Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Ultimate Bucket List for Fall

Hello, everyone! I'm currently melting into a lake of my own sweat, so that's fun. I've made a decision: if I get rich after I graduate, I'm donating a giant check of money to this school. And much like Barbara Walters earmarked her donation to my school for a campus center in her name, I will earmark my donation. But it will not be for a campus center. It will be for AIR CONDITIONING IN ALL THE BUILDINGS! I WILL BE A HERO

Anyway, so suffice it to say, I am VERY ready for summer to end. And of course, when summer ends, it's time for autumn. I love all the seasons equally, as you may know, but I do not dislike them equally. That is to say, there are many things to hate about all the seasons, but there are the least things to hate about autumn. Winter's cold, summer's hot, spring's allergy season, and what's autumn? Also allergy season, but not as bad. But it's made up for by all the cool stuff!

So, because I'm really really excited for autumn, I decided to make an ultimate autumn bucket list. There are a lot of things you can do in the fall, and I'll probably do a couple of them. But I'm not making a realistic bucket list, just like I didn't order realistic nachos that time I regretted my life decisions. I ordered ultimate nachos, and this is the ultimate fall bucket list. With all possible things one can do in the months of September, October, and November to fully enjoy that autumn-y feeling.

I've categorized them into a handful of lists, so here you go:

Outdoor activities

1. Go apple picking at an apple orchard
2. Go pumpkin picking at a pumpkin patch
3. Go to a corn maze and solve it
4. Go on a haunted hayride, or a regular hayride
5. Attend a fall festival or street fair
6. Go leaf collecting
7. Take an autumn hike through the woods, or in a park
8. Go outside and collect all sorts of symbols of fall: fallen leaves, acorns, beechnuts, chestnuts, pine cones, pine needles, etc.
9. Take pictures to document the changing of the leaves
10. Rake the leaves in your yard and jump into a pile of them
11. Take artsy hipster selfies of you in the autumn scenery, or take photographs of the books you're reading with autumn leaves and stuff
12. Write down observations of the changing weather
13. Stalk squirrels/chipmunks/etc to observe their behavioral patterns during the changing season. Maybe even locate a squirrel nest or chipmunk tunnels!
14. Watch birds migrate.
15. Go on a nature walk at night to observe that spooky autumn night life.
16. Go out to see the harvest moon.

Indoor activities

1. Sit by the window with a warm beverage
2. Read while you watch the leaves or rain fall outside
3. Curl up under the blankets during a storm
4. Try on fall outfits, like sweaters, scarves, boots, leggings, whatever
5. Bake/cook autumn foods (see next category for some of those)
6. Spend a day (or a few hours) in the library
7. Knit sweaters and stuff
8. Stand by the window mysteriously while the wind howls
9. Go to an animal shelter to pet cats (cats feel like a particularly autumn-y animal, I guess because they're cozy and because Halloween). Feel free to pet the other animals too, of course.
10. Write autumn poetry (this can be indoors or outdoors, technically)
12. Don't forget to do NaNoWriMo, and maybe make cute little calendars or posters for it.

Foods to eat and drinks to drink

1. Pumpkin spice everything- pumpkin spice bread, muffins, lattes, cocktails, cookies, pizza, whatever else you can think of
2. The apple category:
-Applesauce (especially hot applesauce with cinnamon and nutmeg)
-Hot apple cider/cold apple juice
-Apple cake
-Cinnamon apple strudel
-Apple donuts
-Apple cookies
3. Pancakes with maple syrup. Or waffles with maple syrup. Or straight-up maple syrup
4. Maple syrup candies, especially those that are shaped like little maple leaves
5. Actually... fried maple leaves are a thing in Japan
6. Maple donuts
8. Coffee with weird flavors. Don't stop at Pumpkin Spice, everyone. Do other stuff.
9. Hot chocolate
10. Soup! Including but not limited to: pumpkin soup, minestrone, harvest vegetable soup, squash soup, tomato soup with grilled cheese, spicy lentil soup, potato-leek soup... as long as it's cozy
11. Squash recipes! Including but not limited to: squash pizza, roasted squash (either sweet or savory), squash soup as aforementioned, stuffed squash, etc.
12. Those amazing little cookies they gave you in elementary school with pictures of pumpkins on them and they could fit in your palm. If you can find those, tell me where.
13. Halloween candy, especially stuff like candy corn. I am firmly pro-candy corn, so all you candy corn haters can just go to the dentist to preach about how great you are.
14. Soft pretzels. Not sure why.
15. Thanksgiving foods, like cranberry sauce and pearl onions and green beans and I guess turkey for you omnivores out there.
16. This whole list of Halloween-themed beverages

