Share on Facebook

43 Fall Activities to Add to Your Bucket List

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

Every editorial product is independently selected, though we may be compensated or receive an affiliate commission if you buy something through our links. Ratings and prices are accurate and items are in stock as of time of publication.

1 / 45
mom and daughter playing in fall leavesgradyreese/Getty Images

Fall bucket list

Wedged between frigid winter and sweltering summer (and without spring’s tendency toward rain), fall is most people’s favorite season. With back-to-school, the first day of fall, Halloween, and Thanksgiving, there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy fall activities. Don’t let this season pass you by without checking some of these fun activities off of your bucket list.

To inspire your slide into fall, browse fall quotes and fall memes.

2 / 45

Active teen girl playing game in vr headset, having fun in virtual reality worldanon-tae/Getty Images

Host a glow party

Fall’s shorter days and longer nights make it the perfect time to host a glow party, providing fun for kids and adults alike. (You can host indoors or outdoors, depending on weather.) Set up some black lights, tell guests to wear neon colors, and provide glow sticks and UV body paint or stickers. Decorate with UV balloons, streamers, and tape—it’ll all glow under the black light. You can level up your fall or Halloween party games by making them glow-in-the dark. Crank the dance tunes, put out some snacks, and enjoy all the laughter.

3 / 45

thank you card Synergee/Getty Images

Hand out thank-you cards on the fly

‘Tis the season of giving thanks, and gratitude is more fun when you share it with others. Get a stack of cheap thank-you cards (or make your own!) and pre-write thank-you notes to a variety of people, like teachers, grocery clerks, nurses, neighbors, bus drivers, and friends. Kids can decorate them with stickers, markers, or puffy paint. Keep the stack in your purse or car and hand them out whenever you see someone who could use a little boost. It won’t just help others; it’ll benefit you too. That’s what one woman learned when she wrote a thank-you card every day for a year.

4 / 45

boy playing live clue with magnifying glassHeide Benser/Getty Images

Play live Clue

Get in the mood of the spooky season with one of the most fun fall activities. You’ve probably played the classic board game Clue, but it’s even more fun when you bring the murder-mystery game to life by hosting a live Clue party. You can buy or stream the video version, find one of the many different versions online, or try the downloadable game from Queen of Theme, which comes with printable and detailed instructions. It’s like a murder mystery party but with all the fun and campiness of the childhood game.

5 / 45

Misty haunted cemeteryRandomerophotos/Getty Images

Take a historical ghost tour

The dead are a lot less scary (and a lot more interesting) when you learn their history. Many cities offer “haunted” tours through cemeteries, historical sites, or local museums. Have fun and learn something new. Check with your local commerce board, library, or genealogical society to see what activities are available in your area. If you live nearby, you could also tour one of the most haunted places in America.

6 / 45

During the Toss Your Turkey and 5K Turkey Trot at Montgomery County Community College Thursday morning November 22, 2018. Before and after the race, participants could throw a frozen turkey to compete for prizes. Photo by Ben HastyMediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images/Getty Images

Run a turkey trot

Fall is full of fun runs, ranging from 5Ks to full marathons. The cooler weather is ideal for outdoor cardio, and a footrace is great for both serious runners and people looking for some fun with their exercise. The most popular races this time of year are the turkey trots, hosted in nearly every city in America around Thanksgiving. Have fun, enjoy time with loved ones, spend the afternoon outdoors, and burn a few calories before indulging in the big feast. Thanksgiving not your favorite? Look for Halloween-themed runs, featuring the best costumes, haunted or glow-in-the-dark courses, and night runs.

7 / 45

Pumpkin soup in shell served with bread and roasted pumpkin seedsMalcolm P Chapman/Getty Images

Host a pumpkin potluck

Pumpkins are versatile, and we’re not just talking about pie filling and Halloween jack-o-lanterns. Whether you’re using a can of pumpkin or the fresh veggie, you can create a wide variety of pumpkin recipes, including pumpkin soup, pumpkin cookies or bread, pumpkin pie smoothies, pumpkin scones, pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin pie lattes, pumpkin ravioli, and so much more. Invite your friends and family to a pumpkin-themed potluck and ask each person to bring their favorite dish with the recipe to share. And come hungry!

8 / 45

Close up of Senior woman crochetingJustin Paget/Getty Images

Crochet something cozy

Knitting and crocheting are two of the best fall activities when you want to spend a chilly night indoors. Both are relaxing and easier than you think. Pick up a basic kit or watch some tutorials online, and you’ll be knitting scarves, hats, and pot holders in no time. There’s something so satisfying about feeling the yarn between your fingers and seeing the stitches line up. Bonus: You can craft homemade holiday gifts! Or create one of these handmade gifts everyone on your holiday list will love.

