Fall is a beautiful season of abundance and gorgeous weather that offers a host of produce, festivals, and family fun opportunities. This year, don’t let the season fly by without taking full advantage of it! We’ve put together a list of both activities you can enjoy doing at home, and wonderful places to go visit for festive entertainment. Whether you decide to stay in or leave the house, you and your children are bound to have a blast!
Make a bonfire with s’mores: There’s nothing quite like the feeling of being next to a warm fire on a cool fall night…or of biting into a perfectly golden brown marshmallow. Modernize your s’mores by getting creative with the ingredients and toppings; homemade cookies, pretzels, caramels, bacon bits, and peanut butter will be a treat for everyone. Looking to add some adult fun? Try dipping your toasted marshmallows into a cup of Bailey’s. Trust us – it’s delicious – just don’t tell the kids.
Build a scarecrow: The beauty of this activity is that you can make the project as simple or as complex as you wish. Get creative with yours by dressing it in interesting outfits, adding fun accessories, and even using a carved pumpkin for the head. You can make a grandpa scarecrow, a Barbie scarecrow…the sky’s the limit! Browse your local thrift store for outfits, and peruse through this website to make sure that you have all the necessary materials.
Make caramel apples: These treats are a fall necessity. Simply stick wooden skewers in fresh apples, dip them into hot caramel, roll in other sugary goodies if you wish, and place on a cookie sheet or baking rack to harden. If you’d prefer not to have your kids eat an entire caramel apple at once, no problem; making mini caramel apples is easy with a melon baller! This recipe shows you how.
Create an edible haunted house: Making cookie houses is too fun to just be reserved for Christmas time. Instead of a gingerbread house, make a haunted house! Instead of gingerbread, use dough from a cookie that better represents fall; pumpkin snickerdoodles, butterscotch apple cookies,brown sugar maple cookies, or plain sugar cookies would create festive (and drool-worthy) haunted houses. Bake in normal gingerbread house molds, attach the pieces with royal icing, and decorate! Candy corn, fall M&M’s, pecans, caramels, and other seasonal candies make for great embellishment. Put it on display to use as decoration, or dig in!
Places to Visit:
Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens: Although Lewis Ginter is gorgeous year round, you won’t want to miss the beautiful changing leaves and family events offered during the fall. Throughout October, they have cute autumn themed displays and activities for both you and your children to enjoy. You can even take your kids on a “gourd quest,” where they’re challenged to find various varieties of squash scattered across the property. On October 25, they’re even hosting Goblins and Gourds, an autumn celebration featuring music from the Richmond Indigenous Gourd Orchestra (seriously, they exist!), pumpkin painting, storytelling, pumpkin carving demos, and other intriguing exhibitions and displays.
Chesterfield Berry Farm: This farm is jam-packed with entertainment for you and your family. Pumpkin picking, hay rides, an enormous 8-acre corn maze, moon bounces, and beehive exhibits will provide you and your kids with hours of amusement. This year, they’ve even added a real world video game in the form of zombie paintball, as well as two 25 foot slides and a rope swing! We’re not sure if there’s an age limit for those, but we certainly hope not.
Ashland Berry Farm: Only 30 minutes outside of Richmond, Ashland Berry Farm is a fabulous place to go for the traditional pumpkin picking and hay rides, as well as for more unique seasonal activities. Watch your kids explore their 3D Boo House, complete with black lights and a spinning vortex, view farm animals at the animal corral, and wander through Fort Pumpkin, their kid-friendly hay maze.
Colonial Williamsburg: Colonial Williamsburg is always a “spirited” place, but especially around Halloween. In addition to the popular Howl-O-Scream event at Busch Gardens, they offer many other unique attractions that younger children can enjoy. Every night, from now until late November, they’re hosting their family-friendly Official Ghost Walk from 7-8pm. On this walking tour, you can learn all about the relentless ghosts that still haunt the taverns and historic buildings of the city. Tickets are inexpensive and can be purchased online!
Graves Mountain Lodge: This picturesque retreat, nestled at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains, is the perfect place to go to pick apples this time of year. With loads of varieties available to gather, they’re bound to have your family’s favorites. This weekend and next weekend (October 24-25), they’re hosting their annual Apple Harvest Festival, which includes apple picking, of course, but also arts and crafts, live bluegrass music, horseback rides, hay rides, and historic cooking demonstrations. You won’t want to miss out!
Stay in, go out, or do both! Either way, these activities will have you and your children embracing the season like never before, and having an incredible time doing so.