We are truly experiencing the best of both worlds right now with borderline crisp mornings melting away into warm and sunny afternoons. I feel spoiled, as summer seems to last forever here in Houston (especially last year). But autumn is upon us, and I am spending more time outside now that the intense heat has subsided. With beautiful weather, changing leave colors, and Halloween around the corner, this is probably my favorite season of the year.
Here are some of my ideas for how to enjoy this beautiful season. Please share your own in the comments below!
- Watch a Bat Colony Emerge: Over the summer Paul and I checked out the bat colony under Waugh Bridge here in Houston at dusk to watch the bats emerge. It was pretty neat! I was surprised that I still had a few mosquito bites from the event, given that over 250,000 mosquito hunters were just feet away from us. With the Bats and Bridges program, there appear to be many bridges in Texas that were built specifically with bats in mind where you can watch the creatures yourself. In Houston the bats do not migrate South for the winter (everywhere else you need to check and make sure the bat population has not migrated). Search for a bat colony in your area (could be under specifically designed bridges, in caves, old mines, etc.), and see if there is a safe location for viewing.
- Drive by a Haunted Location and Share Mysterious Local Folklore: There used to be a gang near our farm that allegedly stole farming equipment and diesel fuel during the night (they are the reason why my grandfather always made sure the equipment found its way to the shed at the end of the day). I didn’t know anything about this gang or other mysteries surrounding their lives until our tennis practice was cancelled one rainy autumn morning. My sister was my transportation, and she decided that instead of going straight home she would drive me and her friend down this creepy, wooded path to where this gang used to live. She told us the tidbits she knew, and how there might be a body buried on the very ground we were driving over. It was so spooky! I don’t know what is or is not true of everything that was said, but the memory remains with me. You can find out about folklore and alleged hauntings in your own area by doing a search, asking around, or visiting your local library. Who knows what you might find.
- Share Halloween Folklore: Perhaps ghost stories and mysterious folklore is too spooky for you and your family. Why not share stories of how Halloween actually started? Halloween has certainly gone mainstream with costumes, candy, cartoons, and a slew of horror movies. But where did it all originate from? This read from the History Channel can get you started.
- Carve More than Just Pumpkins: Why just carve a pumpkin when you can carve Halloween designs onto fruit and even vegetables to add some festivity all month long? Who knows, maybe your children will be more apt to eat fruits and vegetables after they have worked on them. It would also be super cute and thoughtful to carve a piece of fruit that you stick in your children’s lunchbox as a surprise. Here are some free templates you can print out (obviously the large ones will not work on a pear or apple).
- Enjoy the Harvest: In our backyard the lemon tree is beginning to drop beautiful Meyer lemons. We are not sure what we will use these for, but they will not go wasted in our kitchen. Visiting farmer’s markets and seeing all of the fresh produce is a joy this time of year. Apple orchards may be hours away from us, but many of you live around an orchard where you can partake in the harvest and pick your own fruit. If you don’t live within driving distance, instead try making homemade apple cider doughnuts, apple cider donut holes, canning homemade applesauce (my friend Aurora does this every year!), or making other apple baked goods. Heat up the leftover apple cider from the doughnut making and enjoy a cup outside.
- Host a Scary Movie Night: Snuggle up to popcorn, finger foods, and a good horror flick. You can go classic with a black and white movie like Night of the Living Dead, or more modern with the Paranormal Activity movies (I have never watched these). Some of my personal favorites are The Shining, The Exorcist, The Birds, and The Amityville Horror. If you are not into scary horror movies, you might want to have a marathon of laughably bad and cheaply made thrillers (thanks to my blogging friend Crystal from Budgeting in the Fun Stuff for sharing this idea). Sounds fun to me!
What frugal activities do you like to do during this season?