9 / 45

Beer at Oktoberfest in Munich, GermanyNikada/Getty Images

Say cheers to Oktoberfest

Oktoberfest is a seriously underrated holiday. It’s customary to enjoy a few drinks in the beer garden, but you can also eat Bavarian pretzels, sample dozens of traditional sausages, try folk dancing, and learn about the rich culture of Germany. Here’s everything you need to know about the origins of Oktoberfest and the best Oktoberfest celebrations in America.

10 / 45

Black man hiking in canyon areaMichael DeYoung/Getty Images

Visit a national park

Summer is peak time for visitors in the 423 U.S. national parks, so going in the fall will allow you more time and space to enjoy all the amazing views. Get a national parks pass, then take a hike through the woods, picnic on a beach, climb a mountain, pan for gold, study hieroglyphics, observe marine life, or take a cave tour—there is something for everyone to enjoy.

11 / 45

Child Getting School Supplies BSIP/Getty Images

Pick up new school supplies

If you have school-aged children, then you have the perfect excuse to buy fresh packs of pencils and crisp notebooks. Be sure to pick up these school essentials people forget to buy. Don’t have kids at home? Everything is on sale, so now is the time to stock up on office supplies and perhaps a few fun nostalgic items. Get a new journal and some gel pens, decorate your work binder with stickers, buy a few smelly erasers, or pick out a new lunch box.

12 / 45

People participate in line dancing at CJ Hummels Restaurant, Bar and Gathering Place in Lenhartsville on Thursday, May 24, 2018. Photo by Natalie KolbMediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images/Getty Images

Go line dancing

Line dancing is easy to learn, takes place outdoors or inside, can be done alone or with friends, provides some exercise, and—oh, yeah—is so much fun. You can learn line dances with online tutorials or head out with a group to a line-dancing bar. They often offer free lessons. Square dancing and folk dancing are also fun fall activities. Dress up in your favorite flannel!

13 / 45

Raw Organic Purple and White Turnipsbhofack2/Getty Images

Try a new fall veggie

Pumpkins get all the love this season, but many delicious and nutritious vegetables are at their peak in the fall months. Think root veggies like turnips, parsnips, celeriac, rutabagas, and potatoes. Branch out of your comfort zone—purple potatoes, anyone? Toss them with a little olive oil, salt, and fresh herbs, then roast them for a hearty side dish or meal. Here’s a full list of foods that taste better in the fall.

14 / 45

Woman hiking in an autumnal forest, Salzburg, Austriacoberschneider/Getty Images

Go for a hike

The crisp, cool air and autumn sunshine is ideal for taking a hike. Check out the changing colors of the leaves, try a new trail, enjoy a beautiful view, or just spend some quiet time in nature. Find the best hiking trails in your state and follow these essential hiking tips so you’ll be prepared for changing weather conditions, accidents, or other trail emergencies.

15 / 45

Homemade Sugared Apple Cider Donutsbhofack2/Getty Images

Eat an apple cider doughnut

Doughnuts are always a delicious treat, but apple cider doughnuts are extra special during this season. They’re warm, taste like fall, and are only around for a limited time. Find them fresh at your local farmer’s market or bakery.

16 / 45

Caucasian woman hanging clothes in closetJulien McRoberts/Getty Images

Organize your closet

Sweaters, scarves, beanies, gloves, boots, and fleece-lined everything are fun and functional cold-weather wear—but only if you can find them! Get your closet and mudroom ready for the cold and snow by organizing all your gear. (Don’t forget winter sports equipment like skis and sleds!) This way, when the first cold snap hits, you won’t be scrambling through boxes trying to find your missing left mitten. Need a little help? This is how to organize your closets once and for all.

17 / 45
Stack of knitted blanketsJamie Grill/Getty Images

Organize a blanket drive

As temps drop, it can become uncomfortable and even dangerous to be outside, so shelters fill up fast. This time of year, they are often in desperate need of warm blankets or clothing. Help out shelters—both of the human and animal variety—by hosting a blanket and/or coat drive at your school or in your neighborhood. Homeless shelters prefer new or gently used items, and animal shelters will often welcome your more well-loved blankets and towels. Call ahead to find out what items they could most use, or check out these things animal shelters desperately need right now.

18 / 45

Boy with down syndrome having fun in pumpkin patch, smilingkali9/Getty Images

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 also a great bonding activity for kids and grown-ups alike. Here’s where to find the best pumpkin patch in every state.

19 / 45

Fruits For Sale At Market StallGen Corte/Getty Images

Visit a farmers market

Heading to a local farmers market is one of our all-time favorite fall activities. (It sure beats doing the list of things you need to do to get your home ready for fall.) People often consider this a summer outing, but there are still a few months left to enjoy seasonal, locally grown food from fresh from the farmers market. Bring your pickings back, and get creative with apples, beets, leeks, parsnips, and mushrooms—all of which are best in the fall.

20 / 45

Caramel apples with pecansRyan Benyi/Getty Images

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 hack to keep apples from browning

21 / 45

Children two cute toddler girls having fun with yellow leaves on sunny warm day in autumn, kids throw leaves, young friends play activity fall concept outdoors.Tgordievskaya/Getty Images

Play in the leaves

Here’s an autumn fact for you: Raking your backyard is 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.

