The leaves haven’t changed just yet, but fall is certainly in the air! (After all, Starbucks has released the Pumpkin Spice Lattes, which is nearly the same thing, right?) Now that the weather isn’t quite so extreme, take an evening to enjoy all the season has to offer. Get started with a few of these date ideas:
Go Back to High School
Few things say autumn like a crisp Friday night, hot chocolate, and a high school football game. Go support the local team and enjoy the small-town spirit! This is a perfect way to get a little bit of the flavor of your home—especially if you have just PCSed and are looking to feel part of the community. Don’t forget a few extra bucks for the local carnival food and a blanket or seat cushions!
Head out to the orchard and have fun picking the ripest, juiciest apples. Don’t have apple orchards where you are? Pick the fruit that’s in season! Once you’re done, take the apples home and make this easy slow-cooker applesauce together. It can be frozen for 6 months and has no sugar added to it. (By the way, it’s delicious on ice cream, too!)
Sure, it’s stereotypical… but that’s for a good reason! Hayrides are a fun way to relax and slow down. Need more of a thrill? Head to the haunted hayrides and have a (silly) reason to grab onto your partner.
Enjoy the bounties of the harvest at your local farmer’s market before they close for the season. If you’re up for a challenge, make dinner together using the fall favorites you picked up.
Pumpkin Picking and Carving
Sure, you could invite the kids along… or you could have a little fun with some pumpkin picking. After you’ve chosen the perfect pumpkin, take it home and have fun carving your pumpkins… with flair. Instead of the standard eyes, nose, and mouth, what about using a Dremel to carve a pattern? Or painting your pumpkin with glow-in-the-dark paint? Or trying shaving a design into it? Peruse these unique ideas or check out Pinterest for more inspiration.
If you and your partner enjoy craft beer, then you’ve got to make room to explore a craft beer Oktoberfest in your area. Don’t worry if you’re not in a traditionally German area—Oktoberfests are quickly becoming ubiquitous in America! You might even be close to one of the best ones in the nation. And if you’re not, no sweat. With craft breweries popping up all over America, there’s bound to be one in your neck of the woods. (Of course, if you’re stationed in Germany, you’ll have no problem finding one!)
Fall Foliage Tour
Take in the fall colors in your area by biking, hiking, or going for a drive. Many CONUS bases are close to National Parks (which offer free admission to military families), so be sure to see if you can enjoy the great outdoors there. Not sure when your area offers peak fall beauty? Check out this state-by-state guide.
Bonfire and Apple Cider
Check the outdoor fire laws in your area as well as the forecast… and then head out with the makings for s’mores and warmed apple cider. Make a bonfire and enjoy!
Fall Clean Up
Pay it forward and find someone who could use help cleaning up their yard for winter. Maybe an elderly person needs someone who can rake the leaves, or a disabled couple could use someone who can clean out the gutters. Together, spread a little happiness before the cold winter sets in!
Fall offers so many opportunities to enjoy the outdoors and the hidden gems in your community. No matter what you do, make sure you spend some time taking advantage of them!
Jo is the author of Jo, My Gosh! a blog about her journey as a newlywed military wife. When she’s not working from home, she’s writing, reading, trying new recipes, watching sports or cross stitching. Catch her on Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook and say hi!