Like any good east coast native, I’m in love with the in-between seasons. Those precious few weeks between the humid, sweaty fog of summer and the bitterly cold winds of winter are the place where all of the best things in life live.
Fall is my favorite season because it’s host to so many things I love. It’s the perfect light hoodie whether where you can feel as comfortable in short sleeves as you do in long. It’s the time when falling asleep and waking up are both at their easiest. That cool, brisk air lulls you to sleep and the dew-dropped sunshine and the smell of falling leaves greets you in the morning. It’s fucking romantic.
I know there are lots of people out there who see it as just a short layover before the long, hard trek through winter, but I’m here to give you many reasons why it’s worth your time to enjoy fall to its fullest.
Go To a Pumpkin Patch
One of the most tell-tale signs of the beginning of the fall season is the proliferation of pumpkin patches. Farms all over the suburbs and rural areas start popping up with massive piles of fresh pumpkins nested neatly on top of stacked hay bails. No sight makes me more nostalgic.
There’s a place not too far from where I live called Linvilla Orchards and it’s the prototypical pumpkin spot that you should be looking for in your own area. It’s a combination of apple orchard, pumpkin patch, kids fun center, farmer’s market and craft emporium. It’s magical.
Go get yourself a fresh-baked apple pie, some cider donuts, a wooden witch statue and a big, fat pumpkin to bring home and mutilate with a kitchen knife.
Drink Hot Cider With Bourbon
Man, I really seem to write about bourbon an awful lot. I don’t have a problem, I swear. Anyway, other than coffee and bourbon, the absolute best accompaniment to my favorite gentleperson’s drink is a cup of warm-hot cider.
Pour about 8-10 ounces of apple cider into a pot and warm it to your desired temperature. Remove from heat, add 1-3 shots of quality bourbon, grate a little bit of fresh cinnamon on top and serve it in a huge mug.
Take it from me, if you accent your backyard bonfire with one of these giant cups of wonderful, your guests will be thrilled. Pair it with some roasted marshmallows or some s’mores and you’re on your way to bliss.
Watch Football and Hockey
As a Philadelphia sports fan, sports are more than a way of life. They are the makers and breakers of our weeks. They are the talk of every conversation between stupid work emails. They are everything.
One of the best ways to spend your fall downtime is either watching sports at home, at a bar, or live. Take some friends or your significant other down to the stadium and catch as many games as you can.
Add in some booze, some good food, and some screaming at the top of your lungs and you’ll be happily catching the autumnal bug.
Go to a Haunted House or Hayride
There’s a certain, overwhelming allure to brisk October nights. You can feel the eerie chills circling around you whenever you step outside. The smell of wilting trees and bonfires swirl together to creative that creepy Halloween atmosphere.
A great way to capture the aura of this time of year is to go to a local haunted house or hayride. Every town has at least one of these and it’s the perfect place to bring a date and show them a good time.
Personally, I’ve always loved haunted hayrides, amusement park fright nights, and really shitty haunted houses. It doesn’t have to possess the highest production values to be enjoyable. Especially if someone you’re with is not into scary things, the shitty haunted houses can scratch that inherent, corny “B” horror movie itch.
Find a Halloween Fetish Party
Male or female, Halloween is a great time to take a gander at the beautiful bodies of your fellow citizens.
As you get older, it becomes harder and harder to find friends who are hosting Halloween ragers. It’s a shame. Luckily, most cities have some kind of Halloween fetish event every year. In Philadelphia, Type O Negative usually hosts a Dracula’s Ball. I’m usually more at home at the smaller, more intimate gatherings, though.
I’m always on the lookout for places with great music, good dancing, themed cocktails and fun, fashionable, welcoming folks who will drink themselves stupid alongside me. There’s an undeniable charm to dancing next to Jason Voorhees on one side and Sexy Elmo on the other.
Jump Into a Huge Ass Pile of Leaves
If you think you’re too old to jump into a pile of freshly-raked leaves, you’re definitely not. You’re never too old to act like a kid. What’s the point of living at all if you’re only going to do things that are appropriate for your age?
I’ll be childish until I’m dead and that’s the way I like it.
Do yourself a favor and walk through your neighborhood one night when everyone is asleep. Keep your eyes peeled for the largest, most perfect looking mound of leaves in someone’s front yard and jump back first into that shit. Make leaf angels. Smile and laugh and recapture that part of yourself that you left behind.
Just be careful not to be shot, bitten by a dog, arrested, or mistaken for a terrorist.
Eat or Drink at Least One Pumpkin Spice Flavored Thing
If the dreamy-eyed look of the white girl in line next to you at Starbucks didn’t tip you off, the basic bitch cuisine of all basic bitch cuisine is back, and it’s absolutely fucking wonderful.
Nowadays, you can get absolutely anything flavored with pumpkin spice: Oreos, coffee, cupcakes, donuts, whipped cream, beer. It has pervaded every corner of human life and it’s only getting bigger. All of you haters need to relent and accept your new, nutmeggy overlords.
Pumpkin spice is the taste of fall. Ginger snaps dipped in pumpkin spice coffee and followed up with some pumpkin spice whipped cream for dessert should be at least one breakfast on your fall menu.
It’s not the best flavor in the world and it’s certainly not the worst, but, like egg nog, it’s just something you fucking accept.
Decorate Your House for Halloween
Some of the best, warmest times in my life revolve around decorating my house for the holidays.
My mom is the type of person who buys way too many seasonal decorations and I used to give her shit about it, but it’s really grown on me. The tradition of unpacking boxes of Frankenstein-themed troll dolls, pumpkin pails, Halloween trees, miniature haunted houses and fake cotton spider webs makes me happier than post-coital snacks.
If you think it’s a waste of money, go to somewhere like Five Below, Walmart, or the dollar store and pick up a bunch of tacky trash on the cheap. Litter it around your house and tell me that it doesn’t make your day at least one tenth better.
Carve a Fucking Pumpkin
If you go even a single October of your life without carving a pumpkin with one of those kitschy, plastic pumpkin carving kits, then you’ve failed as a human being.
Buy a pumpkin that you’re comfortable carving, cover your kitchen table with a trash bag, and go to town. Find a nice, bright candle or one of those LED light sources to put inside, turn off the lights, and marvel at your gourd craftsmanship.
As a bonus, you can save the seeds you scooped out, rinse off all the snot, cover them in honey and chili powder and bake them for an amazing snack.
Plan a Horror Movie Marathon
The final priority on your Halloween bucket list has to be the traditional horror movie marathon. It’s a time for turning the lights down, turning the sound up, and covering your face with your popcorn-greased fingers.
The best method of picking a list of horror movies is to grab a handful that don’t at all belong together thematically. That way, you won’t get bored. I like to grab one popular slasher flick, one classic Universal monster movie, and one recent horror film.
Your tastes may vary, but I suggest you keep the idea the same. Pick 3 movies from different horror sub genres and watch them back to back.
If you’re not into horror movies, there’s a plethora of horror-themed-but-funny movies out there that will do the trick as well.
Thanks for reading my fall fun guide and I hope you’ll all get out there and enjoy what time we have left of this beautifully transient season.
Feel free to e-mail me or comment below with any additional ideas or with your favorite Halloween traditions.