice President at Cardboard Cutout Standees. After 25 years of selling factory automation he started the company with one of his college roommates. The company has grown to one of the largest providers of large format custom printed products in the United States. Along with the namesake cardboard cutout standees, they also provide BigHeads, Point of Purchase Displays, Wall Murals, and Wall Decals to a diverse client base across the US and Canada. When not focused on the business, you usually find Jason either on the road biking or our in the woods and fields of western Wisconsin.

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