Hands down, fall is one of my favorite seasons. Special traditions and some of my most treasured memories have taken place in the fall so when that chill rides on the breeze dislodging beautifully shaded leaves from their branches, it naturally makes me excited.
Or maybe I like fall so much because I was born and raised in Nebraska and no one knows how to do fall better than they. Growing up visiting orchards, pumpkin patches, attending bonfires and taking hayrides were par for course when you lived in the heartland.
Whatever the reason, I love fall and all it has to offer. It’s beauty really has no equal and the crisp fall air has a way of making one feel really alive. If you don’t like fall or have few traditions this time of year, let me help you to change that. You are missing a wealth of fun and memories if you do not partake in this season’s offerings, especially if you have little ones at home.
Here are 10 things I loved doing as a child or plan to do more of with my family. I hope you can find some fun ideas for yourself!
1. Create a leaf pile.
I know what you are thinking, raking leaves is work, not fun. If that is your take on the “chore” then you have never created a leaf pile large enough to swallow you.
Growing up, we had this massive Oak in our backyard that produced a crisp bounty every fall. We never raked its fallen leaves to make our yard look nice, we gathered them for the sole purpose of creating a leaf pile big enough for the whole neighborhood!
Every year we tried to make a pile bigger than the last and, I’m telling you, it was MASSIVE! Kids would stop by after school just to jump in it. We spent every day playing, jumping in and rebuilding that pile until the sun set.
A free activity, hidden workout, hours of fun; what more could you want in a fall tradition? 🙂
2. Visit an orchard.
Orchards were a part of my life growing up. Caramel apples, apple cider, honey sticks; they were a given. (Funny story about honey sticks: my husband didn’t believe such things existed. I had to take him to the orchards in Nebraska to prove they did. haha)
There’s just something about being bundled in warm clothes while picking apples from a tree then retiring to the shop for some hot apple cider to warm you up. It’s nothing short of magical! Not to mention fresh apples taste amazing and even better in Dutch apple pie later on. 🙂
3. Pick your pumpkin at a pumpkin patch.
You can buy pumpkins most anywhere this time of year, but you miss out on some special memories by not going to the source.
Heading out to the pumpkin patch, spotting the biggest one of the bunch, seeing who can pick it up, laughing at all the attempts and then going with a more manageable size is all part of the experience.
Me, I prefer to look for hidden gems. White is my favorite color so I naturally look for white pumpkins. However, this time of year is all about color so nothing excites me more than to find a tiny, perfectly shaped pumpkin among all the giants.
When you take your pumpkin home, then you must do two things: carve it, you know, for Halloween, and roast those seeds! If you love to bake then I would assume you would like to add: make homemade pumpkin pie. I love pumpkin pie but I hate baking, so my list remains only two. 🙂
4. Take a hayride and end with a bonfire.
Many orchards are all-inclusive meaning you can most likely knock out the last three suggestions in one visit.
However, if you do not live close to one that offers all the above, make sure you carve out some time this fall to find someplace that does. Hayrides and bonfires hold a special charm so make sure to share them both with plenty of friends.
5. Attend a fall festival.
Our little town in Nebraska held what once was called the Kass Kounty King Korn Karnival. (Don’t ask my why so many “k’s” but that was what it was called. It has since then been renamed.) People come from all over to participate and enjoy the three-day festivities. They have vendors, food trucks, carnival rides and a huge parade the last night.
We lived only a couple blocks from the center of town so we walked down every day and enjoyed having so many people in one place. It was all part of what made fall special for us. If your town doesn’t do anything similar, check around. Some little town nearby may hold the quaintest little festival that could become your family’s newest tradition.
6. Collect some nature and decorate.
Now, I have to be honest, Christmas is about the only holiday I really put much effort into. haha However, when I DO get around to going all out for fall, I absolutely love it! The house feels so homey, especially when we have some Pumpkin Spice or Apple Pie candles burning.
Adding nature to your decor is not only a beautiful touch but is also loads of fun to gather and assemble. Give the kids charge over collecting leaves, ask a farmer if you can purchase stalks of field corn or a bale of hay. If you prefer something smaller for your home, these super cute straw bales would add the perfect touch to any centerpiece or mantel place.
7. Plan a Fall Fun Night.
When I was growing up, our church would host a Fall Fun Night for those who didn’t want to go trick-or-treating. It was the one night I looked forward to the most.
We had a costume contest, games with prizes, SO MUCH FOOD and bags of candy for every child. It wasn’t just fun for the kids, either, the adults got to enjoy games, cake walks, and conversation. And food. Did I mention there was food?
Now the activity is held on their new property where they offer hay rides and a bonfire. Of all the things I miss most about fall in Nebraska, our Fall Fun Night tops the list. Next year, I hope to continue this fall tradition by putting on our own now that we have a place large enough to hold a lot of people.
8. Make soup and watch Halloween shows.
Fall equals cool nights outside with welcoming warmth indoors. Why not plan a day where you make your favorite soup or chili, grab some blankets and cuddle on the couch enjoying some family Halloween movies to help get you in the mood for fall? You can have caramel apples and hot cider for dessert!
9. Plan a day of baking.
As I said earlier, I do not like to bake. However, there is the rare occasion when I try to enjoy it for the sake of my girls. Every little girl enjoys baking in the kitchen with her mother. And my husband is a pie kinda guy, so I DO try, on occasion, to cater to my family’s desires on the whole baking issue.
With that said, there really isn’t anything better than smelling cinnamon, apples, and pastries cooking in a warm stove while the wind howls outside your windows. Am I right?
10. Create your own tradition.
When your family is all together, ask everyone what they think would make a fun tradition. Each member of your family is unique and they may have some great ideas you might not have considered. Together, you can come up with a collage of ideas you can implement every fall that your family will enjoy for years to come.
What are some traditions you carried over from childhood? Any new traditions you plan to start soon?