As you wrap up your bucket list of summer things to do, you now can start making checkmarks off your fall bucket list. And let’s face it, from brilliant colored leaves falling to the sweet smell of pumpkin spice, there’s a bit of magic when it comes to fall. Whether you are harvesting crops or just seeking to harvest family memories, this ultimate list of fun autumn activities will keep you pleasantly busy.
The Ultimate Fall Bucket List of Fun Activity Ideas & Autumn Things to Do
1. Jump into a Pile of Leaves
Jumping into piles of crisp golden leaves is an autumnal rite of passage which should not be denied to the young and the young at heart. Just make sure that you’ve raked and piled the leaves yourself, so you are more certain the leaves will be free from small branches that can cause scratches!
2. Roast Chestnuts
Next to pumpkins, chestnuts are the quintessential flavor of fall. They crumble in your mouth, leaving a deliciously delicate and sweet flavor. So, why not make them at home? They can easily be roasted in the oven, but for an added fall bucket list challenge buy yourself a chestnut roaster and follow the directions in the how to roast chestnuts on an open fire article.
3. Decorate Your Mantle for Autumn
Vibrant colors of leaves in gold, orange and red can be casually placed on the mantel with pumpkins and scented candles perched among them. Keep it bright and simple with plenty of texture to give a warm and cozy feel to your fireplace. If you are on the less creative side, there are some pretty fall mantle examples on Southern Living.
4. Take a Fall Foliage Drive
Foretelling the coming of fall foliage is a tricky endeavor, but well worth the effort if you want to see the colorful dance of stunning reds, yellows, and orange. This color extravaganza is particularly breathtaking, so pack your binoculars, strap your hiking boots and strap your camera around your neck and get ready to fire up your Instagram feed with an explosion of fiery fall colors. To find out where fall is at its best, visit the Smoky Mountains Fall Foliage prediction map and plan ahead. You’re bound to find a number of destinations to add to your fall bucket list.
5. Get Lost in a Corn Maze
In a recently old horror film, The Maze (2010) five friends play tag in a corn maze only to be tracked down by a psychopathic killer. In most cases, however, the worst that can happen to you if you get lost in a corn maze is to struggle a little to get out. It won’t keep you occupied for hours, unless of course you’re in a maze like the one created by Cool Patch Pumpkins in Dixon California which was 60 acres large and won the Guinness World Record for the largest corn maze!
A corn maze signA corn maze sign
6. Throw a Friendsgiving
Friendsgiving, a growing tradition spawned from the custom of Thanksgiving has been a favorite among many. The mash-up word between “friends” and “thanksgiving” entered the Meriam Webster dictionary in 2020 and it is your typical Thanksgiving meal but just for your closest of friends.
A group of friend having a thanksgiving lucheonA group of friend having a thanksgiving lucheon
7. Eat Candy Corn
Originally known as ‘chicken feed’, the production of the tri-colored candy corn began in the 1880s and has since become a staple of Halloween and fall. For over 100 years these sugar-loaded candies have been passed out to trick-or-treaters, so if you haven’t tried them yet, now is the time! Order you bag of Brach’s Classic Candy Corn before they run out.
Candy CornCandy Corn
8. Bring a Fresh Baked Pie to a Neighbor
Make sure you squeeze a little kindness into your fall bucket list. Modern times may be hectic and sometimes alienating but fall is always a good time to be a little more mindful and show some neighborly love. Pack all the tastes of autumn into a seasonal pie and show a little kindness to the ones next door.
You can always find great pie recipes on All Recipes, but for something extra special Saveur created a list of the best pies to bake right now.
9. Create an Autumn Inspired Cocktail
The flavors of autumn are many, from the taste of a spicy pumpkin latte to apple cider. Fall is also the time for cranberries and figs which pairs to be added to punches and sangria. Plus, it’s a time of hot mulled cider, boozy hot chocolate and apple cider hot toddies (shots) added to a cup of hot water. Take all these traditional flavors and drinks to create your own autumn-inspired cocktail.
If you don’t have all the cocktail-making gadgets, BARILLIO’s 7-piece set will get you started!
10. Tailgate at a Football Game
For those of you who never have heard of it before, it’s when you have a casual gathering in the parking lot of a stadium before a game (typically football). Time-honored American traditions such as tailgating speak of fall and are enjoyed by all – even those who don’t enjoy football. Even those of you who don’t go to the football game can still recreate the tailgate experience with some snacks and a few friends to cheer for your team from the comfort of your own couch.
A group of friends tailgatingA group of friends tailgating
11. Go Apple Picking at an Orchard
Visits to orchards are a typical fall thing to do, and there’s nothing quite as enjoyable as heading to the outdoors for some apple-picking fun. Colors can range from dark green to orange, bright pink and even a combination depending on the variety. Plus, each will have different flavor profiles. Be sure to ask the farmer at the orchard to tell you what the characteristics of the different varieties are, then you can decide what to do with them. Perhaps bake an apple pie for a neighbor?
