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28 Fall Activities to Add to Your Bucket List

Enjoy every minute of the crisp autumn season with these must-do activities.

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Pick your own produce

Head over to an apple orchard or pumpkin patch to bring home produce you literally handpick. Not only can you enjoy your tasty takings, but it’s a great bonding activity for kids and grownups alike. Find out where to find the best pumpkin patch in every state.

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Visit a farmers’ market

Heading to a local farmers’ market is one of our all-time favorite fall activities! People often consider this one a summer outing but there are still a few months left to enjoy seasonal, locally grown food from a farmers’ market. Bring your pickings back, and get creative with apples, beets, leeks, parsnips, and mushrooms—all of which are best in the fall.

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Make caramel apples

Autumn is apple season, making it the perfect time to enjoy some sweet, sticky caramel apples. Invite some friends over, and set up a dipping bar with crushed peanuts, granola, white chocolate chips, and more. If you prefer dipping slices to whole fruits, use this simple trick to keep apples from browning.

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Play in the leaves

Raking your backyard will seem like much less of a chore when you turn the work into prep for fall activities like barreling full force into a pile of leaves. Even if you don’t have kids, let your inner child out while diving into the soft leaves.

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Cozy up your house

Get in the mood of the season by making your home décor cozier as the air outside turns brisk. Drape a fuzzy blanket over your sofa, and add some mustard yellow or sienna throw pillows. Check out these tips for decorating your bedroom for fall.

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Make leaf art

Gather the prettiest fallen leaves, then press and varnish them to make them last. Mount your pressed leaves in frames for a pretty, autumn-inspired artwork that you’ll want to keep up all year.

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Watch a scary movie

Fright night gives you an excuse to turn off all the lights while you huddle under a blanket for a scary movie date. We bet your partner won’t mind you cuddling close during the most suspenseful parts. Or read some of these creepy true stories that happened on Halloween.

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Nosh on Halloween candy

You might be too old to trick or treat, but you’re definitely not too old to enjoy sweets. Steal (just a few!) pieces from your kid’s stash, or stock up with a big bag during the post-Halloween markdowns.

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Carve a pumpkin

Get your creative juices flowing by decorating a pumpkin. Stick with the traditional jack-o’-lantern, or carve a unique picture into your squash with these 31 pumpkin carving stencils. If knives make you nervous, decorate yours with paint instead, or try your hand at these 11 genius hacks for carving a jack-o’-lantern.

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Roast pumpkin seeds

Don’t throw out the seeds from your jack-o’-lantern. Clean off the major chunks of pulp, toss them with oil or butter and seasonings, then bake them at 300°F for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. You’ll end up with a tasty, fiber-rich snack that you can enjoy alone or throw into soups and salads for a bit of crunch.

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Make a creative Halloween costume

Store-bought costumes are stress-free, but making your own lets you get creative. Find a silly pun (a holy cow, perhaps?) or dress up as a random household object that’s sure to get a few giggles. Get inspired with these 17 last-minute DIY Halloween costumes.

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Enjoy a bonfire

When the weather is chilly but not frigid, a cozy bonfire can give your night a warm glow. Grab a few friends and some s’mores fixings, and share stories while you gather around the flames.

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Visit a haunted house

Craving an adrenaline rush? Take a ghost tour through your town’s most haunted spaces, or set yourself up for a frightful night at a haunted house set up by your community. Reward your bravery afterward with a comforting cup of cocoa. Don’t miss these 13 creepy haunted house mysteries no one can explain.

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Start a gratitude journal

Thanksgiving is a natural time to appreciate everything you have to be thankful for, but don’t limit it to late November. Make a habit of acknowledging something you’re grateful for every day, and record it in a journal. Flip through whenever you’re feeling down.

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Take a stab at an old family recipe

Do you miss your grandma’s apple pie recipe or biscuits just the way your uncle made them? If you have the recipe written down, try your own hand at a classic family recipe during Thanksgiving to keep the tradition alive. Try to incorporate some of these 27 foods that taste better in the fall.

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Host a chili cook-off

This is one of the tastier fall activities. Gather your friends and your best cooking skills, and compete for who can make the best chili. Reward the winner with a home-baked pie to take home, and have another on hand so everyone can satisfy their sweet tooth.

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Volunteer as a family

Instead of (or before) sitting down for your own Thanksgiving feast, lend a hand at a local food pantry. Soup kitchens tend to see more volunteers and donations around the holidays, so make a commitment to volunteer once a week or once a month if you can. Don’t miss these other fun fall activities that go beyond apple picking.

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Perfect your stew recipe

Stew is great comfort food on a chilly fall day, and it couldn’t be easier to make. Throw your ingredients in a slow cooker before work, and come home to a hearty dinner.

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Enjoy pumpkin spice

Love it or hate it, ’tis the season for pumpkin spice. Enjoy yours in latte form, or head to the grocery store for cookies, yogurts, ice cream, cereals, and more products that have joined the trend. Take a stab at pumpkin at home with these 20 savory pumpkin recipes.

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Tailgate at a football game

If you don’t live near a pro team, head over to a local college and join the students in their pre-game festivities. With a big bowl of chili, some beers, and a cornhole game, you almost won’t even want to leave the parking lot for kickoff.

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Go on a hayride

Pile into the back of a truck or a horse and buggy, and get chauffeured around while you get to watch the changing leaves and feel the crisp fall air. If you dare, visit one of the scariest haunted hayrides in the country.

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Attend a fall fair

Enjoy the last weeks of good weather before winter hits by hitting the end of festival season. Find a fair for the family, or see if your community is holding a craft beer festival for some kid-free entertainment.

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Make your home smell like autumn

Buy a candle that smells like apple cider or maple, or make your own potpourri. Just break up spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves, then combine with dried orange peels. Display in a bowl with items from a nature walk, like acorns and pinecones.

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Take a nature drive

If you’re lucky enough to live near a forested area, go for a spin one afternoon so you can appreciate the beautiful golden yellows and bright crimsons of the changing leaves. See how your area compares with the 38 most stunning pictures of fall across America.

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Play touch football

Don’t let the NFL have all the fun. Gather your family for an impromptu game of touch or flag football, or toss a pigskin around with your kids.

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Get lost in a corn maze

Take your kids to a corn maze, and get lost in the stalks while you embrace the fresh fall weather. It’s a life-size brainteaser the whole family is sure to enjoy. Plan a trip to one of the most insane corn mazes in America.

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Sip apple cider

One of the coziest fall activities? Warming up a big, steaming cup of apple cider, grabbing a blanket and hunkering down on the porch to read a book to keep cozy in the autumn air.

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Hang a festive wreath

Invite the season in by hanging a fall-inspired wreath on your front door. Buy one with a foliage theme, or make your own with the help of your kids. Next, learn 41 reasons fall is our favorite season ever.

Originally Published in Reader's Digest