As you wrap up your bucket list of summer things to do, you now can start making checkmarks off your fall bucket list. And let’s face it, from brilliant colored leaves falling to the sweet smell of pumpkin spice, there’s a bit of magic when it comes to fall. Whether you are harvesting crops or just seeking to harvest family memories, this ultimate list of fun autumn activities will keep you pleasantly busy.
1. ✧ Jump into a Pile of Leaves
Jumping into piles of crisp golden leaves is an autumnal rite of passage which should not be denied to the young and the young at heart. Just make sure that you’ve raked and piled the leaves yourself, so you are more certain the leaves will be free from small branches that can cause scratches!
2. ✧ Roast Chestnuts
Next to pumpkins, chestnuts are the quintessential flavor of fall. They crumble in your mouth, leaving a deliciously delicate and sweet flavor. So, why not make them at home? They can easily be roasted in the oven, but for an added fall bucket list challenge buy yourself a chestnut roaster and follow the directions in the how to roast chestnuts on an open fire article.
3. ✧ Decorate Your Mantle for Autumn
Vibrant colors of leaves in gold, orange and red can be casually placed on the mantel with pumpkins and scented candles perched among them. Keep it bright and simple with plenty of texture to give a warm and cozy feel to your fireplace. If you are on the less creative side, there are some pretty fall mantle examples on Southern Living.
4. ✦ Take a Fall Foliage Drive
Foretelling the coming of fall foliage is a tricky endeavor, but well worth the effort if you want to see the colorful dance of stunning reds, yellows, and orange. This color extravaganza is particularly breathtaking, so pack your binoculars, strap your hiking boots and strap your camera around your neck and get ready to fire up your Instagram feed with an explosion of fiery fall colors. To find out where fall is at its best, visit the Smoky Mountains Fall Foliage prediction map and plan ahead. You’re bound to find a number of destinations to add to your fall bucket list.
5. ✧ Get Lost in a Corn Maze
In a recently old horror film, The Maze (2010) five friends play tag in a corn maze only to be tracked down by a psychopathic killer. In most cases, however, the worst that can happen to you if you get lost in a corn maze is to struggle a little to get out. It won’t keep you occupied for hours, unless of course you’re in a maze like the one created by Cool Patch Pumpkins in Dixon California which was 60 acres large and won the Guinness World Record for the largest corn maze!
6. ✦ Throw a Friendsgiving
Friendsgiving, a growing tradition spawned from the custom of Thanksgiving has been a favorite among many. The mash-up word between “friends” and “thanksgiving” entered the Meriam Webster dictionary in 2020 and it is your typical Thanksgiving meal but just for your closest of friends.
7. ✦ Eat Candy Corn
Originally known as ‘chicken feed’, the production of the tri-colored candy corn began in the 1880s and has since become a staple of Halloween and fall. For over 100 years these sugar-loaded candies have been passed out to trick-or-treaters, so if you haven’t tried them yet, now is the time! Order you bag of Brach’s Classic Candy Corn before they run out.
8. ✧ Bring a Fresh Baked Pie to a Neighbor
Make sure you squeeze a little kindness into your fall bucket list. Modern times may be hectic and sometimes alienating but fall is always a good time to be a little more mindful and show some neighborly love. Pack all the tastes of autumn into a seasonal pie and show a little kindness to the ones next door.
9. ✧ Create an Autumn Inspired Cocktail
The flavors of autumn are many, from the taste of a spicy pumpkin latte to apple cider. Fall is also the time for cranberries and figs which pairs to be added to punches and sangria. Plus, it’s a time of hot mulled cider, boozy hot chocolate and apple cider hot toddies (shots) added to a cup of hot water. Take all these traditional flavors and drinks to create your own autumn-inspired cocktail.
If you don’t have all the cocktail-making gadgets, BARILLIO’s 7-piece set will get you started!
10. ✧ Tailgate at a Football Game
For those of you who never have heard of it before, it’s when you have a casual gathering in the parking lot of a stadium before a game (typically football). Time-honored American traditions such as tailgating speak of fall and are enjoyed by all – even those who don’t enjoy football. Even those of you who don’t go to the football game can still recreate the tailgate experience with some snacks and a few friends to cheer for your team from the comfort of your own couch.
