30 Fun Fall Activities That Aren’t Apple Picking or Corn Mazes

fall activities fall activities

In New England, where I live, fall is a pretty big deal. You can bet your ice-cold IPA that I’m one of those people who gets really, really excited about wool socks, flannel shirts, and firing up the wood stove. And every fall, certain activities are a given, like apple picking, corn mazes, a trip to the pumpkin patch with the requisite photos. But what about all the other delights that this season has to offer? As a lover of all things fall, I put together this bucket list for anyone ready to try a few new adventures. (After apple picking, I know, I know.)

Host a spooky movie night with themed snacks. Gather the kids and snuggle up on the couch with blankets, bowls of popcorn, and some Halloween-y movies, as scary as they (or you?) can tolerate. Best movie night hacks ever.

Make a gratitude tree. Happy-making to create, easy on the eyes.

Build a “graveyard.” IMO, the tombstones are the most fun part for kids to create and write up.

Take tours of old mansions or cemeteries, if your city or town offers one. Check out this spooky Ghost and Vampire Walking Tour Of The French Quarter in New Orleans.

Do some epic leaf-pile diving. Be basic, or drum up ways to upgrade by adding a slide, a rope swing, or a slip-and-slide “entrance.” The best part: they have to rake.

Get your glow on by making paper lanterns that can light up at night. We love this spooky project that uses paper cutting.

Roast pumpkin seeds. Try making a bunch of varietals using different seasonings. These make the perfect crunchy afternoon snack or movie nosh, and for some of us the smell and taste are pure nostalgia.

Conduct spooky science experiments! Our favorite one is the pumpkin-guts slime. Proof that there really is a signature slime for everyone.

Make a fall-inspired treat basket and Ding Dong Ditch your neighbors. Ideas: pumpkin whoopie pies, cute little jars of apple butter, pumpkin-flavored Rice Krispies treats.

Plan a cozy fall picnic. Who says picnics are just for summertime? Bring warm apple cider like this old fashioned mulled recipe, warm sweaters, and a big ol’ blanket. Bonus: no bees.

Make pumpkin pie bath bombs. Do not eat them.

Get your Friday Night Lights on by going to a local high school or college football game. The ultimate in #fallfeelings.

Build a scarecrow for the front yard using old clothes from your Goodwill pile. It’s actually easier than you might think; this vid breaks it down. Just like in real life, accessories are key.

Learn to knit or crochet a simple scarf. This hobby is even more calming than a glass of wine. The simplest project.

Build a fall-inspired fairy houses for the backyard. Get out the glue gun and glitter; for lovers of tiny worlds, this project is everything.

Have a donuts-on-a-string eating contest. No hands allowed. Why this is such ridiculous fun I don’t know, but it just is. Trust.

Do a tree trunk rubbing with tracing paper and crayons. This activity is an excellent way to get little kids up close with nature.

Mastermind your costume. Moms, we cannot — simply cannot — wear joggers and pretend we are intentionally costumed as…. well… joggers. These five ideas will make you look like a genius.

Stargaze because the fall is a great season for it. Check out your local planetarium, find out dates for meteor showers, and learn about the ancient stories of the different constellations. Head here for more info on stars.

Bake a pie from scratch. Nothing against Pillsbury (never!) but if you’ve never done it from scratch before, it’s worth a go. If you don’t have a rolling pin, use a wine bottle. This wildly popular recipe will get you from pumpkin to pie right quick.

Monster-fy your front door. Go bananas with googly eyes, fangs, and goofy grins with paper bags, construction paper and tape.

Tell spooky stories around a fire. Or fire pit. Or fireplace. Or… just hold a flashlight under your chin (surprisingly spooky). These timeless ghost stories will scare ‘em just enough.

Make candied apples with your haul from the orchard. I love this recipe here.

Take a hike in the woods to see the trees change.

Make leaf sun catchers for the windows. Works just as beautifully to make them out of tissue paper.

Throw a pumpkin carving (or blinging) party. Invite your neighbors and friends to gather outside and carve up some scary jack-o-lanterns for Halloween. Or glam out your pumpkins without carving; here are 5 gorgeous ways to do it.

Build a cozy bat house to help bats find safe places this winter since many bat species are losing their habitats.

Make fall garlands with dried oranges, cinnamon sticks, and dried herbs from outside to hang across your window and door frames. Want to start smaller? Make a wreath instead.

Play with pumpkin guts post-carving. It’s messy, slimy, and so fun.

Make fall-scented play dough. The kids will love making it. You will love the DIY stress ball aspect. Everyone will love the cinnamon-y aromas.

Dream up family costume ideas. Great if you settle on something good, but, honestly, that’s just a bonus. A raucous, silly family brainstorm session is the fun part.

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Sarah Cottrell is a Maine-based freelance journalist and lifestyle writer. Her work has been featured on VICE Tonic, New York Magazine, Washington Post, and has been included in seven anthologies including the New York Times bestselling series, I Still Just Want to Pee Alone. sarahcottrellfreelance.com.