25 Magical Things to do in Fall
Ah... autumn, with its stunning colours, mellow fruitfulness and its quaint beauty. The season of autumn is frequently underrated. For some, it’s a real treat to hear the sounds of crisp leaves upon the ground, the smell of chimneys smoking, the mysterious foggy scenes and the charm that autumn so easily exudes.
It’s All About the Memories You Make
Autumn is a time when we batten down the hatches and hide away from whirring gales. It’s a poignant time of year, a time of celebration, remembrance and of ancient traditions. The season of autumn brings with it a chill and can be rather gloomy too, but it’s also full of magic and adventure if you know where to find it. If you haven’t seen your wellies in a while, now would be the time to hunt them out, along with waterproofs and a warm hat.
I have compiled a list of fun activities and things that most families can enjoy together. There are the odd ‘adult only’ events, but hey, who doesn’t need to be a little more grown up once in a while?
There is also a selection of activities you can do that will help you to create your own family traditions and to enjoy them every year. Feel free to adapt them, mould them, add to them and share them with your loved ones.
Go Camping Underneath the Stars
Camping is a fantastic activity to do and doesn’t necessarily need to be expensive. You don’t need to own a tent to go camping, you could borrow one instead. If you don’t have a safe back garden to use, see if you could organise a camp out at a friend’s garden, land or at an extended family member’s home. Part of the adventure is in the planning.
For those of you with younger children, why not camp indoors? Make your most creative tent, get some torches out and tell some stories to the little dears as they gently drift off to sleep. Of course, you may end up awake all night, but you’ll have helped a child’s wish come true and that’s what making happy memories is all about.
Make a Scarecrow or Guy
Find some tatty clothes, tie some socks on to the bottom of an old pair of trousers and fill the outfit up with straw, newspaper or dried grass. Make a head and a face, and find out an old hat for it to wear. This is a great family activity for everyone. You can use the Guy for a bonfire event or use it to decorate your garden for Halloween.
Name your scarecrow and surround it with pumpkins, make it a display for friends and neighbours to see. Or even better, arrange a Guy or scarecrow competition on your street and enjoy some community spirit.
Set the Mood
Think autumnal scents like spice, cinnamon or apple. Make your own candles and gain yourself a new skill. Set yourself up in a cosy spot, snuggle up with a warm throw and a good book, light some candles and enjoy the lingering essences.
If you prefer not to burn candles, burn incense instead, but make sure you don’t set off allergies. Try to use environmentally and animal-friendly products. Use your local ethnic shop or craft market stall for suggestions of where to buy ingredients and the best supplies. You could even make gifts for birthdays, Christmas and weddings.
Sought out last year’s clothes and send off unwanted items to charity. Write a list of the winter essentials and track down the best prices for them. When it comes to warmth, don’t compromise on price, buy essentials and layers that will protect you throughout the winter season.
Arrange a special shopping trip but leave the car at home and use the train instead. Why not treat yourself to lunch too? But be sure to get all your essentials first before splashing out on little treats and don’t forget to shop in charity shops, garage sales, car boot sales or on Ebay, for things like blankets, throws and woolly essentials.
Visit an English Pub or Tearooms
Be sure to find a place of beauty, peace and cosiness. Sit by a fireplace to hear the crackles and roar. Order your favourite comfort food or treat yourself to a warm and stodgy pudding. Read a book or watch the world gently drifting by.
Village pubs exude autumn.
Make a Soundtrack to the Season
Get browsing online for your favourite CDs, download songs or hit the charity shops for music. Compile a list of your favourite spooky tracks, movie soundtracks or atmospheric music for that misty walk to work.To help children adjust back to dark evenings, compile a playlist of relaxing music for them to read or dream to.
If you plan to download music, set a budget. It’s so easy to get carried away!
Go for an Autumn Walk
Dig out your walking boots, wear your favourite woolly hat, grab a camera and capture beautiful images of autumnal leaves. Gather some leaves to take home and do some leaf printing with the children or collect conkers to play with.Take the opportunity to de-stress, explore the area and enjoy feeling fitter.
Order some nature or wildlife books and encourage the children to spot birds and animals in the countryside or nearest park. You could even encourage them to take photographs and develop a love of photography.