11. ✧ Go Apple Picking at an Orchard
Visits to orchards are a typical fall thing to do, and there’s nothing quite as enjoyable as heading to the outdoors for some apple-picking fun. Colors can range from dark green to orange, bright pink and even a combination depending on the variety. Plus, each will have different flavor profiles. Be sure to ask the farmer at the orchard to tell you what the characteristics of the different varieties are, then you can decide what to do with them. Perhaps bake an apple pie for a neighbor?
12. ✦ Carve a Pumpkin
The fun of scooping out pumpkin guts is as good as it gets as far as fall activities are concerned, but you need to pick the right one. These days some producers have removed some of the guesswork by labelling ‘pie pumpkins’ and ‘carving pumpkins’. However you can find the right pumpkin for carving by tapping it and trying to hear a hollow sound, choosing one with a consistent coloring and making sure it sits flat. Once you’ve found the right pumpkin, push your creativity to the limits by carving out different designs from Jack O Lantern to spooky bats. Add candles on the inside and enjoy the sweetness of the light.
Don’t know what design to carve? House Beautiful has compiled a list of 52 ideas that are sure to impress your neighbors. Don’t forget to have an expert pumpkin carving kit handy. If pumpkin carving seems too messy or dangerous, try a virtual alternative – carve an online pumpkin.
13. ✧ DIY a Pumpkin Spice Latte
What do you do with the pumpkin puree gutted from your carved out pumpkin? Nothing tastes of fall like a sip of Pumpkin Spice Latte, and you don’t have to go to Starbucks to get one. You can one at home with some blended pumpkin flesh from your carved out pumpkin. Just warm any kind of milk (full cream milk, non-fat, coconut, almond – any you like!) and then add the pumpkin puree, sugar, spices and vanilla extract in a pot. Combine the pumpkin spice mixture with strong coffee, and add whipped cream on the top. Voila! PS: you can get the exact recipe at Inspired Taste.
14. ✧ Do a 1,000 Piece Autumn-themed Puzzle
So you’re indoors and it’s raining outside. Brainteasers are the perfect fall activity for those who enjoy a challenge, and completing a 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzle is one of them. The whole family can sit around the table looking through the pieces. The most frustrating part is doing the puzzle only to find one piece has been misplaced. Eaten by the dog perhaps? Who knows!
15. ✦ Visit the Local Pumpkin Patch
What better place to pick a pumpkin than at the pumpkin patch. It is one of the most exciting fall things to do for families because most producers also include other activities, such as hayrides, to enhance the experience. The best time to arrive is 15 minutes before the gates open so as not to have to wait in a long line or arrive too late to pick the best pumpkins.
16. ✧ Participate in a Halloween Costume Contest
Trick-or-treating is one of the best places to show off your costumes, but take it up a notch and attend a Halloween event where you can enter your ensemble into a contest. Not all is not lost even if you have nowhere to go, if there’s no costume contests near you, perhaps you can submit your costume to a virtual contest (yes—it’s a thing now!).
17. ✧ Attend a Fall Festival
There’s something magical about Autumn, with its colorful leaves, cider smells and Halloween activities. All around the world the significance of Fall is celebrated, from China’s mid-Autumn Moon festival to India’s Diwali, festival of lights. These are worth putting on your Fall bucket list, but closer to home there’s everything from the West Side Nut Club Fall Festival in Indiana to the Great Jack O Lantern blaze at the Hudson Valley. Fall festivals are aplenty, and chances are there’s a fall festival happening somewhere near you.
18. ✧ Host a Board Game Night
Stay in for the evening, get cozy in your jammies and have a game night marathon. There are different games for all ages, but Bingo and Scrabble are favorites for almost friends and everyone in the family (this bingo set comes with everything you need!). You can make it even more fun by adding prizes for the winner, like store gift cards, candies or extra TV time for the kids.
My favorite adult game night involves a few fierce rounds of Cards Against Humanity, but Smart Ass and Drink-A-Palooza will also make it a lively night. If you want to make your game night more family friendly for the kids then look at these family games. Still unsure of which games to play? Check out this list: Board Games Bucket List: 50 of the All Time Best Ones to Play
19. ✦ Get Cozy By a Wood Burning Fire
Autumn is the right time for warmth and relaxation—just imagine yourself in front of a log fire watching the dancing flames while sipping on a glass of wine or warm apple cider, rain outside and your faithful dog sitting beside you. To enhance the experience add some scents to the fire place. For instance, dried apple for a fruity scent, lemon peel for a sweet fragrance, cinnamon sticks or pine cones to bring the spirit of a pine forest to your home.
