The season of crunchy leaves and caramel apples is finally upon us! While you may be tempted by fall fashion trends or daily Starbucks PSLs, you can make the most of autumn without overspending. We’ve put together a list of 20 frugal fall activities that should keep you busy (and your bank account full) until Christmas!
1. Feed the birds. Pinecone bird feeders are simple, cheap and nostalgic. All you need is peanut butter, seeds, and pinecones! Tie off your feeders with yarn or string and hang around your yard. This is a great activity for kids, and the birds will thank you.
2. Build a scarecrow. Everyone has old clothes lying around. This is a great way to clean up leaves around your yard and re-purpose useless duds. Find a pair of jeans and a shirt, stuff with leaves or newspaper, sew together, and add a paper bag or pumpkin head! Your scarecrow will look great on your porch for Halloween and won’t cost you anything.
3. Spice up your home. Getting those fall smells is as easy as raiding your cabinets for things you already have. Decorate a few oranges with cloves, or collect pinecones and scent them with cinnamon for a long-lasting, cozy addition to your fall environment.
4. Make leaf luminaries. This fun craft uses glue, water, tissue paper, leaves and a balloon. Just make a mixture of water and glue, then paper mache the balloons with tissue paper, let dry, pop the balloon and enjoy! Incorporate brightly colored fall leaves to be even more festive. For more instructions see this post from Meri Cherry.
5. Brighten up your windows. A great way to preserve and enjoy those pretty fall leaves is to make “stained glass” with wax paper and old crayon shavings. Just find some leaves you like, put them on a piece of wax paper, add the shavings, top with another sheet of wax paper and iron. These pretty designs hang well in windows and are fun for children to make (with adult supervision!). Get instructions from this blogpost by Toddler Approved.
6. Make your Halloween costume. Depending on what you’re going to be, you may save a ton of money by making your own costume. Search thrift stores and get creative with DIY costumes for just about everything. Check out our 55 Cheap and Easy Halloween Costumes blogpost for ideas!
7. Visit a haunted house. For some spooky fun, check your area for haunted houses. You can often find free haunted houses for children, or Halloween carnivals that offer safe activities for all ages. You can save on haunted house excursions with Groupon.
8. Carve pumpkins. A Halloween classic. Purchase a couple of pumpkins and get creative! Whether you’re going for a detailed masterpiece or just a basic jack-o-lantern grin, this is an easy activity and a front-porch necessity for Halloween night. Plus, you can save the seeds and bake them for a tasty, healthy (and festive) snack.
9. Tell ghost stories. Sometimes the best activities are completely free. Gather around a fire and tell your favorite ghost stories with friends. If you don’t know any off the top of your head, check out Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark from your local library. It has lots of spooky stories and tells you just how to read them out loud.
10. Make decorations. There are some great decorating ideas on Pinterest that are user-friendly and don’t require expensive materials. Check out this paper plate candy corn banner from SavingByDesign or these spooky glowing eyes from HerCampus for your outdoor bushes. Most projects use simple materials you probably have around the house.
11. Toast marshmallows. S’mores aren’t just for summer. Fall bonfires are a great way to spend time with loved ones. Pick up a package of marshmallows and cuddle up under a blanket to enjoy the crisp nights.
12. Make caramel apples. It wouldn’t be fall without this sticky, sweet delight. Purchase a package of caramels and some apples and whip up a batch for a Halloween party! Don’t like the mess? You can always go for the slice-and-dip method with caramel dip available at your local grocery store.
13. Whip up a batch of chili. Chili is a wholesome, warm comfort food during the colder months. Make a big batch and freeze some for a quick pre-made meal later.
14. Sip cider. If you’re adventurous, you could try making your own cider. If you don’t want the hassle, pick up some cider at your grocery store and spice it up with cinnamon sticks, nutmeg and cloves. Let it simmer for a bit and enjoy it in front of a fire with a good book.
15. Get pumpkin spiced. No fall list would be complete without a nod to pumpkin spice. You can find just about everything in pumpkin spice this time of year, but a few actually worthy of your taste buds include Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte and the pumpkin pie blizzard from Dairy Queen. Check our Dairy Queen coupons to save money on this festive must-have.
16. Take a hike! But no, really! One of the best activities during the cooler months is hiking. You can see all the changing colors, enjoy the crisp air, and get some exercise! Bring along a friend or your furry companion and remember to stop and play in the leaves.
17. Get lost in a “maize.” Corn mazes are a fun and challenging fall activity, and usually don’t cost much. Some places even offer haunted corn mazes for Halloween thrillseekers! Search in your area for local corn mazes and plan a weekend excursion with friends.
18. Go apple picking. It’s hard not to associate fall with the delectable apple. These delicious favorites can be used in so many different ways, you’re sure to be inspired to bake or craft with apples you pick. If you don’t have access to an orchard, check out your grocery store -- apples are typically on sale this time of the year.
19. Play football. Get out and get active while having fun! Tossing around a football is a great Sunday afternoon pastime, and something the whole family can enjoy. All it costs is the price of a football.
20. Go leaf peeping. A recently growing trend, “leaf peeping” is venturing out into the world to view the changing leaves. No matter where you live, it’s likely you’ll find some changing colors nearby.Get outside, go for a drive or a walk and admire that beauty!