Fall has always been my favorite season. The time when everything bursts with its last beauty, as if nature had been saving up all year for the grand finale. ~ Lauren DeStefano, Wither
Make an Early Start on Home-made Christmas Gifts
The Christmas countdown is on its way and it’s never a good idea to leave gift buying until the last minute. Besides, every year can get more expensive, especially if you are easily roped into buying commercial junk. So, simply avoid it, make a plan and do a home-made Christmas. Try to get started in autumn, or you could end up running out of time, dependent on what you decide to make.Here are just a few suggestions:
- A chalkboard mug (see it on Pinterest)
- Instagram Coasters
- A family or pet key chain
- Home-made play doh
- A sewing kit in a jar
- Home-made biscuits/cookies
- Scented lavender bags
- Travel Art kits
Autumn Festivals and Markets
Look in newspapers, local noticeboards or online to find out what local events are happening in autumn. Book tickets for seasonal events or shows. Enjoy seasonal displays and in-season fruits and veggies. If there are no festivals nearby, visit your local farm shop and stock up with supplies or gifts for winter.
Shopping locally and supporting local businesses feels good!
Get Your Hands Dirty
Work is never quite finished in the garden. There’s always something needs pruning, weeding, potting or mowing.
- Autumn is a time to prepare your garden for the colder months of the year and so, why not make it a family activity?
- Remove shading from your greenhouse, to maximise light intake.
- Spring clean the greenhouse or shed.
- Tidy up your borders and edges.
- Create a compost heap for bugs and wildlife to use over winter.
- Make a leaf mould – scoop up dead leaves and tear them up, spread over your soil and let them create a great compost for your soil.
- Build a bug hotel.
- Harvest your sunflowers seeds for the bird feeders or to eat.
- Remove old nest boxes/bird boxes – Use boiling water to kill parasites and germs. Let the box dry out thoroughly before replacing the lid. Unhated eggs can only be removed legally between August and January. Fill with dry hay or straw and replace in old position so that bugs or small mammals may hibernate in it throughout winter.
- Fill the compost bin with all the dead weeds, finished plants or leaves.
- Plant Hyacinth bulbs to give as a gift for Christmas.
Gather round a wood burner or safe bonfire. Wear woolly hats, scarves, gloves and a pair of waterproof wellies. If it’s a clear night, point out stars and planets. You could even use a telescope. Let the children use torches, sing some songs, share stories and roast marshmallows or corn on the cob. Hear the sounds of creatures rustling in the darkness and ask the children to try to name them all.
Your children will be living a dream.
Have a Horror Movie Session
My favourite Halloween movie is Hocus Pocus. I love watching it as it brings back happy memories of my childhood.Make a list of your favourite Halloween movies and make it a plan to watch them back to back one day or evening. Fetch out duvets or blankets, make some popcorn or cinnamon goodies, dim the lights, light tea lights and enjoy the spooky atmosphere.
For younger children, select their favourite creepy shows and make sure they are suitable for easily scared and delicate minds.
Organise an Autumn Scavenger hunt
Buy, make or collect spooky objects for your scavenger hunt (make sure there are enough for each person), scatter them in your back garden or on a favourite outdoor walk, spread clues at certain checkpoints and hand out a list of the items that each person must try to find. Invite family or friends to join in and arrange a time to set off on the hunt. Make sure you set a cut-off time to return home. Make a prize for those who manage to find everything on the list and a funny prize for those who don’t.
You could even make it a fancy dress competition and be creative.
DIY Autumn Decorations
Why wait until December for these kinds of activities when you have this season to enjoy too? Celebrate everything about autumn and use remembrance and gratitude as your main themes.Find a discount craft store and stock up on craft bits and bobs. Alternatively, gather free resources like pine cones, sticks, leaves, feathers and stones from nature. Use newspapers or an old tablecloth to protect surfaces and enjoy crafting.
Here are a few things you could make:
- Autumn play doh
- Leaf printing
- Owl printing
- Twig Weaving
- Wool/yarn pumpkins
- Apple printing
- Jam jar candle holders
- Autumn tree collage
- Autumn rainmaker
- Glitter pinecones
Locate your nearest apple orchard and ask if they allow members of the public to visit and pick apples. Take baskets with you for the children; they’ll enjoy participating.