12. Carve a Pumpkin
The fun of scooping out pumpkin guts is as good as it gets as far as fall activities are concerned, but you need to pick the right one. These days some producers have removed some of the guesswork by labelling ‘pie pumpkins’ and ‘carving pumpkins’. However you can find the right pumpkin for carving by tapping it and trying to hear a hollow sound, choosing one with a consistent coloring and making sure it sits flat. Once you’ve found the right pumpkin, push your creativity to the limits by carving out different designs from Jack O Lantern to spooky bats. Add candles on the inside and enjoy the sweetness of the light.
Don’t know what design to carve? House Beautiful has compiled a list of 52 ideas that are sure to impress your neighbors. Don’t forget to have an expert pumpkin carving kit handy. If pumpkin carving seems too messy or dangerous, try a virtual alternative – carve an online pumpkin.
13. DIY a Pumpkin Spice Latte
What do you do with the pumpkin puree gutted from your carved out pumpkin? Nothing tastes of fall like a sip of Pumpkin Spice Latte, and you don’t have to go to Starbucks to get one. You can one at home with some blended pumpkin flesh from your carved out pumpkin. Just warm any kind of milk (full cream milk, non-fat, coconut, almond – any you like!) and then add the pumpkin puree, sugar, spices and vanilla extract in a pot. Combine the pumpkin spice mixture with strong coffee, and add whipped cream on the top. Voila! PS: you can get the exact recipe at Inspired Taste.
14. Do a 1,000 Piece Autumn-themed Puzzle
So you’re indoors and it’s raining outside. Brainteasers are the perfect fall activity for those who enjoy a challenge, and completing a 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzle is one of them. The whole family can sit around the table looking through the pieces. The most frustrating part is doing the puzzle only to find one piece has been misplaced. Eaten by the dog perhaps? Who knows!
Not sure what puzzle to complete? Amazon has a bunch of cheap and cute autumn inspired ones. Also don’t forget to check out the best tips to for completing a jigsaw puzzle before you get started!
15. Visit the Local Pumpkin Patch
What better place to pick a pumpkin than at the pumpkin patch. It is one of the most exciting fall things to do for families because most producers also include other activities, such as hayrides, to enhance the experience. The best time to arrive is 15 minutes before the gates open so as not to have to wait in a long line or arrive too late to pick the best pumpkins.
A pumpkin patchA pumpkin patch
16. Participate in a Halloween Costume Contest
Trick-or-treating is one of the best places to show off your costumes, but take it up a notch and attend a Halloween event where you can enter your ensemble into a contest. Not all is not lost even if you have nowhere to go, if there’s no costume contests near you, perhaps you can submit your costume to a virtual contest (yes—it’s a thing now!).
17. Attend a Fall Festival
There’s something magical about Autumn, with its colorful leaves, cider smells and Halloween activities. All around the world the significance of Fall is celebrated, from China’s mid-Autumn Moon festival to India’s Diwali, festival of lights. These are worth putting on your Fall bucket list, but closer to home there’s everything from the West Side Nut Club Fall Festival in Indiana to the Great Jack O Lantern blaze at the Hudson Valley. Fall festivals are aplenty, and chances are there’s a fall festival happening somewhere near you.
18. Host a Board Game Night
Stay in for the evening, get cozy in your jammies and have a game night marathon. There are different games for all ages, but Bingo and Scrabble are favorites for almost friends and everyone in the family (this bingo set comes with everything you need!). You can make it even more fun by adding prizes for the winner, like store gift cards, candies or extra TV time for the kids.
My favorite adult game night involves a few fierce rounds of Cards Against Humanity, but Smart Ass and Drink-A-Palooza will also make it a lively night. If you want to make your game night more family friendly for the kids then look at these family games. Still unsure of which games to play? Check out this list: Board Games Bucket List: 50 of the All Time Best Ones to Play
Board Game NightBoard Game Night
19. Get Cozy By a Wood Burning Fire
Autumn is the right time for warmth and relaxation—just imagine yourself in front of a log fire watching the dancing flames while sipping on a glass of wine or warm apple cider, rain outside and your faithful dog sitting beside you. To enhance the experience add some scents to the fire place. For instance, dried apple for a fruity scent, lemon peel for a sweet fragrance, cinnamon sticks or pine cones to bring the spirit of a pine forest to your home.
20. Plant Fall Flowers
Fall flowers like pansies, Japanese anemones and mums will ensure that your garden looks colorful and at its eye-catching best. Consult with your supplier to be certain that you make the best choices for where you live and to determine which perennials will flower through the fall months. Before making your decision, visit a growing zone map, which is a helpful guide to help you choose the most suitable varieties for your location.
PS: you don’t even have to leave the house to buy your flowers, you can easily get your pretty blooms online at Burpee.