Crafts to make

1. Leaf rubbings, of course
2. Autumn wreaths to hang on your door
3. Those Thanksgiving hand turkeys. Who cares if you're an adult.
4. Halloween themed crafts, including but not limited to: bats with movable wings, spiders, ghost crafts, pumpkin crafts, and more. Look online or use your imagination.
5. Centerpieces made out of pinecones and acorns.
6. Draw a tree trunk on a piece of paper and cover in colored bits of stuff to represent autumn leaves.
7. Owl shaped anything.
8. Make a mug out of clay.
9. Autumn-themed jewelry, whether it's just a leaf/feather pendant on a long string, or a whole bunch of multicolored beads.
10. Cards for the various autumn holidays.

OK, this is the "recommendations" section of this post, so this is my personal preference. If you want, you can totally make your own list of autumn books/movies/etc, maybe inspired by the themes in my list. (and possibly share in the comments?)

Books and stuff to read (NOT including poems because I'm making a post for that later)

1. When Autumn Comes by Robert Maass- cute picture book with good photography
2. Fletcher and the Falling Leaves by Julia Rawlinson- ADORABLE picture book with beautiful illustrations
3. Any collection of short stories by Neil Gaiman, but particularly Fragile Things or Smoke and Mirrors. There's a lot of horror in there for the Halloween theme. I like "October in the Chair" and "Sunbird."
4. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman is also wonderful.
5. The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland series by Catherynne M. Valente- middle grade/YA crossover kind of thing.  I will never stop recommending these. Their whimsical, dashing fantasy make for a perfect autumn read.
6. The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater- I promise this isn't just going to turn into a list of my favorite books, but these young adult books are supernatural and mysterious. And Blue Lily, Lily Blue actually takes place in the fall, so.
7. Excerpts of Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling- Read the autumn-y bits. And then probably the rest of them, too, and cry.
8. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell- a cozy New Adult read that talks about starting college and is also just great in general.
9. Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo- a YA fantasy that's perfect for a chilling Halloween feel
10. The Sisters Grimm by Michael Buckley- you got all your fairy tales there, and it's a fun and awesome middle-grade series.

Music to listen to 

1. I'll start with my autumn playlist, because obviously I have one. I think I could probably edit it a bit but here it is for now.
2. Anything from the Bombay Bicycle Club album "I Had the Blues But I Shook Them Loose." Particularly the song, uh, "Autumn."
3. "September" by Daughtry
4. Halloween-themed music
5. "Back to Hogwarts" from AVPM, obviously
6. "Autumn" from Vivaldi's Four Seasons
7. "Wake Me Up When September Ends" by Green Day
8. "Sweater Weather" by the Neighborhood
9. This list of Harry Potter themed ambient noise

Movies/TV show episodes to watch

1. Horror movies and Halloween movies, if you like those
2. The Addams Family/The Munsters, in that vein
3. Dead Poets Society, for poetry, prep schools, and Robin Williams
4. Kiki's Delivery Service, for an adorable movie about a young witch
5. Parks and Rec episodes about Halloween or autumn: Greg Pikitis, Flu Season, Harvest Festival, Meet 'n' Greet, Halloween Surprise (!!!)
6. How I Met Your Mother episodes about Halloween/Thanksgiving/autumn: The Slutty Pumpkin, Belly Full of Turkey, Swarley (there's a pumpkin latte mentioned and it's just a great episode anyway), Monday Night Football, Slapsgiving, Slapsgiving 2: Revenge of the Slap, Canning Randy, Blitzgiving, The Slutty Pumpkin Returns, Disaster Averted, The Autumn of Breakups
7. The episode "Girth" from Pushing Daisies, but also, all of Pushing Daisies
8. How to Get Away with Murder, the whole show
9. I haven't watched Supernatural but I think there's some good Halloween episodes on there

Back-to-school specific activities

1. Go back-to-school shopping, either for clothes or supplies
2. Arrange your notebooks, folders, pens, etc.
3. Prepare new outfits for school.
4. Do your homework in the autumn scenery.
5. Make a study playlist.
6. Make after-school snacks.
7. Sing "Back to Hogwarts" really loudly.

