We are all excited for autumn and the spooky season, but do you know how you are going to celebrate it? Do you have any traditions to truly make the season your own? When we talk about traditions, usually the first thing to come to mind is travelling to see family around the holidays and eating big meals around the dinner table together. If your family is anything like mine, this can be an incredibly stressful time of year. But traditions don’t have to be super formal or even something you are forced to do every year. Traditions can be as small as making a cup of apple cider a few times in October to taking a yearly day trip to the mountains. Making traditions with yourself and with your friends can be a wonderful way to feel like you are truly living your best life.
Note: Most of these will seem like clichés, but what is wrong with that? There is a reason they are popular! Give in to the cliché, my friend.
- Apple Picking
What better activity to start off the autumn season than taking a trip to the mountains to pick apples? I actually went apple picking this past weekend, and it was amazing! I went with two lovely friends of mine, and not only did we have a wonderful time, we also now have some tasty apples to make apple crisps. This was our third year in a row taking a trip up to Elijay, and it has always been a wonderful break before we have to start buckling down for midterms. Honestly, it was super packed with people, and it wasn’t even October so I would suggest going early in the month if you can.
- Pumpkin Carving
Okay, I know this is a classic but you can’t skip it! No matter how much people want to complain it’s cliché, there is nothing like sticking your hand into a pumpkin full of seeds and guts and yanking it out. Letting your creativity pour out onto the canvas of a blank pumpkin (or looking up cute designs on Pinterest) and leaving the results up for your neighbors to peer at jealousy from their own boring homes is worth a little bit of mess. Make an event out of your pumpkin carving, and have some friends over to watch a movie while you work. Whether you make a scary Jack-‘O-Lantern or cute “happy fall y’all” design, you are going to have fun and have a cool creation to show for it.
- Dry / Press Leaves
Dried or pressed leaves can be a wonderful addition to any fall décor or craft projects. You can glue them to book marks or put them in picture frames to spruce up any living space. Two good ways that I know to press and dry leaves are: the book method and the iron & wax paper method. The book method just needs you to place your leaf between two pieces of newspaper and place it inside a book. Keep your book press in a dry and dark location and place some extra books on top for some added weight. The iron & wax paper method is where you place your leaves between two pieces of wax paper, then place a paper towel on top before pressing a warm iron over the whole thing for a few minutes (be careful!).
- Watch a Fall Movie
Whether you are a connoisseur of all things scary or enjoy the classic Disney’s Haunted Mansion movie, fall is the perfect time to cozy up with a hot drink and popcorn to watch a good movie. Some classics to mention are of course Hocus Pocus, Halloween Town, Practical Magic, and Over the Garden Wall. Personally, I am not a fan of the super scary unless I have a friend nearby to hold my hand. That being said, I can’t recommend many scary movies to you BUT I do know that Ciné on Hancock Ave will be doing its annual Schlocktoberfest horror series with a drive-in movie every Saturday night in October.
- Get a Scented candle
Not only do candles make your space look and feel more cozy but they can also help relieve some anxiety and stress. In the past week, I have lit a candle every time I am in my room and it has improved my mood astronomically. I do tend to forget it is lit and leave the room, so please be careful and try not to start the spooky season by burning your room to the ground. While that may help with the creepy aesthetic, I don’t think your future self will be very pleased.
- Take pictures at sunset
There is nothing more beautiful than golden hour. Well, maybe fettuccine alfredo with breadsticks but that’s a conversation for another time. I know many of us are used to snapping a quick picture and maybe posting it to Insta. But pictures can truly help us capture a feeling of good times that we can use when things start seeming a little rough in the winter months. Personally, I have a horrible memory and taking pictures is one way that I can be sure I will remember a lovely time in the years to come. Whether you decide to have a whole Instagram worthy photo shoot or go on a nature walk and document your findings, fall is a beautiful time and worthy of having her picture taken.
- Visit a fall festival
Fall festivals are filled with handmade and one-of-a-kind items! They are also the perfect place to start thinking about holiday gifts for friends and family. 2020-2021 has been rough on everyone, and many small businesses and hand crafters need as much business as they can get. If you are in the Athens area, there is the fall festival on Saturday, October 16th in the nearby town of Watkinsville in Oconee County. Go support local businesses!
- Visit a haunted house
Who doesn’t want the socks scared off of them by a bunch of teenagers in creepy makeup? Going to a haunted house or trail is the perfect way to spend some time with friends and also get that blackmail video of your super brave friend screaming and crying like a little child. Although personally I have never been, I hear zombie farms in Winterville is amazing. AND it’s super close to Athens! Zombie Farms is a ¾ mile walking trail through the woods in the dark where creepy creatures will try to jump out and scare you. Does it sound fun? Yes, yes it does. Am I terrified to try it? Yes, yes I am.
- Listen to live music
Athens has always had an incredibly vibrant music scene. From R.E.M. to the B-52s to the Athens Symphony Orchestra, there is something to fit everyone’s music taste. Live music is amazing at any time of the year but in the past few years autumn has been able to boast the existence of the Historic Athens Porchfest. Instead of an official stage that all of the bands perform on, this event uses the porches of over one hundred houses across six historic neighborhoods in the Athens area. The free event will be on October 10th from 1pm-8pm. Not only will you get to see over one hundred local bands but you will also be helping Historic Athens continue their mission to celebrate and conserve our community heritage in Athens.
Do you have any autumn traditions or ones you would like to start this year? Tell me about them!