It’s finally here! Yes – it is that time of the year when we can pull out our autumn decorations, light up the pumpkin scented candles and drink pumpkin spice flavored coffee beverages until our faces turn orange ~ all without incurring heavy judgement! Sure, realistically, there are those among us who have had their fall decor hanging since September 1st (not me). I won’t judge, but today is the day we can make no mistake in saying, “Welcome to Fall!”
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Of course, I personally have to take into consideration that I no longer live in a climate that even remotely resembles autumn weather. This is our first full autumn season down south and out of New England, so I’m a little…misty-eyed, to say the least. I’ll manage, though. I love where we are and there are plenty of opportunities to at least fake it…I mean, enjoy fall…down here.
Something I do love about this time of year, though, is that traditions seem to take on more life. People seem to have certain routines or rituals to welcome in the changing of the seasons. No, I’m not talking about seasonal allergies or the flu ~ those are traditions we would all rather avoid. I’m talking more about the things we do that celebrate the fact that we have entered a a new season.
For me, I have a list of about ten things I do when it is officially deemed autumn. My boys sigh every time I bring them up and it’s like pulling teeth sometimes to get them to participate. Nonetheless, I’m going to do them anyway to the best of my ability.
Bring out the decor!
We have three hunter green colored sturdy containers where we store our autumn decor. These containers have been dragged all over the country with us – having moved at least five to eight times! Inside, we keep both seasonal and holiday items, some of which will stay in there for another month or so (Thanksgiving items). However, the pumpkins, the gold and burgundy colored leaves, the Mickey shaped jack-o-lantern ~ oh, yeah…they all come out on display. My consistent challenge is that, since we have moved so much, I always have to find a new place to display these thing. New house – new location.
Light up that Spiced Pumpkin Candle!
I confess ~ I am a Yankee Candle snob!!!! Yes, I am! (Yankee Candle…you heard me…PS – I’d love to work with you!!). I have a scent for every season and believe their quality is top notch! When we lived in New England, we were very close to one of the flagship stores and I spent a great deal of time up there. It was literally my second favorite happy place on earth.
So, on October 1st, I proudly bring out the Spiced Pumpkin Yankee Candle and burn from dawn to bedtime. No other scent works for me. This one just screams autumn!
Buy that first (clears throat) Pumpkin Spice Beverage at Starbucks!
Who am I kidding? I’ll do anything pumpkin spice this time of year and, yes, I admit it. I have already had a Pumpkin Spiced flavored drink from Starbucks. But today, I got one just to say I did and to take that first sip with a smile! Ahhh – the flavors of autumn.
Schedule pumpkin picking
This has been a tradition since our oldest was knee high to a grasshopper! I love those pumpkin patch pictures and get all teary-eyed every time I look at their adorable fat cheeks hugging those gourds. However, I have some research to do because I’m not sure where to pick pumpkins in our new neck of the woods. Of course, with the family dynamics changing (one off at college, the high schooler constantly busy), I’m a little concerned that this one may not make it on the calendar this year. (sniff, sniff)
Roast pumpkin seeds
This, however, WILL make it on the calendar because the boys absolutely love roasting pumpkin seeds and munching on them like they were candy. We have tried it two ways, a batch with garlic salt and a batch with a taco seasoning / chili blend. I may try to find a few other options this year to try – mix it up a little. BUT ~ we have to get pumpkins first!! If not from a patch, we may have to just buy them at our local Publix.
Look through my cookbook for fall recipes
My husband has a favorite fall recipe that my boys unfortunately do not like ~ pumpkin sloppy joes! I’ll make it once during October for him, but I do love spending time gleaning through my “hundreds” of Taste of Home cookbooks (yup – I’m a Taste of Home snob, too – hello? Taste of Home ~ wanna work together?). Whether it’s chili, various soup recipes, toasted sandwiches or dishes that include nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon or all spice, I’m going to try to find a way to incorporate it into our autumn meal plan.
Plan out Halloween Night activities
This one is a little tricky because, as many of you know, our youngest son has severe food allergies. Trick or Treating has never been high on our priority list and the older two were never really huge fans. We did it a little when they were young and we were familiar with our neighbors, but begging for candy was never something my children enjoyed doing. Who am I to complain, right?
Of course, living near Walt Disney World, we did have the chance to experience Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween party this year for the very first time. What an amazing event!!! Our youngest son had the opportunity to go “trick-or-treating” and only brought home goodies that were safe for him! This is a food allergy family’s dream come true! (check out our experience, by reading the story here).
When it comes to Halloween night, however, we’ve always just found something to do as a family in the home that night. There is usually some kind of Halloween movie playing in the background (not the kind that will make you afraid to open the door, though), while we carve our pumpkins and then find ourselves a family game to play. We love Yahtzee and Train Dominoes! We munch on pumpkin seeds and popcorn, as well as some candy that we have purchased and just wanted to keep.
Hand out to the neighborhood kids
So – this is a big question we get every year. Do we give out candy to trick-or-treaters? Yes, we do. We usually have two bowls of candy ready to give out. There is a bowl that is full of the standards and then a bowl with candy that is safe for those who have food allergies (our youngest handles this bowl). Enjoy Life, Free2b, Surf Sweet and even Smarties are okay for most food allergies.
Why do we not hand out non-food related items? We just never got into it. I think it’s a great idea…but the boys wanted to do candy, our son didn’t feel slighted and I love that they want to be incorporated into handing things out. Giving versus taking – always a good thing.
Watch a few fall-related movies
I am a fool when it comes to watching shows that are seasonally or holiday related. Once October rolls around, I am all about making sure we catch a few of our favorites throughout the month.
- Hocus Pocus
- Nightmare Before Christmas
- Hotel Transylvania
- The Addams Family
- Beetlejuice (maybe not the youngest, though)
- Disney•Pixar’s Toy Story of Terror
- It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown (it’s tradition!!!!)
How many of these are on your “must-watch” list? Each year, we keep adding to the repertoire and next year will be no different. We just recently saw the new film, House with a Clock in Its Walls. If you get the chance, I highly recommend seeing this while it is in the theaters! Jack Black was spectacular and I loved him paired up with Cate Blanchett. For sure, this will become a movie we watch every October from this point forward.
Take photos of autumn
There were days way back when that Hubby and I would just hop in the car and drive along to gaze upon the absolutely stunning landscape this time of the year boasts throughout much of the country. The gold, auburn, burgundy, orange and brown hues are mesmerizing and captivating to us and inject a sense of comfort that almost prepares us for the upcoming holidays and hibernation.
That’s probably what I miss the most about not being up north this year. The colors. New England was our favorite place to live and be when it came to watching the leaves changing colors. A drive, a stroll ~ it didn’t matter….they were beautiful to watch and fabulous for photographs. I’ll miss that ~ but I guess that simply means we will have to plan our vacations around this time of year so that we can find a way to see them and fill that void.
Do you have any autumn traditions? Are there things you find yourself doing on a regular basis when this time of year rolls around? Are you a pumpkin fan? Do you light seasonally scented candles? Do you have a favorite location you enjoy going that just screams “oh, my gosh ~ It’s autumn!”?
I’d love to hear what traditions you might have. Feel free to share your autumn traditions below.
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