Halloween-specific activities

1. Go trick-or-treating
2. Buy Halloween candy to give to trick-or-treaters
3. Decide on Halloween costumes, try them out, buy them, make them
4. Halloween costume fashion show!
5. Decorate your house for Halloween
6. Go out on Halloween night at midnight or something
7. Tell ghost stories
8. Go to a Halloween party for the scariest story of all... socializing
9. Go to a haunted house

Thanksgiving specific activities

1. Tell what you are thankful for
2. Go to Thanksgiving dinner
3. Watch the Macy's parade or apparently watching football is a thing?
4. Eat Thanksgiving foods
5. Spend time with your family, or if you hate your family, spend time with your friends/pets/alone
6. Do something to give back to the community, like volunteer at a food bank
7. Educate yourself about the true and horrifying history of Thanksgiving, for some less fun times
8. Make a giant poster for people to write things they're thankful for on throughout the year. My family does this and it's great!
9. Sing Thanksgiving songs.
10. Go on a hike to get autumn stuff for the centerpiece for your table. Then decorate the table.

Other holidays in the autumn and what they're about- you can research them or join someone who knows more to celebrate them

1. Labor Day and Columbus Day: They're about getting out of school/work. Labor Day is to honor the laborers of our nation. Columbus Day is stupid and pointless.
2. The Jewish High Holidays: Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are the days of atonement and the beginning of the Jewish year. I'm not going to get into them any further for fear I'll get something wrong and my mom will correct me in the comments. But the former is a good excuse to eat food, and the latter is... not, definitely not time to eat food.
3. Diwali: The Hindu festival of lights. From what I learned last year, it's considered by many to celebrate Rama's return to his home city. But there's a lot more to it.
4. Halloween or Samhain: Besides being the fun secular holiday we've turned it into, it's also a  sacred holiday for some religions. Wiccans and pagans celebrate the end of the harvest on this day, and plenty of other spiritual stuff.
5. Dia de los Muertos: This is a Mexican holiday to celebrate the dead. There are many traditions associated with it that I don't know about.
6. All Saints' Day: That's the day after Halloween. Christians celebrate saints on this day.
7. Sukkot: Another Jewish holiday, where we go outside and build huts called "sukkot" that we're technically supposed to sleep and eat in. It's a celebration of the harvest and also remembers our time in the desert when we lived in temporary abodes. Again, look to the comments for my mother's corrections.
8. For more, check out this Wikipedia page that might lead you to more educational links.

So, hope you enjoyed that. That took me only five million years. And now I'm hoping to take a shower and go to bed in this horrible summer heat. I almost forgot how awful the weather was while writing this post... :(

Thanks for reading!


  1. Wonderful. I feel cooler just reading this.
    I would add "Listening to 'Heart' and watching the music video a dozen times. The new better super duper enhanced quality version of course... :)

  2. "Stalk squirrels" Best. Activity. Suggestion.
    The cookies with pumpkins on them are the simplest cut and bake ones. I can get you some from Shoprite but you need to bake them yourself.
    "Herbivores"? Really? For shame!
    I love the distinction you made between RH and YK. Clearly you have captured the essence of these 2 holidays.
    I canNOT believe you did not mention the many awesome foods we have during Sukkot. I thought this was the whole point of this post: autumn food and all its glory. How could you forget the butternut squash rice dish? Or the rimon salsa?

    Anyway, amazing post. If only the almighty will read it and realize that this is supposed to be the season of sweaters, not sweatings. Maybe the shofar blowing on Monday will remind Him?