3. Check your local theater for special horror/Halloween movie screenings

Cinebistro in Tampa, Florida

Most AMC theaters air the 1978 classic Halloween sometime in October. Additionally, you can check local theaters to see if anyone is airing any old classics. If you live near Tampa, the gorgeous historic theater downtown airs Halloween classics for several days every October and oftentimes hosts special events. A few years back they screened Child’s Play with a special appearance and Q&A session with Alex Vincent who plays Andy!

Seeing a horror movies classic on the big screen is a fun and festive way to get out of the house while still enjoying the special ambiance that goes along with the season. This year’s lineup at the Tampa Historic Theater is fantastic and includes old favorite like Hocus Pocus, Friday the 13th, and Poltergeist, along with new classics like The Conjuring and It Follows!

4. Design your own costume

The scariest Halloween mask I've ever seen! Although I recommend getting a bit more creative...
The scariest Halloween mask I’ve ever seen! Although I recommend getting a bit more creative…

Halloween is so much more fun when you have some type of festive craft project to keep you busy and excited in the weeks leading up to the holiday. It creates a little bit of anticipation and gives you something to look forward to. And it’s so much more fun and creative, not to mention cheaper, than those pricey store bought costumes. No idea where to start? Look to Pinterest for inspiration.

5. Check out a scary book at the library

Typically this time of year, your local library or book store will have a special section dedicated to scary books. You may find a scary Stephen King novel (I highly recommend It), ghost stories, or even a book dedicated to the haunted history of your own town. Light a few pumpkin scented candles, turn up the AC, take a cozy seat by the fireplace, and enjoy a bone chilling night of scary stories!

6. Plan a road trip up to the mountains

Mt. Laurel cabin rentals in Blue Ridge, Georgia

If you just need cozy sweaters, brisk temps, and a bit of fall foliage this time of the year, then you must plan for a weekend getaway to the Appalachians. Sure, it can be quite a drive depending on where you live in Florida, but so worth it for the dramatic change in scenery. Blue Ridge, Georgia, one of the closest weekend mountain escapes, offers the traditional fall colors, activities, and weather of the season. This gorgeous town marks the start of the Appalachian Trail, so there are plenty of gorgeous hiking opportunities. For a really beautiful stroll, complete with fall colors and a waterfall, check out the 2 mile Longcreek Falls hike. Also plan for a ride on the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway which offers picturesque fall color rides the entire month.

In terms of lodging, a stay in a rustic cabin in the woods is a must! I recommend Mt. Laurel Cabins as these beautiful & affordable cabin rentals include rustic decor, extra luxuries like hot tubs and game rooms, gorgeous views of the mountains, and a really peaceful and secluded setting in the midst of the woods.

If you are willing to drive a bit further, I highly recommend renting a cabin in the gorgeous Appalachian mountains of Western North Carolina. This area is absolutely magnificent: the perfect rustic escape from the Florida cities, and well worth the longer drive.

A sample trip itinerary for Blue Ridge, Georgia

7. Find a pumpkin patch

Pumpkin patch - the perfect fall activity

There’s plenty of fun to be had at seasonal pumpkin patches and fall festivals throughout the state the entire month of October. Just because it’s hotter in Florida doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice the fall festivals! For a convenient listing of fall events by county, visit Pumpkin Patches and More.  You may be truly surprised at how many traditional events including corn mazes, pumpkin patches, and hay rides you have to choose amongst. Just because it is hot doesn’t mean Florida is devoid of any culture! Visit a patch in Northern Florida for the cooler temps and the added bonus of walking amongst traditional trees versus palms.

8. Pick up fresh produce at the Farmer’s Market

Fall is a great time to stroll around your local farmers market picking up fresh seasonal produce like butternut squash, potatoes, and pumpkin to use in fall recipes. It’s also a great time of the year weather wise to be outside enjoying the fresh breeze and cool-for-Florida weather.

9. Stroll around a flea market

Flea market in Tampa, Florida

If you love flea markets, you are in luck as Florida is home to a never ending supply. Take advantage of the milder weather and enjoy a morning hunting around for vintage treasures. Tampa is seriously the king of flea markets (I’ve never seen more!), with endless options including the massive Big Top Flea Market featuring more than 1200 booths.