Whether you prefer to spend your time decorating, in the kitchen making cinnamon-spiced favorites or marveling at foliage, there’s plenty to add to your fall to do list this year.
If hayrides and haunted houses aren’t your style, think outside the pumpkin patch and get inspired by some of our other autumn-inspired suggestions to celebrate the season.
Enjoy the beauty of fall foliage and make the most of this magical time of year by checking these fun fall activities off your fall bucket list.
Note: Due to the ever-changing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, please see official websites before visiting to check for restrictions or closures.
Find Your Fall Fashion
It’s time to stow away the bathing suits and dig out your warmer clothes. From boots, booties and fuzzy socks, to hats, scarves and cozy sweaters, fall is cozy season. Classics like flannel and denim are always in style for fall, and layering is a breeze. When heading outside, throw on your favorite jacket. And don’t forget your mask; the CDC still recommends wearing face coverings in public, indoor places.
Go Leaf Peeping
Fall wouldn’t be fall without foliage. Go on a nature-filled walk, hike or bike ride, or take a drive to marvel at the fiery colors of autumn leaves. The Northeast is home to a wide array of trees and beautiful forests. Leaves fall like natural confetti anywhere from mid-to-late September through October, depending on your state. Try out these photography tips to capture the show.
Bake Something Seasonal
Send warmth and seasonal smells throughout your home by adding these treats to your fall to-do list. For pumpkin lovers, there’s pumpkin bread, cheesecake, cookies and of course, pumpkin pie. Apple lovers can enjoy baked apples, apple crisp, fritters, cider doughnuts and good old apple pie.
Plant Fall Flowers
If you’d like to have a garden full of flowers in the spring, plant tulips, daffodils, peonies and Shasta daisies in the fall. To decorate your lawn for the current season, consider planting flowers that are already in bloom, like chrysanthemums, dianthus, black-eyed Susans and pansies.
Jump in a Pile of Leaves
The ultimate fall bucket list activity! Feel like a kid again and jump into a pile of autumn leaves. It’s a fun way to reward yourself after all that raking, lawn cleanup and other seasonal maintenance. Make a maze or leaf labyrinth leading up to the pile for the kids. Consider taking advantage of the picturesque setting and have a photo shoot. After all the fun, collect prettier leaves for crafting projects. Use the leaves for compost or chop them up with your mower and use the bits as mulch in your garden.
Build a Scarecrow
Make use of fallen leaves, lawn trimmings and hay to create your own DIY scarecrow. Get crafty and make your scarecrow’s clothing or use old clothes. Sticks and garden stakes make for good structure while a milk jug, pillowcase or burlap can be decorated to make your scarecrow’s head. Have your scarecrow lean against a tree, sit on the front steps or stand in your lawn to help welcome fall.
Try Indoor Camping
As the weather gets colder, we tend to spend more time indoors. But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the fun of camping. Try some cozy indoor camping, or “glamping,” with lots of blankets and pillows. Use string or smaller fairy lights to create a magical atmosphere. Munch on some seasonal snacks and watch a movie. Or, go for some screen-free time by reading, doing puzzles, playing board games or getting creative.
Go Apple Picking
Many apple orchards and farms are open for you-pick apple picking this year. So strap on a good pair of shoes and select from the wide variety of New England and New York apple orchards and farms that offer this favorite fall activity. Then, head to the kitchen for some delicious apple treats.
Craft Fall Décor
Bring natural elements indoors to create unique DIY fall decorations. Collect leaves of various sizes and shapes. The kids can use them to make leaf rubbings while you use them for fall décor. Make all-natural garland with string, frame leaf pressings or paint the leaves with warm fall colors like gold, brown and maroon and use them to stamp cloth napkins, throw pillows, drapes and more. Make a wreath out of layered leaves, sticks, acorns, pine cones or dried flowers and hang it on your front door. Use strips of burlap, ribbon, plaid and other materials to add different colors and textures.
Spruce up your home entry with crafts and other autumnal touches. Shop our Amazon storefront for fall porch styling essentials.
Watch Seasonal Movies
Curl up with a warm blanket and celebrate the season with fall films. Watch a back-to-school movie like “Dead Poet’s Society” or “Good Will Hunting” – both of which star the late, great Robin Williams. Go for a fall sports movie like “Rudy” or “Remember the Titans.” Or, find a warm, autumn aesthetic in films like “Fantastic Mr. Fox” and “When Harry Met Sally.”
Start celebrating Halloween early with a horror movie list including fun hits like “Hocus Pocus” to horror classics like “The Exorcist.”
Cook Comfort Foods
Cooler weather means it’s time for soups, stews, chili and other comforting meals. Make classics like chicken noodle soup and beef stew or healthier, but equally delicious, meatless options like lentil soup and vegetarian chili. Aside from pumpkin and apples, there are plenty of other seasonal ingredients – like squash, cauliflower and sweet potatoes – to use for savory dishes. Slow cookers and Instant Pots make creating comfort foods easier than ever.
Make a Seasonal Beverage
Stay cozy by adding a warm beverage to your fall bucket list. To start your day with fall flavors, simply brew a cup of pumpkin coffee or use your preferred pumpkin spice or caramel creamer. Pump up the flavor of chai tea bags by adding extra cinnamon, ground ginger and allspice. Use a mix of hot water and warm milk – or sub out the water completely – to make your chai tea more like a latte. Garnish with whipped cream and ground nutmeg. To serve a small group, make family-friendly homemade apple cider in a slow cooker or tasty fall sangria for the adults. (As always, enjoy responsibly and designate a sober driver.)
Fill a thermos with your favorite autumn beverage and step outside for some stargazing. The 2021 fall season is packed with opportunities to see stellar activity. There’s the Draconids and Orionids meteor showers in October as well as the South Taurids, North Taurids and Leonids meteor showers in November.
DIY Fall Festival
Before it gets too cold, take advantage of comfortable autumn days and spend some time outside with a DIY backyard festival. Decorate for fall or Halloween and make themed caramel apples and kettle corn. Play games like beanbag toss and horseshoes, or buy a bunch of small pumpkins and paint, glitter, decoupage, stencils and other appliqués for a pumpkin decorating competition. Plan a scavenger hunt for the little ones, with them collecting different kinds and colors of leaves, candies and small trinkets.
Go For a Drive
Have your household head to the car – bring along any car-friendly pets to really make it a party, and go for a drive. Check out the fall, and later Halloween, decorations around your community and have everyone vote on their favorites. Get inspired by your neighbors’ setups and conjure new ideas for your own décor.
Carve a Pumpkin
Whether you pick your pumpkin from a patch or the store, it can make a nice fall decoration before you decide how to carve it. One route is to go for the more traditional pumpkin face or carve the silhouette of a creepy critter, like a black cat or spider, or classic Halloween creature like a ghost, witch or vampire. If you’re not into pumpkin guts, try one of these creative, no-carve pumpkin decorating ideas.
What activities will you add to your fall to-do list? Tell us in the comments below!
For everything fall, head over to the Your AAA Fall Fest!