Fall means something a little different to everyone. For some, it’s the crisp air. For others, it’s the changing leaves. For many, it’s the seasonal fruits and veggies that really signal autumn has come.
Regardless, we all have fresh, fall memories in our minds – from pumpkin pies to hayrides. Here are some thought starters to help you make new memories that last.
1. Pick-your-own Fall Fruit
Apples, pears and pumpkins get popular acclaim at pick-your-own orchards. But there are other fruits that are worth picking (and, yes, making into pies) if you can find them growing at farms nearby: cranberries, grapes, gooseberries, kumquats, pineapple and quince.
Freeze, can, dry or otherwise preserve your sweet produce so your family can enjoy it all winter long. That way, you won’t wonder what to do with a countertop towering with softening fruit.
2. Take a Fall-veggie Challenge
Once a week, let each member of your family select a fall vegetable to incorporate into one night’s dinner. Depending on which part of the country you live in, there may be an assortment of locally grown produce available at your farmer’s market: carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, rutabagas, turnips, Brussels sprouts and more.
3. Host a Soup Exchange
Invite over a group of friends to sample each other’s signature soup or stew. After everyone tastes the collection, let guests take home soup in freezer-safe plastic containers.
4. Serve Some S’mores
A campfire is a cozy tradition for chilly autumn nights. And s’mores are equally comforting and delicious. For a twist on the traditional graham-cracker-chocolate-marshmallow combo, consider:
- Subbing in a different chocolate bar: nutty bars, peppermint disks, bars with fruit, etc.
- Spreading something tasty on the graham cracker: jam, peanut butter, lemon curd, chocolate hazelnut spread, etc.
5. Hit the Hay
A hayride, that is. Take an iconic trip around a local farm by wagon atop bales of hay. Or, find a nearby hay maze older kids will enjoy getting lost in.
Don’t worry about grass stains and dirty pants. Use Tide to help get rid of the evidence.
6. Make Selfie Scarecrows
Create one per person in your family, using old clothes stuffed with rags or leaves. (Don’t forget to accessorize!) Decorate your lawn or porch, and have each family member take selfie photographs next to his or her scarecrow twin.
7. Host a Lawn Cleanup Competition
Raking leaves and cleaning up garden beds for the winter goes much easier with multiple people. Challenge your partner or your kids to see who can fill yard bags fastest with lawn and garden debris. Incentivize the activity by letting the winner choose where to go out for hot chocolate or apple-cider doughnuts afterward.
8. Create a Leaf Streamer
Make pretty fall décor from an autumn material: leaves! Take a walk in the woods as a family, and have each person choose two or three of their favorite leaves along the way.
Back home, paste the leaves onto pennant-shaped paper stapled or strung to yarn, string or twine. Hang prominently in your home: maybe across a doorway or above a fireplace.
Here are a few more leaf craft ideas.
9. Find a Festival
Many communities host autumn celebrations featuring music, fall-inspired treats, crafts, hayrides and more. Contact your local chamber of commerce or tourism bureau for local fall festivities.