20. ✧ Plant Fall Flowers
Fall flowers like pansies, Japanese anemones and mums will ensure that your garden looks colorful and at its eye-catching best. Consult with your supplier to be certain that you make the best choices for where you live and to determine which perennials will flower through the fall months. Before making your decision, visit a growing zone map, which is a helpful guide to help you choose the most suitable varieties for your location.
PS: you don’t even have to leave the house to buy your flowers, you can easily get your pretty blooms online at Burpee.
21. ✧ Perfect a Soup Recipe
It’s time to get cozy with a steaming hot bowl of soup. Use pumpkin flesh leftovers or corn from the Autumn harvest and work on perfecting your best soup recipe. Some tricks to making great soup include roasting the veggies, browning the meat in a saute pan before adding it to the soup, using homemade stock and adding fresh herbs and dairy when serving it. We also believe that the real secret to creating the perfect soup is making it with love and care.
Perfecting your own soup recipe may take a lot of research in order to know exactly what you like and don’t like, so why not start with Bon Appetit’s 57 Fall Soup Recipes That Are Cozy & Warming.
22. ✧ Bake Pumpkin Bread
Super-moist pumpkin bread doesn’t have to be complicated, sometimes the simplest things are the best. Here are three of the best recipes to try:
23. ✧ Complete an Autumn Craft
Looking for fun fall activities to keep the kids busy? Just pick up pine cones, autumn leaves and anything else in nature around you and let your children use their imagination to create anything they desire from gold-plated leaf bookmarks to arty leaf prints. Go to Pinterest and YouTube for plenty of ideas.
24. ✧ Go on a Hay Ride
Hay rides are connected with celebrations of the autumn harvest. Originally, farm children would ride hay wagons to the barn for unloading the harvest. During those busy times, the hay rides were among the few times when they could stop to rest. City tourists to the regions found it enjoyable and by the late 19th century hay rides became tourist attractions.
25. ✦ Visit a Farmer’s Market
Take a break from your hectic lifestyle and practice a bit of mindfulness to appreciate the simple things in life. And there’s nothing more ideal than choosing homegrown produce offered by farmers themselves at a Farmer’s Market. Going from stall to stall, you become more appreciative of the produce that comes from the good earth. Visit the National Farmer’s Market Directory for a market near you.
26. ✦ Roast Pumpkin Seeds
Have you fleshed out your pumpkin? Don’t throw away the seeds! Just toss a cup of whole pumpkin seeds with some olive oil and salt, then place them on a baking sheet. Bake at 300 degrees Fahrenheit for about 15 minutes and you have the perfect snack for the season.
27. ✦ Get Spooked at a Haunted House
If staying at a real-life haunted house at one of the Airbnb accommodation options is not your cup of tea, you may enjoy finding a haunted location near you. Wikipedia has a long list of the top haunted locations from around the world, many of which you should add to your fall bucket list.
28. ✦ Sip Warm Apple Cider
Enjoy a steamy hot cup of apple cider on its own or just use it as a base for some autumn-worthy sangrias. Apple cider is the perfect drink for entertaining your fall harvest party or Halloween soiree. You can buy it or make it from scratch by placing apples in a pot and covering with water before stirring in cinnamon, allspice and sugar.
29. ✧ Take Your Christmas Card Photo
It’s never too early to take that family Christmas photo. You can never trust the kids being cooperative or the post to be on time, so get it done early. After you’ve got the perfect shot, choose from the many cute photo card templates on Shutterfly or Minted.
Need some photo ideas? Shutterfly’s 50 Festive Christmas Photo Ideas should help.
30. ✧ Make a Scarecrow
Whether you are a farmer wishing to protect the harvest or just looking to create decorations for your Thanksgiving dinner, then making a scarecrow is fun and easy. All you need are some old clothes, a mannequin or something to prop it up, a bit of straw and imagination. If it’s birds you want to scare, then you should know that the ability of the life-like scarecrow to get rid of them is usually temporary. To be effective, they need to be moved around every so often.
31. ✧ Have a Scary Movie Marathon
Nothing says Halloween more than indoor fall activities, and a scary movie marathon may be just the thing to take your mind of real-life scary problems knocking at your door. If you want to keep it G-rated watch The Addams Family, Casper, Hotel Transylvania, etc., but if you need something scarier then flicks like The Shining, It, Carrie or anything else would surely spook you out.
