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Spooky season is here! The temperature’s dropping, the days are getting shorter, and I’m already planning my Halloween costume. I’m studying off campus in New York City this semester and the change in season is making me homesick. Colgate’s my favorite place to be this time of year and I’m jealous of those of you on campus who get to watch the leaves turn red this month. Here are my 10 favorite ways to celebrate fall in Hamilton, NY.

go on a hike

Upstate New York is full of beautiful hiking trails where you can enjoy the fall foliage! One of the most noteworthy trails in our area is Chittenango Falls State Park, located in Cazenovia, NY. The park is best known for its 10,000 year old 167 foot waterfall and gorgeous scenic trails. Another great walking option close to home is the O&W Railroad Trail, located right in Hamilton. I love to explore this trail on Saturday mornings and then stop for lunch in town on my walk back to campus. If you’re feeling pressed for time, Colgate’s walking trails are another fantastic way to get out in nature and soak up the fall colors!

go pumpkin picking

A quick Google search will show you that there are plenty of pumpkin patches in upstate New York. Two of the most popular options are Critz Farms in Cazenovia and Our Farm in Manlius, NY. Our Farm is also known for its pumpkin-throwing catapult, which you can watch launch a pumpkin 200 feet across a field! After picking pumpkins, I like to stop by Dollar Tree for some paint and give my pumpkin a spooky face.

drink warm apple cider

Nothing beats sitting at the Good Nature Farm Brewery picnic tables on a crisp fall day and sipping on some warm apple cider. But if you’re looking to venture a bit further afield, Critz Farms has great apple cider, accompanied by a historic 1890’s cider press and live music.  

Watch a scary movie

I love curling up in bed with a friend and watching a scary movie on my computer. But if you’re hoping to venture off campus, Hamilton Movie Theater is a great option, especially because they make an effort to play horror movies during the month of October. I can’t wait to watch Halloween Kills when it opens at Hamilton Movie Theater on October 14! 

get lost in a corn maze

In addition to its pumpkin patch and apple cider, Critz Farms is worth a visit for its giant corn maze. This year, the challenging maze is shaped like a monster truck rally! 

take a haunted hayride

If you’re up for an adventure (and a scare!), Demon Acres Haunted House & Hayride is worth checking out, even though it’s an hour and a half drive away from school. In addition to a haunted hayride, Demon Acres also features a haunted house, a terrifying escape room, and a jailbreak themed horror attraction. Their hayride was voted Best Over All Haunted Hayride by Scarycuse.com! 

visit a place that’s actually haunted

Demon Acres not scary enough for you? Check out the Brae Loch Inn in Cazenovia, which guests claim is haunted by a little girl wearing a long blue dress. Then head to the Chittenango Landing Canal Boat Museum to hear ghost stories and learn about the people who died along the Erie Canal. 

bake pumpkin bread

Buy an inexpensive bread tin at Dollar Tree and some ingredients from Price Chopper and you’ll be ready to go. I like to sprinkle chocolate chips in my pumpkin bread for added sweetness!

visit an apple orchard

Critz Farms’s delicious apple cider is accompanied by an apple orchard where you can pick your own fruit. If I were you, I’d pick some apples and make an apple pie as soon as I got home. 

pick out your halloween costume

Finding a Halloween costume in Hamilton can be stressful. But venture out to New Hartford, NY for a day of shopping with friends and you’ll find thrift stores, a Spirit Halloween, and a shopping mall. You won’t drive back to campus empty-handed, I promise! 

Macklin Fishman studies English at Colgate University. Her interests include film, social justice, women's empowerment, and fitness.
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