Fall is here! Can’t you tell by this 85-degree weather we’re having? As much as I love
my summer clothes and the sun beating on my face, I am constantly stuck inside studying now, and I’d kind of like to put on a sweater or some sweatpants. Or maybe both, don’t judge.
There are plenty of different activities to complete during the autumn season, and I am here to provide you with merely a starter list. Some are pretty basic, some more uncommon, but all a-maize-ing! Yes, I said it.
If you’re in the mood for some food, well I’m with you, but here are some great fall ideas to help you get in the mindset.
- Cook up some hot soup! Butternut squash, turkey and rice, chili, you name it. Serve with some grilled cheese or a hot panini, and you’re good to go.
- Stir up some apple cider with cinnamon sticks and maple syrup. Trust me, it’s good.
- Bake Pinterest-worthy confections. I’ll be the first one to admit I stink at baking, but grab a friend who can whisk and knead and there’s no way you’ll fail. My friend, a self-certified baking expert, suggests trying Apple Pie Cookies, Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting, or Apple Cider Doughnuts. Personally, I’m a sucker for some homemade apple crisp.
- Ruin your teeth by biting into a flavorful caramel apple. It’s 100 percent worth it, don’t worry.
- Donate your extra food to a local food pantry or homeless shelter, or volunteer at one. Any help they can get this time of year (or any time) is greatly appreciated and will make your soul thrive.
After you’ve filled up your stomach with tasty treats, you might feel the need to wash it down with a pumpkin spice latte. We don’t judge, it’s a fall tradition. Enjoy these other traditional (or, sure, basic) ideas.
- Get lost in a corn maze. To spice it up (pun intended), bring a group of friends and play tag or hide and seek throughout the maze. Just watch out for little kiddos!
- Do a cannonball into a pile of autumn leaves. Even better, if you live next to a family or older resident, offer to rake their yard for them before you enjoy your jump.
- Pick out some tasty apples and ripe pumpkins at an apple orchard or pumpkin patch. Just like many of the activities on this list, this activity makes for a great date.
- Wear a cozy sweater. Bonus points for the sweater being a couple sizes too large for you and causing people to confuse you for a blanket when you sit on their futon. It’s sweater weather, baby!
- Celebrate football season. Whether you have a favorite high school, college or professional team, try to tailgate beforehand and then cheer them on to the win. On days without games, grab a couple of buddies and start a pickup game outside.
- Cuddle with your favorite people around a bonfire. Don’t forget the s’mores, of course. Life hack: Had a summer romance that just ended? Burn their stuff! Instant cathartic relief.
- Succumb to the pressure, buy a pumpkin spice something or another. Don’t like pumpkin? Grab a hot cocoa and just pretend, I won’t tell.
Autumn is the perfect time to unleash your artsiest self. If you mess up, I give you permission to blame me.
- Create your own bird feeder. You can make it out of many different materials and food, some fall favorites being multicolor corn, pine cones, and pumpkins.
- Design some spooky Halloween decorations. They can range from easy, small crafts that can be created and hung in a dorm room, or larger for students with apartments and houses. As for all crafts and baking, the best place I know to find spine-chilling ideas is Pinterest.
- Fashion a DIY Halloween costume, perhaps matching ones with your significant other or a group of besties. Some of my personal favorites that I’ve seen have been a luminous jellyfish (made with a clear umbrella and bright, glow-in-the-dark streamers), a group of Wizard of Oz characters, and a Flo/Mayhem duo.
- Carve (or paint!) a pumpkin. Decide if you’re more Lucy or Linus and whether or not you want to “kill” your pumpkin, then get those creative juices flowing and construct the craziest, creepiest or coolest pumpkin creations possible.
If you’re less of a craft kid, and more of an outdoor being with a wild side, this is the list for you. If you think you hate the great outdoors, this list may help you rethink that.
- Go for a bike ride. As you feel the air rush by your face and observe the beauty around you, you’ll forget you’re even exercising. Don’t forget a helmet.
- Train for the Turkey Trot. Walking or running, it doesn’t matter, but you can use those same bike trails, or just explore campus and Des Moines on foot to prepare for this exciting 5K.
- Hike through the woods to hear the crunch of leaves beneath you and behold the magnificent, bright colors of the season. Try coming back every week on the same day to observe how fast the surroundings change as winter approaches.
- For those who read the first three list items and ran out of breath (I feel you), don’t worry. Grab some buddies and pals, a projector, blankets and a white sheet. Snuggle up close and watch your favorite movies outside in the crisp autumn air.
Not all of fall is beautiful and innocent; in fact, it can often be a fairly eerie time of the year. For all of you that are more daring than me, go ahead and check these off.
- Brave a haunted house. Be forewarned though, the more frightened you appear to be, the more they will attempt to frighten you. I know from personal experience.
- Visit a graveyard. If you go at night, especially on the Friday the 13th that is approaching, you deserve a medal for your bravery, in my opinion.
- Read the book Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. These stories have haunted me since elementary school so grab a flashlight and read at your own risk.
- Watch scary movies. I’d give you some recommendations, but the movie Coraline terrifies me, so the extent of my scary movie knowledge is limited. Nothing a quick Google search couldn’t fix. Scaredy cat like me? No problem! Try these classics: Halloweentown, Twitches or Ghostbusters.
Looking for something fall-like to do on campus? Look no further than this list!
- Taste of Des Moines: Sept. 18 from 3 – 4:30 p.m. in Parents Hall (get there early!).
- St. Catherine of Siena’s Apple Orchard Excursion: Sept. 22 from 6 – 9 p.m., meet at St. Catherine’s.
- Free Movie Friday’s Halloween Showing of Hereditary: Oct. 31 at 7 p.m. (actually a Wednesday!) in Sussman.
- Drake football, soccer and volleyball games: various dates/times, free for students. For more info, go to: https://godrakebulldogs.com/calendar.aspx
- DU Good Day: Sept. 22 from 9:30 – 11:30 a.m. at Meals for the Heartland.
Fall spirit is not limited to Drake’s campus either. Bike around town, take the D.A.R.T. bus or carpool with friends to experience these autumn gems in the Des Moines area.
- Walk, run or bike around Gray’s Lake, especially around sundown. Breathe in the fresh air and renew your energy.
- Check off pumpkin patch, corn maze, hayride and much more at Howell’s Pumpkin Patch in Cumming, IA.
- Visit your favorite animals at Blank Park Zoo.
- Shop for your fall favorites and pet all the cute dogs at the Des Moines Farmers Market, every Saturday (until Oct. 27) from 7 a.m. to 12 p.m. in downtown Des Moines.
- Celebrate El Día de los Muertos festivities: Oct. 28 from 12 – 4 p.m., Des Moines Art Center.
- Show off your skills at Waveland Golf Course.
- Explore 300+ exhibitors at the Fall Arts & Crafts Show: Sept. 28 – 30, Iowa State Fairgrounds.
- Experience Oktoberfest festivities: Sept. 28 – 29, near Des Moines’ court district.
No doubt, I could have taken up the entire newspaper with more and more lists of ideas for fall fun. I narrowed down my original and quite lengthy list to include my very favorites and the components I believe are the most practical for my fellow broke college students. Even if you complete exactly zero activities from these lists, I sincerely hope you take time to enjoy the autumn season in whichever way feels best for you, relax a little and enjoy some gourd times (sorry! It had to be done).