22 / 45

cozy houseRonTech2000/iStock

Make your home cozy

Get in the mood of the season by making your home decor 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.

23 / 45

fall leavesSun_Time/iStock

Make leaf art

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

24 / 45

Friends watching scary movieSouth_agency/Getty Images

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. The same goes for October 31, when you can binge watch the best Halloween movies on Netflix and the spookiest Halloween movies on Hulu. We bet your partner won’t mind if you cuddle close during the most suspenseful parts.

25 / 45

Assortment of candyMitch Diamond/Getty Images

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 on the best Halloween candy during the post-holiday markdowns.

26 / 45

carving a pumpkinJane1e/iStock

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 pumpkin carving stencils. If knives make you nervous, decorate yours with paint instead, steal a pumpkin decorating idea from this list, or follow these pumpkin carving tips.

27 / 45

Pumpkin seeds creating a background texture patternStefan Tomic/Getty Images

Roast pumpkin seeds

Don’t throw out the seeds from your jack-o’-lantern—roast them! Clean off the major chunks of pulp, toss the seeds with oil or butter and seasonings, then bake them at 300 degrees for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Either way, 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.

28 / 45

Father photographing child dressed as ghostEugenio Marongiu/Getty Images

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 punny Halloween costumes.

29 / 45

bonfireVBaleha/iStock

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 ingredients, and share stories while you gather around the flames.

30 / 45
haunted houseshaunl/iStock

Visit a haunted house

Craving an adrenaline rush? First, read about the haunted house mysteries no one can explain. Once you’re well on your way to scared, spend a frightful night at a haunted house set up by your community. Reward your bravery afterward with a comforting cup of cocoa.

31 / 45

Woman Writes in JournalGrace Cary/Getty Images

Start a gratitude journal

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

32 / 45

Mature man preparing healthy meal on kitchen counter10'000 Hours/Getty Images

Take a stab at an old family recipe

Do you miss your grandma’s apple pie or biscuits just the way your uncle made them? If you have the recipe written down, try your hand at a secret family recipe during Thanksgiving to keep the tradition alive.

33 / 45

Chili With Beansrudisill/Getty Images

Host a chili cook-off

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

34 / 45

Volunteers serving food at community kitchenJose Luis Pelaez Inc/Getty Images

35 / 45

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.

36 / 45

stew ingredients in slow cookercorners74/iStock

Perfect your stew recipe

Stew is a 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. Here’s the difference between soup, stew, and chili.

37 / 45
pumpkin spice coffee drinkbhofack2/iStock

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 cooking pumpkin at home with these savory pumpkin recipes.

38 / 45

tailgating Aksonov/iStock

Tailgate with pals

Regardless of whether football stadiums are welcoming fans this year or staying closed because of Covid-19, you can still tailgate. Invite a few friends over and set up in your backyard. With a big bowl of chili, some beers, and a cornhole game, you might not want to head inside for kickoff. Bonus: You avoid the stress of driving in traffic.

39 / 45
kids enjoying hayride David Winters/iStock

Go on a hayride

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

40 / 45

fall potpurri EricFerguson/iStock

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 them with dried orange peels. Display it in a bowl with items from a nature walk, like acorns and pine cones. You can up the fall fragrance in your home by brewing a stovetop potpourri.

41 / 45

scenic drive in oregonWestend61/Getty Images

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 most stunning pictures of fall across America.

42 / 45

touch footballRobert Ingelhart/iStock

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.

43 / 45
corn mazeemholk/iStock

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 best corn mazes in America.

44 / 45

warm apple ciderpilipphoto/iStock

Sip warm apple cider

One of the coziest fall activities? Warming up a steaming cup of apple cider, grabbing a blanket, and hunkering down on the porch to read a book. Make your quiet time more enjoyable by picking up one of the best fiction books of the year or one of the best books by Black authors.

45 / 45
fall wreathGJS/iStock

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. You can have them collect acorns in the backyard, then make a wreath with the acorns.

Source:

  • YouGovAmerica: “Fall is favorite season for most Americans; 33% in Heartland least happy with the weather”

Marissa Laliberte
Marissa Laliberte-Simonian is a London-based associate editor with the global promotions team at WebMD’s Medscape.com and was previously a staff writer for Reader's Digest. Her work has also appeared in Business Insider, Parents magazine, CreakyJoints, and the Baltimore Sun. You can find her on Instagram @marissasimonian.
Charlotte Hilton Andersen
Charlotte Hilton Andersen, BS, MS, has been covering health, fitness, parenting, and culture for many major outlets, both in print and online, for 15 years. She's the author of two books, co-host of the Self Help Obsession podcast, and also does freelance editing and ghostwriting. She has appeared in television news segments for CBS, FOX, and NBC.

Newsletter Unit

CMU Unit

cover
Subscribe & SAVE Save Up To 84%!