18 Fall Activities for Frugal Family Fun

Make lasting memories with all the changing season has to offer while sticking to a budget.

Have a picnic surrounded by fall foliage


Who says picnics are just for spring and summer? Grab a blanket and head to a favorite park for a festive outdoor lunch (be sure to pick a spot near some changing trees). Pack these classic picnic recipes or your favorite seasonal meals.

Go hiking


You don’t need to live near one of America’s most stunning hiking trails for a memorable hiking experience. Find a trail near you and enjoy the beautiful fall scenery. Plus, you’ll all get some well-earned exercise. Even a 15-minute walk has these powerful health perks.

Go on a scavenger hunt


While you’re on your fall hike or during a walk around the neighborhood, challenge your kids to find the most colorful leaf, the biggest acorn, the funniest-looking cloud, and other fall items to hunt for. Winner gets the first piece of pumpkin pie when you get home.

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Go apple picking


Visiting a local orchard is a tasty excuse to get out of the house. When you get home, use your pickings to make apple pie, homemade applesauce, or other fall treats. (Check out these apple health benefits you didn’t know.)

Jump in leaf piles


This year, make raking leaves a competition. See who can make the biggest pile, and that’s the one you jump in first.

Make your own Halloween costumes


Spend a day planning and creating your Halloween costumes. You’ll save some cash, and you won’t be limited to whatever costumes are left at the store.

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Visit a pumpkin farm


Pumpkin picking is a must in the fall. Firm pumpkins with sturdy stems take the longest to decay, so inspect them before you buy them. (Read more about the health benefits of pumpkin and its power to heal.) Many farms have hayrides and petting zoos, too. Bring a camera to document the family fun.

Carve (or decorate) pumpkins


Once you've picked out your pumpkins, it's time to carve. Cut your prep time in half by using an ice cream scoop to clean out the gunk. Then put your artistic skills to the test. Since carving may not be the safest activity for little ones, there’s always the option of no-carve pumpkin decorating. Check out these other must-have pumpkin carving hacks.

Host a sack race


In lieu of actual potato sacks, use large plastic bags or old pillowcases. Otherwise, tie ankles together and race that way.

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Snuggle up for story time


Get in the Halloween spirit with by telling ghost stories, or have your kids make up their own.

Have a fall movie night


Choose one of these lovable Halloween movies for kids. Serve popcorn with candy corn mixed in and hot chocolate or warm apple cider to drink.

Get your fill of corn


Take a spin in a corn maze, or buy some locally grown corn while it’s still in season. Spice things up with one of these unique grilled corn recipes.

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Decorate your house


Choose from some of these fun Halloween crafts or invent your own using materials you find in your yard.

See how many uses you can find for pine cones


They’re everywhere in the fall, so it’s good that pine cones are so versatile. Paint them, put them in a bowl for an instant centerpiece, or make your own scented pine cones.

Shop a farmer's market


Support local grocers and buy fresh, healthy produce from a farmer’s market. You can save money by asking for “seconds,” visually imperfect fruits and veggies that you can buy at a discount. These make for great soups and jams. Here are more tips to get farmer’s market deals straight from the farmers.

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Roast pumpkin seeds


If you’re carving pumpkins, you’ll have tons of unused pumpkins seeds, especially if everyone in your family carves one. Simply wash them, toss them in olive oil, and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Here are some other ways to use leftover pumpkin seeds.

Camp in your backyard


Take out the tent and spend a night under the stars—and just steps from indoor plumbing. If it’s too cold, build a fort inside and sleep there for the night.

Make thankful turkeys

iStock/John Archer

Make a paper turkey by tracing your hand on construction paper and cutting it out. Write one thing you’re grateful for on each finger. Then go around and have everyone share what they wrote. You can also use the turkey hands to answer other questions, like five things you’d take with you on a desert island or five places you want to visit anywhere in the world. (Looking for more Thanksgiving fun? Get our FREE guide for an unforgettable Thanksgiving. You'll get easy recipes, kid-friendly crafts and games, inspiring traditions, and more ideas for the best holiday yet.)

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