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10 Ways to Embrace the Autumn Spirit this October

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Emerson chapter.

October has officially begun! Soon the leaves will turn a gorgeous orange and brown, it will be the perfect weather for jeans and sweaters, and the air will be crisp with the promise of a perfect fall day. When that day arrives, here is a list of 10 great ways you can spend it to get the most out of the fall season!

It’s that time of year to throw on some fuzzy socks and watch The Prisoner of Azkaban for the thirteenth time.

Movie nights are a simple, cost-efficient activity with friends – and there are so many great fall movies to pick from to have the perfect evening! Grab fuzzy socks, a warm blanket and drink, and it’s time to go!

If you haven’t seen it, there’s always the fall rom-com classic When Harry Met Sally. The timeless film follows a ten-year friendship that perfectly follows the friends-to-lovers arc. The film features warm sweaters, jazz, and gorgeous changing leaves in a park scene straight out of a fall-themed Pinterest board. Speaking of Harry, there’s also the (again, not technically fall-themed, but very fun) option of binge-watching all the Harry Potter movies. Scenes throughout the movies have pumpkins and bats in the Great Hall during Halloween, but even the outfits, leaves, and theme of (you guessed it) witches definitely give the movies a fall vibe. 

Another childhood favorite is Twilight. Whether you’re a die-hard fan or just watching to make fun of it, those movies can be the secret to a perfect night. If you’re into the vampire and werewolf love triangle or just like to get to the line, You named my baby after the Loch Ness Monster? With the fall color scheme, clothes, and Seattle landscape, fans view it as a fall favorite. If you’re more into classics/dark academia, Dead Poets Society and Little Women are always great picks. Make sure to grab some tissues if you’re the type to cry at sad movies. And if you’re still craving that childhood nostalgia and melancholic vibe, you can’t go wrong with Fantastic Mr. Fox. All three feature gorgeous fall scenery making for perfect movies to watch in October.

It’s official: We’ve entered Gilmore Girls season.

Many shows also fit the cozy fall vibe. While you may find Rory absolutely insufferable in later seasons, Gilmore Girls is without a doubt the perfect fall re-watch. Rory Gilmore has been coined one of the “It girls” for the fall season, and watching the show for weeks on end (because there are seven seasons) can be a great way to pass the time this month while getting in the autumn spirit. 

Another show to watch when the cold weather starts approaching is Over the Garden Wall. While it is animated and catered towards kids, lots of young adults fell in love with the show as well. With its Halloween theme and pumpkin characters, it’s the perfect show to try out with friends.  Speaking of Halloween, there are so many well-made scary shows to get into this season. The first part of the newest American Horror Story season has been released, featuring Kim Kardashian. The Haunting of Hill House has been a crowd favorite in the last few years with a promising 93% on Rotten Tomatoes, and the same creator and director Mike Flanagan has a new movie as well. Coming up soon is his new gothic horror The Fall of the House of Usher, appearing on Netflix October 12 with the trailer at almost two million views.

Gilmore Girls walking through Fall Festival
Warner Bros. Television
My new goal is to have THE downtown girl aesthetic.

One of the best parts of fall is without a doubt the outfits: plaids, browns, and blacks. Fall colors never fail to look good on anyone. Cable knit sweaters, cute skirts with leggings, leg warmers — there are so many great options to try. Making a Pinterest board for the kind of outfits you want to put together can be a great way to get ideas. Another way to do this is what I call “playing Pinterest in real life,” where you sit somewhere on campus, observe what other people are wearing, and make mental notes about what pieces you like. It’s a fun way to figure out what you like about other people’s outfits and integrate the pieces into your personal style. 

Try something new! Do a fashion show with your roommate or grab some friends and make it a group activity. College is the time to experiment, so if you want to have a fully planned-out outfit for an 8 a.m. class – do it! 

I’ve had at least five pumpkin chais and it’s only October 2.

Whether with a partner, friends or by yourself, the perfect fall season isn’t complete without going on a fall-themed date to a coffee shop. There are so many spots with fall-themed drinks — the Starbucks pumpkin chai is one of my favorites this season. Whether you’re a warm seasonal drink lover or an iced dark roast kind of person, it’s the perfect way to embrace the change in weather. If you’re not a coffee drinker, hot chocolate or tea can be the perfect alternative for a cold day. Either way, having a little coffee moment between classes with friends is the perfect way to battle the weather as it gets colder this October.

Only hot girls walk to lowkey-depressing music.