32. ✦ Go Hiking at National Park
Find a sunny fall day for a road trip to a national park. Enjoy the golden colors of the countryside and mountain air. Pack a picnic hamper and don’t forget your camera because you’re bound to see some Instagram-worthy natural wonders.
If your not sure which park to visit, see the US National Parks Bucket List: 61 Beauties to Visit in America. If there isn’t a national park nearby, substitute it for a local state park.
33. ✦ Tour Your Towns Halloween Decorations
Do your neighbors decorate their houses? Are there any particular streets which are hot spots when it comes to the Halloween spirit? Most people start decorating their homes for Halloween in the first fortnight of October, though early birds kick off in late September. It’s always lots of fun to tour the neighborhoods and pick out the best decorated homes.
34. ✧ Hang a Handmade Wreath on Your Door
For a welcoming entrance to your home, create an autumn wreath out of the gifts from nature you’ve collected on your hike. There are plenty of YouTube videos to help you in your colorful creation. And you can even adapt it later on by adding a few berries and glitter for Christmas.
35. ✦ Make a Traditional Thanksgiving Meal
Thanksgiving is a time to be grateful, and there’s no better thing to give thanks for than being able to be surrounded by family, friends and good food. Though many households have adapted to their own holiday meals, traditionally, a Thanksgiving dinner consists of turkey with gravy, stuffing, mashed potatoes, green beans, rolls, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie. Duplicate this tradition!
Delish has got you covered with recipes for all the classic dishes: 34 Traditional Dishes You Need To Make The Ultimate Thanksgiving Menu
36. ✦ Shop on Black Friday
Black Friday, the shopping day after Thanksgiving, is a day that is a win for shoppers and retailers alike. Since the 1980s, the day has been a celebration of sales with great discounts for shoppers. With these crazy good sales, the early bird definitely gets the worm, you may even have to camp out in front of the stores doors! Luckily, with the popularity of online shopping, you can also snag some deals without even leaving the house.
37. ✧ Host a Bonfire
Did you know that Halloween was originally Samhain, an ancient pagan Irish festival meaning ‘end of summer’? The Celts would light bonfires to keep evil spirits away because they believed that on Halloween these spirits would visit the mortal world. It was called a ‘bone fire’ because animal bones were burnt as a way of keeping the ghoulies at bay. These days, you can keep the evil spirits at bay but your friends nearby with a little bit of music, wine and song.
38. ✧ Burn Fall Candles
There’s nothing to inspire feelings of contentedness than candles releasing scents of apples, pumpkins, cinnamon, amber and spice around the house. They look adorable too in their little mason jars or twine-wrapped tin containers. Sweet Water Decor’s Hello Pumpkin candle is not just great for fall but for the whole year round!
39. ✧ Knit a Scarf
Fall has always been a special time for knitters ready to work on their craft in preparation of the winter days ahead. For novice knitters, scarves make easy projects and can be worn in a variety of ways to cover up any silly mistakes. Plus, those who master the art, won’t ever need to buy Christmas presents again! You can find several different How-To videos on YouTube, but this step-by-step video on How to Knit a Scarf for Beginners is one of the best.
40. ✧ Watch the Macy’s Day Parade
Every year, the Macy’s Day Parade keeps tradition with its festive balloons, floats and street performers. Whether you are able to catch it live or watch it on television you are sure to be wowed by the world’s largest parade.
41. ✧ Make a Gratitude Journal
Gratitude should be a year round thing, but its especially important in the season of giving thanks. Start each morning by listing five things you are grateful for. In the beginning it will probably be a struggle to come up with a mere five, being wrapped up in a world full of fear can disguise the good in your life. Think hard. Did you just drink a deliciously warm cup of coffee? Or did you connect with a friend by text? Or enjoy a heartwarming movie on television? There is always something to be grateful for—always.
Need help with coming up with things to be grateful for? Read the article Being Grateful: 100 Things to Be Thankful For Today
. . .
As you can see, fall activities are as plentiful. They come in beautiful colors, pumpkins galore and a bit of Halloween horror. Our fall bucket list of things to do is filled to the brim with all sorts of ideas to get you started. We suggest making your list that has you enjoying the splendor of an amazing season—just let yourself fall in love with fall!
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