It’s still fall for a few more weeks, but here’s how I did on the Fall Fun List

I really love fall. I love the colors, the crisp weather, the cozy feeling that winter is coming but is not yet here. Unlike summer, though, when the kids' non-school schedules, and vacations, naturally push one to do things to enjoy the season, fall is harder to pause and appreciate.

So, this year, I decided to create a Fall Fun List. It is structured much like my Holiday Fun Lists and Summer Fun Lists. Before the season begins, I ponder what would make me feel like I had really experienced the season. Then, when I am planning my weekends, or I have a workday with no calls or meetings, I can look at my list and know what I'd like to do with my time.

With that in mind, here's how I did!

Pick apples. Done, though technically in late August - just as I wrote the Fall Fun list! Galas and Honeycrisps peak pretty early in the season, and since those are the apples I like, that is when we went. It was fun. I ate a lot of apples!

Go to an Eagles game. Football and fall are pretty tightly linked together. My 8-year-old and I went to celebrate his birthday. The Eagles won on a last-second field goal, though alas we did not see it because we were trying to slip out slightly early to avoid the traffic. We did not avoid the traffic. That was a pain, but the game itself was fun.

See the bird migration in Cape May. I drove down to the coast on a light work day, and enjoyed seeing the colors and the wildlife. You can read about my trip here.

Visit Jim Thorpe plus the Lehigh Gorge. I drove north and ran 5 miles in the gorge, and then biked 10. Lovely trip. I didn't really stop in Jim Thorpe, but I did drive through it! (The Cortlandt Boys, my novel, is set in a fictionalized town that is based on the geographic location of Jim Thorpe).

Go on a hike somewhere else through the foliage. I took the kids to Ricketts Glen state park in late September (read that post here). And we did two lovely walks this past weekend through a park that's about a mile from our house. I ran around Valley Forge too.

See the chrysanthemums at Longwood Gardens. This was a nice night of seeing the flowers, the train display (with Thomas! And James and Percy!) and enjoying live music at the beer garden, with a fountain show afterwards. And we have mums by our mailbox and lining the front path now! Beautiful.

Order Halloween costumes by October 15. I don't remember if we actually ordered by then, but having this date on the calendar reminded me to keep asking the kids what they wanted to be. The three big kids all chose costumes they were satisfied with (a pharaoh, the Grim Reaper, and Shimmer from Shimmer and Shine). My 2-year-old refused to wear a costume.

Go to the elementary school's Halloween parade (twice). I went for my daughter's afternoon kindergarten parade, and helped out with her class party. My Halloween Bingo table was a tight ship, if I say so myself. Then I went the next day to see the boys parade in the morning. My husband took that as a work-from-home day, and blocked off the morning, so he saw them too.

Go on a hayride. We did this with my church's group for young families. They booked a local farm and we all went on that hay wagon. We also wound up with six small pumpkins at this event, one of which was lost in the minivan for a while.

Do at least one community Halloween activity. We went to The Glow at Fairmount Park. Thousands of carved pumpkins, including one with the faces of Jay-Z and Beyonce, and several strung together to look like a shark. It was awesome!

Read a very fall-feeling book. I read Louise Penny's Still Life, set in autumnal Quebec, with a little bit of spookiness, as befits a mystery. Since I was in the mood for fall books, I noticed some autumnal references in other books too. Ray Bradbury's Dandelion Wine is about summer, but summer ends in autumn, and he describes the changing seasons well. Alert readers will remember that I read War and Peace, a chunk of which is about the French retreat from Moscow during 1812. The retreat began in fall weather (and quickly landed in Russian winter, which is why it is known for being a disaster). Between that and an autumnal hunt described earlier in the book, there were quite a few conjurings of fall scenery.

Go for at least one >10 mile run through fall foliage. Well, maybe it will still happen. I did 8 miles on the Schuylkill trail with Jane one weekend. And then this past weekend I did 7.5 after taking my children on a 2.5 mile hike through fall foliage. So that adds up to 10 miles, though it wasn't all running. Oh well.

Any big fall activities you still hope to do?

In other news: I hope to post my holiday fun list next week.

Photos: First photo looks like a rustic scene, but is actually in the middle of Central Park! I ran there this morning while I was in NYC. Second photo is in my yard. No filter -- the tree is really that bright. 

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  • I am so happy you bought those mums! When I read The Cortlandt Boys there were several mentions of mums out on porches. As a British reader "mums" only means "moms" to me and I could tell I was missing something... Then I gathered from your blog posts they must be kind of flower, and you'd fancied your own for a long time, but I still don't know what they look like. Could you post a picture of them some time? I'd love to see!