You might say October marks the height of fall (and it would be a hard thing to argue). The temperature finally dips—and actually stays chilly. Pumpkin patches and apple orchards are ripe for the picking. Cafes have hit their true pumpkin spice latte strides. And throughout most of the United States, the colorful change in fall foliage will peak sometime during the month of October, making this particular autumn month synonymous with prime leaf-peeping.
The only “problem” with October—despite all its fall glory—is that it tends to fly by so quickly that, come November and December, we’ll have let it slip by without enjoying what it has to offer. Before the month is up and winter is truly here, why not do one or two quintessentially fall activities with friends, your kids, your partner, or simply on your own?
There are so many ways to relish in the season’s offering both big and small, near or far from home. Here are some classic fun things to do in October to take advantage of the beautiful weather, seasonal changes, gorgeous foliage, and calm before the holiday storm.
1. Check Out Fall Foliage
Whether it’s right at a local park or a two-hour drive into the country, look up the best places to see all the gorgeous, vibrant fall foliage near you. Bring your camera and get ready to marvel at the yellows, oranges, and reds of the season.
2. Go Pumpkin Picking
Head to a pumpkin patch with your best friends, your kids, or your S.O. to find the perfect pumpkins for an October-themed doorstep or natural fall decor inside. If you’re going with kids, they’ll love being able to choose their favorite pumpkins and take them home to carve or paint.
3. Head Out for a Hike
Whether it’s flat and leisurely or long and rigorous, there’s nothing like a good hike through nature surrounded by cool, clean air and fall-touched trees. Bundle up, go with a bunch of friends, pack a picnic for the end, and don’t forget to bring your camera.
4. Go Apple Picking
Apple picking season usually starts in August and peaks through September—but there’s still time to squeeze in one last trip to a nearby apple orchard or apple farm during the first half of October. Even if the apples aren’t at their absolute best you can still walk the orchards (for the perfect apple-picking Instagram shot), eat apple cider doughnuts, and stock up on homemade apple cider. Worst case scenario, you spend the day outside!
5. Take a Bike Ride
Another way to get outside and see the leaves change is to take a bike ride along country roads. Live in a city? Make a day of it: Rent bikes, take the train (or rent a car) out of the city, and ride on local roads. In many parts of the country, October is one of the last months before the weather turns too cold for a bike ride.
6. Go to a Fall Festival
Look into local fall festivals coming up near you and take some friends, your kids, or a date out for a day of hayrides, pumpkin picking, haunted houses, local food stalls, outdoor entertainment, and caramel apples. Is there anything more fun to do in October?
7. Tour a Winery or Brewery
People often think of spending the day at a winery or brewery is just a warm-weather activity. They’re not wrong—that probably just means they’ve never been during the fall. Spoiler warning: It’s awesome. A winery or brewery likely won’t be quite as crowded in October, plus most places have indoor seating in case the weather’s chilly. Otherwise, it’s the perfect excuse to wear your cutest fall scarf and ankle boots and enjoy some fresh local wine and beer with buddies.
8. Take a Haunted Roadtrip
Boo! Love a good scare? Get some friends, find a haunted city nearby, and go nuts planning a Halloween-inspired trip. Other spooky options include going on a ghost tour, visiting an old cemetery, or touring an historic building at night (if possible).
9. Rally Friends for Touch Football
Again, take advantage before the weather really turns cold to play a game of touch football with family, friends, and neighbors. Head to a local park or pick up a game in someone’s backyard. And don’t forget to invite people in for hot cider or cocoa when you’re done.
10. Swap Summer Clothing for Fall Clothing
It’s time to trade in those sandals and bathing suits for sweaters and scarves. Spend a rainy Saturday or Sunday in October making room in your closet for your fall and winter clothing. If that sounds like a bore, turn it into a more fun activity. Put on your favorite music, a podcast, or an old favorite TV show in the background and get things done. While you’re at it, sort out gently used things you don’t wear anymore and donate them.
11. Collect Fall Leaves and Press or Preserve Them
Whenever you come across a particularly stunning leaf on the ground, bring it home to turn it into a beautiful DIY project. Not sure how? Here are three easy ways to preserve leaves at home.
12. Make Halloween Costumes
Sure, you could elbow your way through a costume store—or you could whip up an easy, homemade Halloween costume without leaving the house.
13. Make a Pumpkin Spice Latte
While Starbucks has its PSL down to a science (and will always have a place in our hearts), why not try to make your own homemade version? And we’ve got just the PSL recipe for you, right here.
14. Rake Leaves
We know, this one technically counts as a chore—so why not make a fun fall activity out of it? If your kids are around, have them lend a hand and see who can make the biggest leaf pile.
15. Make Pumpkin Puree
Another thing you can do with all those pumpkins from the pumpkin patch: Make your own pumpkin puree. Canned pumpkin has its merits, but it’s not always made from pure pumpkin. This way you can ensure yours is, plus, it’s a great way to use up those pumpkin innards from carving.
16. Add Pumpkin to Everything
Don’t stop at lattes and puree. Bake pumpkin spice bread (shown here) or muffins, try pumpkin pancakes, toast pumpkin seeds, make pumpkin lasagna, or make a batch of pumpkin-based soup—just to name a few.
17. Roast Marshmallows and Make S’mores
If you already have a cozy fall fire roaring away in the hearth, do yourself a favor and toast up some marshmallows too.
18. Decorate the House for Fall
Whatever your style—natural, minimal, glam, or rustic—take advantage of a rainy or cloudy weekend in October to finally get your home looking festive for fall. Hang a wreath on the door, prop mini pumpkins and gourds along the table, and sweep a pretty fall garland across the mantle.
19. Carve (or Paint) Pumpkins
Thanks to the promise of Halloween coming in a few weeks, pumpkin carving is a classic October activity to at home. Not a huge fan of the mess or the knife work (especially if you have young kids around)? Try these DIY pumpkin painting ideas that are much easier than carving (but no less fun or pretty!).
20. Watch Scary Movies
‘Tis the season for scary movies! Have a Netflix account? Here are some of our favorite Halloween movies you can stream right now.
21. Read a Scary Book
Whether it’s a Stephen King classic or a contemporary thriller hot off the presses, reading a creepy book in October will definitely get you in the mood for Halloween. Curl up on the couch with a blanket and a cup of tea (or maybe something stronger) and lose yourself in a chilling thriller you can’t put down.