With that said, I have a couple of center pieces to show you that you can make in a matter of a few minutes. If you have children you can take a nature walk with them and collect your supplies.
When I have guests I don't like peeking around a tall center piece to talk to or see them. I've always preferred something low flanked with candles on each end. If you have an old dough bowl or a trifle bowl, and a few things you can borrow from nature you're good to go.
The first one is made from an old dough bowl that was my great grandmother's. I've laid down a base of magnolia leaves and sweet annie and lavender dried from my herb garden. Next I layered dried fruit from Walmart ($4.00) with pinecones, walnuts, hickory nuts, acorns and moss, all free for the taking in the woods around our home. It smells wonderful and is a good alternative to the horn of plenty that my Mom always puts out this time of year.
The second one is small and still relatively low, made with the same items. The little pumpkins stacked on the crystal candlesticks are carvable from Hobby Lobby. I cut holes for the candles with an exacto knife and inserted the candle into the top pumpkin only.
Simple and easy for your busy week.
Just my two cents...