If we’re being honest, it’s nearly impossible to distinguish summer from fall here in Southern California, especially when considering weather alone. It remains in the high-seventies to low-eighties throughout September and October, sometimes getting even hotter when Mother Nature is exceptionally displeased. If it weren’t for the heaps of mini Halloween candy or this year’s most popular costumes on display in Target, it’s very likely we couldn’t tell the beginning of autumn from the end of another scorching-hot summer (I love living here, I promise).
But with October just around the corner (we’re talking in just a couple days people!!!), the excitement of fall is finally starting to build.
Fall for me — like many who are emerging from young-adult life to a life of being a straight-up old person — has quickly become my favorite of the four seasons. I love the idea of cuddling up on the sofa in a thick cable-knit sweater and fuzzy socks with a piping hot cup of coffee (mixed with plenty of pumpkin creamer) in hand, watching Hocus Pocus on repeat. My recently found fall favoritism might also have to do with the fact that this season is the keeper of two of the greatest holidays to exist (don’t fight me on this), Halloween and Thanksgiving. All things spooky and a day dedicated to eating and hanging with family? Sign me up!
But unlike other places where autumn is clearly visible with the changing scenery and the crisper weather, it’s a little trickier here in SoCal to be convinced that it’s perfectly acceptable to finally order that PSL. So until my flight to Boston on October 28, I’ve gathered a list of highly cliché, fall-like activities — a fall bucket list if you will — to do in Southern California, in hopes that it can feel like fall even if the leaves aren’t changing.
A California Autumn
Apple picking in Julian, California
The fall before I found my current job, I worked part time in San Diego and mostly on weekends as I was in the event industry. A friend of mine was in grad school with an odd schedule similar to mine, and suggested we make a mid-week trip to Julian, a small pioneer town in East County. Julian is known to get pretty busy, especially in the fall, so the Thursday trip was *key*. Plus, I was in the midst of a Gilmore Girls binge, so I was craving a little small-town charm. This apple-loving place is famous for their cider and pies, so it only made sense that we venture to their very-own apple farm to get our fix.
I made the most delicious apple crumble from the freshly picked fruits that day, and haven’t stopped thinking about it since. I think it’s the perfect time to go back and make another yummy treat!
Picking out pumpkins at Bates Nut Farm in San Diego
That same friend has made a trip every Halloween to Bates Nut Farm with her family and has only had the best things to say. Apparently it’s not your average pumpkin patch, with pre-picked pumpkins aplenty. At the entrance, you’re given a wheelbarrow and sent on your merry way into the vast farm, where you get to harvest your own seasonal squash! You can also spend your time on hayrides or participating in other fun fall activities, making it well worth the trek out.
Pumpkin carving and pumpkin seed baking
If you make the effort to harvest your own pumpkin, the next logical step would be to carve it into something cheeky and then make some scrumptious seeds or a seasonal trail mix!
Making a yummy fall-inspired crock-pot dish
I’ve been wanting to try out an autumn-inspired slow-cooker recipe for quite some time now, and I think this year might be the one. A yummy soup, a hearty chili, or a rich, foamy latte — the possibilities are endless! Check out this mouth-watering recipe list from The Everygirl.
Host a Halloween movie marathon, complete with a potluck and an abundance of wine
Let’s be honest . . . some of the all-time best movies are the ones that take a bit of inspiration from Halloween folklore. Hocus Pocus, Halloweentown, Matilda, The Shining, Sleepy Hollow — some cheesy, some downright terrifying! Take advantage of Freeform’s 13 Nights of Halloween and invite some friends over for some yummy food and plenty of wine, and to cuddle up for a good fright fest.
Make s’mores at a beach bonfire
Alright, so it’s not necessarily an autumn activity. But when is a beach bonfire not a good idea? Add a little fall flare to it with mulled wine, cinnamon hot chocolate, and pumpkin-spice marshmallows.
Attend Halloweentime at Disneyland
And finally . . . you can’t live in Southern California and not go to Disneyland at least once a year. Instead of spending your precious time and money on any common day there, take in the charming sights and sounds of Disneyland during Halloween! Darling pumpkin Mickeys everywhere, limited-time fall treats and snacks . . . and who could resist riding the Haunted Mansion while it’s decked out in Nightmare Before Christmas decorations?!
While I loooove reading and being inspired by all of the awesome fall bucket lists provided by popular blogs like Gal Meets Glam and others from sites like The Every Girl, they often aren’t totally doable living on a budget and away from foliage. With the exception of Disneyland, I hope this budget-friendly list has inspired some of my fellow Southern California friends to get out there and enjoy that not-so-fall weather until another warm winter rolls around! 🙂