Fall is a good time to go on walks before winter sets in. Strolling through the park, looking at the changing leaves, and nodding your head to “Halloween” by Phoebe Bridgers does something transformative for the soul. 

Making a fall playlist is a great way to embrace the season. If you create playlists yearly, it’s also fun to see how your music taste changes over the years. It can be really relaxing to put on music and make playlists for specific vibes and feelings. Creating a fall one is no different. However, if you don’t want to take the time to create a playlist or want to discover new music, it’s easy to find music curated for your style on apps like Spotify and Amazon Music. Spotify also makes a personalized playlist catered to your taste if you look for it. They even make you one titled “Autumn Mix”! 

Booktok has solid recommendations.

One trend for books during the fall is the rise of dark academia. If you scroll through BookTok, they actually have great seasonal recommendations for any genre. Donna Tartt’s The Secret History has become a fall staple over the past few years. Babel, The Atlas Six, and If We Were Villains have also joined that same grouping of dark academic classics according to readers. Something about the dark aesthetic has now been thought of as a fall/winter vibe.

There are so many other options, too. Lots of books can be thrown into the fall category despite not being set in the fall. There’s something about breaking open classic literature this time of year that is just so fantastic. And for that, you can never go wrong with Oscar Wilde’s Picture of Dorian Gray or Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights. Or there are also books that actually involve Halloween/fall topics. Grady Hedrix’s novels have become best sellers within the last few years going over some of those ideas: The Final Girl’s Support Group, My Best Friend’s Exorcism, and The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires. All of them are horror, suspense, or Southern fiction, respectively.

It’s tarot card reading time – but be warned.

Whether you go to a professional or try reading cards with friends, tarot readings can be a fun activity. Going to a professional can be a thrilling experience, whether you fully believe in it or not. Between the ambiance, crystals, and having a stranger essentially looking into your soul, it can be a bit nerve-wracking but exciting. More importantly, though, it can also be pretty expensive. If you know anyone who does tarot or you have your own deck, it can be an enjoyable way to spend the night with friends. Throw on Hocus Pocus, light some candles (or a candle app if you’re in a dorm), and search on Pinterest for a spread to learn more about yourself and your friends. Ask about your childhood! Past lives! Future! But when your friend draws the Death card, don’t come emailing me with complaints — Don’t worry, the card is only symbolic.

The Pillsbury pumpkin cookies are my saving grace this semester.

I think we can all agree that one of the staples of any holiday season is the Pillsbury Ready-to-Bake! sugar cookies. Every time you see those pumpkin and ghost-themed cookies, you know the season has really begun. However, if you want to try making something from scratch, there are loads of recipes online. Taylor Swift’s chai cookie recipe has been everywhere recently and has gained a lot of praise. 

If you don’t have access to a kitchen, you can never go wrong with a Trader Joe’s run. Their seasonal snacks do a fantastic job of satisfying your fall flavor cravings. They have apple granola, pumpkin spice cookies, pumpkin pretzels, caramel apple mochi, pumpkin samosas, and more. Since they’re only available for a short time, you should make sure to grab an apple or pumpkin-themed treat.

Obligatory “Wow the leaves are changing!” fall pictures.

A nice way to spend the day with friends, although it might cost money, is going to all the classic autumn hot spots. Apple picking, haunted houses, and pumpkin patches are always the perfect way to spend an afternoon. If you go to haunted houses, make sure to check how intense they are. Really terrifying ones can either be a fun experience or borderline traumatic.

But these are certainly great places to hang out with friends, take some cute pictures, and maybe try out one of the cute fall outfits you’ve curated!

This semester, study like you’re Paris Geller.

As we move into the fall season, as much fun as it is to go out on all these adventures, school unfortunately does happen to be an obligation. But there are ways to make it at least kind of enjoyable. Bringing in previous recommendations, sitting down at a coffee shop can be a great way to get work done. There’s something about sitting somewhere everyone can see you, being fueled by coffee and the looming deadline of an assignment that makes the essays suddenly write themselves.

School is always the priority, but take the time to try these fall staples. It makes the season a lot more exciting than just watching the leaves change — although that does sound like a perfect day. Enjoy it while you can! Winter is right around the corner, so make sure to spend this time out and about while it’s not freezing and have fun with friends!

Writing, Literature, and Publishing major at Emerson College. Callie is an avid reader, music listener, and art enthusiast. Her favorite movies are Little Women, Ladybird, and Rocketman