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11 Fall Traditions to Do at Home This Year

A father and three kids raking and playing in fall leaves.
Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock

While summer is the season for outdoor exploration, fall is the time we shift toward enjoying the comforts of home. Engaging in some traditional activities is the perfect way to kick-start the season and create some cozy, autumnal vibes!

Fall signals a shift in both the weather and routines. Sunny days turn to stormy nights, and beach trips become study sessions.

Give yourself something to look forward to by implementing a few of the following seasonal activities:

  • Bake with the windows open: The in-between weather is the perfect time to open those windows before battening down for winter. As the brutal heat of summer fades, you might also want to bake more. You’ll create a fall vibe for the whole family—the scent of something baking on a cool breeze is quintessentially autumnal. You’ll be feeling the cottagecore vibes in no time! If you’re home-baked bread, try one of these sweet recipes to switch things up.
  • Reach for autumnal ingredients: It’s harvest time, and certain foods, like apples, squash, pumpkins, and corn, are integral to the season. If you can’t make it to the apple orchard or pumpkin patch this year, there are plenty of recipes that incorporate fall produce. Classics, like caramel apples and roasted pumpkin seeds, are easy and fun to make. Or, try one of these fun, healthy pumpkin treats!
  • Decorate your home: Whether you go all-out for Halloween or Thanksgiving, a little redecorating is in order. It can be as simple as pulling out the cozy throw blankets and pretty candles, or rearranging the furniture to make space for board-game and movie nights.
  • Make your favorite hot beverages: There’s always something special about the first hot chocolate of the season. But you don’t have to default to the microwave and a powder mix: try one of these spiked versions. Of course, there are plenty of other autumnal drinks—think hot cider, mulled wine, or spiced tea. You can check out these recipes for inspiration.
  • Have a bonfire: If you’re blessed with a backyard, you don’t need much space to install a fire pit for your family or housemates to gather around. Leave your phones inside, make some s’mores, and tell stories around the fire as the stars come out.
  • Camp in the backyard: Add a tent near your bonfire, you’re all set for some backyard camping! It’s the lazy (and safe) way to enjoy the great outdoors. This is always fun for the kids, but it gives adults an excuse to get some fresh air and take a break from the monotony, too.
  • Satisfy those pumpkin spice cravings: If you can’t get to the cafe or store for your favorite pumpkin spice fare, make it at home! It’s just a blend of common spices you probably already have, like cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger, and allspice. Mix those together, and you’ll have pumpkin spice to add to all your drinks and baked goods. You won’t even miss those $6 lattes!
A woman's hands holding a pumpkin spice beverage topped with whipped cream and caramel.
  • Do a photo shoot: The pretty autumn scenery is the ideal backdrop for a new portrait or family photo. It’s a time of change that begs to be documented visually. Even if you can’t book your favorite photographer, don’t forgo fall photos. Thanks to smartphones, it’s easier than ever to take pictures worth sharing! The fall foliage on your street or in your yard will provide the background, or you can take some cozy indoor photos.
  • Admire the leaves: If your neighborhood has plenty of trees, a crisp walk around the block is all it takes to admire the autumnal scenery. Bring your phone to capture the beauty or just admire it “in the moment.” Even if traveling to see the foliage is out this year, you’ll be amazed how beautiful your own neighborhood is when you stop to appreciate it.
  • Plant some bulbs: You might not associate fall with gardening, but it’s actually the ideal time to plant spring-blooming bulbs. This is the perfect activity for a mild fall day. The promise of colorful spring flowers will help get you through those dark, cold winter nights.
  • Celebrate the autumnal equinox: A little celebration will lift everyone’s spirits as the days grow shorter. The equinox, which occurs on September 22 this year, marks the first day of fall. Have a harvest feast with your family or housemates, crack open a pumpkin-flavored beer, or incorporate anything from this list into your celebration!

Traditions bring people together, brighten moods, and give everyone something to look forward to. With these ideas, you can shift into the autumnal spirit without actually going anywhere. Try one (or all) of these traditions, and have a happy fall!

Elyse Hauser Elyse Hauser
Elyse Hauser is a freelance and creative writer from the Pacific Northwest, and an MFA student at the University of New Orleans Creative Writing Workshop. She specializes in lifestyle writing and creative nonfiction. Read Full Bio »
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