On you return, gather recipes of your favourite seasonal meals, like apple pie, cider, jams, crumble and sauces. Make a mess, have fun, take photos for memories and share your work on social media. Enjoy working as a team and the end results.
Eating food we pick from nature helps give us a sense of pride.
There is some fantastic pumpkin carving ideas on various websites. You could visit a local farm shop, market or allotment to pick out your pumpkins.
Buy some tea light candles or battery-operated ones to put in the centre of your pumpkins.
Let the children scoop the inside of the pumpkin out and remember to keep the mush and seeds for recipes or the local ducks at the pond (they love them).
Compost the pumpkin when its life is over.
Use spices and ingredients that remind you of autumn. Find recipes involving things like apples, plums, squash, pairs, cinnamon, toffee or treacle.
Make it a plan for the whole family to try out new foods, try to be daring and find a new favourite dish.
Bake loaves to freeze for winter and practise making edible gifts for Christmas too.Here are a few autumn cooking & baking ideas:
- Pumpkin Muffins
- Autumn Fruit Crumble
- Creamy Pumpkin Soup
- Ginger Pudding
- Pork with cider and apricots
- Chilli con Carne
- Apple Pie
- Hazelnut and ale cake
- Parsnip, parmesan and sage bread
- Parsnip and apple soup
Host a Home-Made Halloween Party
Set the rules before you invite your guests and inform everyone that it will be a home-made party. Invite your guests to make a plate of something creepy but delicious and ask for a bottle of something nice per family to share.
Make up some goody bags for the children and create a playlist of scary tunes to play in the background of your party.
Research and learn how to play games such as Bobbin for apples, Pass the Apple, Snapp Apple, Ghost in the Graveyard or Barm Brack. Pre-warn your neighbours that things might be a little noisy or invite them around to join in with the fun.
Visit an Auction or Go Vintage Shopping
Visit you local charity shops, flee-markets, car boot sales, antique sellers or auctions and see if you can find some bargains. Take with you a Christmas list and a camera, just in case you spot something you think you could get cheaper elsewhere.
You don’t need to purchase anything on your visit and can feel free to enjoy a good browse, but if you do buy, make sure you’re not afraid to barter!
Yes, this is an adult only event and a chance to be a little more sophisticated. Why not?
Find out where your local vineyard is, or a local wine seller and book a time to taste some wines. Enjoy the experience, enjoy the ‘alone’ time.
Make sure you have a non-drinker or taxi booked to deliver you back home once your visit is over.
Invest in a foraging book and a pair of wellies, and go on the hunt for nature’s finest finds. But be careful not to pick too many of one fruit or plant, you must adhere to foraging rules and the law.
Always check that seeds, fruit and mushrooms are edible, before adding them to recipes.
Dig out your favourite recipes or go shopping for new ones. If you don’t own your own recipe journal, now may be the right time to make or buy one. Play around with ingredients, ask your friends and family to recommend their favourites and record them to re-use every year.
Hunt around at charity shops for some nice soup bowls and bake your own rustic bread rolls to dip in your delicious concoctions.
Oktoberfest is the world’s largest Volksfest (beer festival and travelling funfair).
Make your own Oktoberfest by gathering friends and family to try out german food, drink local brews and home-made beverages, German dancing and music. Make toffee apples for the children and get the music playing.
This is a great excuse to have some fun.
Visit Your Local Attractions
Tourist attractions get so packed full of people during the school holidays and sometimes all we really crave is a little peace. Autumn is the perfect time to explore a museum, art gallery, library or places of interest, whilst enjoying the lack of the masses.
Your investment in local attractions will benefit the local economy and it’s a great excuse to get out of the cold.
Before planning a bonfire event, consider local wildlife, neighbours and noise. Opt to plan a ‘greener’ event. Give the children glowsticks to hold, hang some pretty lanterns up for decoration and share a BBQ. If you can’t have a bonfire, use a wood burner or outdoor chimney.
If you do prefer to see larger displays, book tickets to a locally organised event.
One a final note…
Christmas isn’t the only season of goodwill and festivities. Some of the above activities only happen once a year, so make the most of them, make them spectacular and enjoy making happy memories.
© 2015 Lyra Wildwood