I love fall. I love a theme. I love having an excuse to do something, wear something, eat something or otherwise experience something that is on theme. I think this idea was instilled in me by my mother who never misses a chance to make a meal that is on theme: she makes red, white and blue waffles for the Fourth of July, loves a good Taco Tuesday and will always try to make a “good summer meal” or something that “feels like a fall dinner,” among many other mini traditions throughout the year. Why not bring a little more joy to your life by doing things you were already going to do, just with a little more pizzaz? I think this is the same reason why people love things like National Ice Cream Day, or Pizza Day or whatever it may be. We love a reason to celebrate, even if every day is some national day.
In the world of social media this idea has exploded into full blown seasonal aesthetics. I find this to be particularly true with fall. Earlier each year the fall flavors start appearing everywhere, Halloween décor and candy line store walls and sweaters are pulled out of the backs of closets. It becomes a little hard to keep up with. Seeing all the ways that people hit the fall aesthetic may make it feel like it is a less attainable goal, especially when you feel you don’t have the money for all the treats, the car for all the activities, the time for all the events or any combination of things. But fear not, there are still plenty of free or inexpensive things to do on campus to achieve that fall aesthetic.
Taste the Fall Flavors
Embracing fall flavors is one thing that can get you into the seasonal spirit on your own. I don’t need to tell you to get a Pumpkin Spice Latte – I am not reinventing the wheel here, but if you are looking for something new I would suggest the Caramel Ribbon Crunch Frappuccino. When I first tried this I was delighted by the sense of nostalgia that hit me with these flavors. I was struck by this drink’s similarity to Universal Studio’s representation of Harry Potter’s Butterbeer. Just watching the “Harry Potter” movies is a fun, fall-themed activity, but I think you can elevate your viewing of the Hog’s Head Inn if you are sipping along to the same flavors as the characters.
Similarly, there’s nothing like a Saint Louis Bread Co. Pumpkin Muffin to start your day. I am always surprised by how hefty these muffins are, making them a relatively inexpensive breakfast to start your day with fall flavors. Even Grand Dining Hall has pop-up fall festive flavors to keep an eye out for. I have many a good memory of snacking on caramel apples, apple cider, pumpkin pie and hot cocoa. This list of flavors is definitely not exhaustive, either. Tasting the fall flavors is certainly attainable on campus if only you know where to look for it.
Make Some Autumn Art
I am also a big proponent of painting pumpkins. Last year outside of my dorm room I amassed four painted pumpkins and that didn’t even include my roommates’ contributions. This year I am already up to two! There are so many pumpkin painting events all over campus that you really don’t even need to look to find them. This is a fun, free way to add a little décor and get a little more in the fall spirit. These events also serve as bite-size de-stressors for a season that can benefit from some mood boosters.
Check Out the Cool Colors and Crisp Air
Walking around campus or a even just a few blocks away is a quick and easy way to soak in the season as well. As the leaves in St. Louis start to change, the weather is in that perfect, in-between state. This season will not last forever, so take advantage of those lovely walks while you can. Going outside and getting some sunlight, breathing in the crisp fall air and seeing the bright colors around you can be just the serotonin boost you need to feel connected to the season.
Listen to (Somewhat) Seasonal Songs
Lastly, there is nothing better than going about your regular activities while listening to a hint of fall. I love listening to music that is gives off fall vibes as I move around campus. There is always a little more pep in my step when my music matches my surroundings. Here are a few of my recs, many of which I am sure will come by no surprise, but a reminder of a good song or two can’t hurt.
Here are some of my fall favorites:
“Stick Season”- Noah Kahan
This whole album has peak fall vibes.
“All Too Well” – Taylor Swift (Sad Girl Autumn Version)
“September” – Earth, Wind & Fire
“Oh Klahoma” – Jack Stauber
“Campus” – Vampire Weekend
“Season of the Witch” – Donovan
“Frankenstein” – Claire Rosinkranz
Additionally, I think something about ‘60s pop in general is especially appropriate for this time of year. I am an especially big fan of the top 20 in the list linked above.
Even though you may not live the life of an instagram influencer, achieving the fall aesthetic is certainly attainable, even by just doing things on campus. By simply throwing on your favorite sweater you are participating in the mass fall craze. This list is certainly not exhaustive but these are the little ways that I like to embrace the season.