Fall is back. School is in full swing. Weekend calendars are dotted with soccer and football games. It’s a little bittersweet, coming after summer’s carefree vibe.
But once you resign yourself to packing away the bathing suits and sunscreen, it’s easy to get excited about the seasonal awesomeness ahead. It’s really hard to argue with autumn-cool air, cozy sweaters, an absence of mosquitos, and the tendency for nearly all recreational activity to center around eating.
What’s not to love?
Here are our top 25 missions before the crunchy leaves are covered in snow.
- Go apple picking. Think outside the Macintosh. Did you know there are over 7,500 varieties of apples in the world? Some farmers make preserving hundreds of years old heirloom varieties their life’s work.
- Have a bonfire Build one in the backyard if that’s an option, or convince your more rural friends to host.
- Do some fall grilling Because standing over an open flame is far more enjoyable when the weather isn’t oppressive. And they don’t call it the “harvest season” for nothing.
- Jump in a giant leaf pile Always good incentive to get the kids to help with raking.
- Go pumpkin picking Set out to find the perfect pumpkin. Whatever “perfect” means is up to you- the lumpiest, the tallest, the biggest.
- Carve a pumpkin Not feeling creative enough to free hand? Try one of these free templates.
- Take a walk in the woods There are few sounds quite as satisfying as leaves crunching underfoot.
- Get lost in a corn maze Bring water, wear comfortable shoes, and keep expectations low. It’s only a fun adventure until the whining starts. Find one near you.
- Cheer on a football game High school, college, or professional- it’s up to you.
- Find a harvest festival The best ones are sure to have equal parts food and flea market.
- Take a hike Fewer bugs, lower temps, and killer views. What are you waiting for?
- Go for a hayride Itchy yet nostalgic.
- Bake a pie Pumpkin, apple, pecan, whatever makes you happy. And if the task seems too daunting, buy a pre-made crust. No need to be a hero.
- Have a soup swap You could go all out and turn this into a party, or simply recruit a couple friends to make a large batch of soup (6 quarts works) and swap 2 quarts with each. Three kinds of soup for ⅓ of the work. Done.
- Host a chili party See? Fall is obviously the perfect season to stuff your face.
- Plant fall bulbs There’s no spring sight more welcome than flowers poking through the earth. What should you plant?
- Start a gratitude jar Throughout the fall, have your family write down the daily things, big and small that you’re thankful for and place them inside. Read through them over the holidays or just keep going.
- Plan (and execute!) Halloween costumes Need some inspiration?
- Volunteer in your community Not sure how to do that with kids? Here are 40 ways to try.
- “Adopt” a tree to observe Choose one you see everyday and take a daily photo to document the way it changes.
- Watch cider being made Or you could go all out and buy yourself one of these. Which leads us to suggesting…
- Make your own hard cider
- Make a scarecrow Keep a tally of how many times it scares the bejeezus out of you because you forgot it was there.
- Feed the birds They’ll really appreciate it.
- Play tourist in a nearby town Take a foliage-filled drive to a nearby town for a little lunch, shopping, and strolling.