17. Carve lots of pumpkins
Carving the perfect Jack O’Lantern does not have to feel like a chore. Throw out the super hard stencil designs that come with your carving tools and instead have fun creating your own perfect jack o’lantern. I recommend carving lots so you can decorate both inside and outdoor to really amp up the Halloween ambiance. Save the seeds for a tasty snack and the filling for pumpkin recipes! Trader Joe’s sells really great carving pumpkins at a really affordable price, so stock up!
18. Treat yourself to a pumpkin flavored dessert at your favorite chain
Every year in late September, the chains begin rolling out the seasonal treats. It seems they add more and more every year in response for the rising demands for these tasty pumpkin creations. A few of my personal favorites include the Pumpkin Cheesecake at Olive Garden, the Pumpkin Pie Smoothie at Jamba Juice, the Pumpkin Spice Latte and Pumpkin Sugar Cookies at Panera Bread, and the Pumpkin Bread at Starbucks. Also be sure to check around local bakeries and coffee shops for even more fall specialties! Because you really cannot get enough of the long awaited pumpkin treats that you wait all year for!
19. Go pumpkin crazy at Trader Joe’s
Although many grocery stores offer specialty pumpkin products this time of the year, no one offers such an extensive selection as Trader Joe’s. And the best part of all is that all products at Trader Joe’s are free of artificial colors, MSG, and GMO’s. Basically anything and everything you could possibly think of that could possibly have a pumpkin variation is offered at the popular natural retailer. A few must try pumpkin products this season include Pumpkin Muffin Mix, Pumpkin breakfast bars, Pumpkin Ice Cream, and Pecan Pumpkin instant oatmeal. And be sure to try the super rich and decadent pumpkin body butter – the perfect pumpkin scent will keep you thinking about fall all day long.
20. Sign up for a themed 5k
Find a Halloween or Thanksgiving themed 5k to get yourself into the holiday spirit. Running in the USA is a great race finder site where you can search by date, distance, etc for a race in your area. Asides from a great workout and the feeling of accomplishments that goes along with training for a race, you will usually get to enjoy a few freebies post race. One Turkey Trot that I participated in gave runners free pumpkin pie post race – now there’s some motivation to burn those calories! So get out there, get in some exercise while the weather is a bit cooler and enjoy a nice fall themed race.
21. Get crafty
Get creative with all sorts of fall inspired craft projects. Shops like Michaels and JoAnn Fabrics will keep you more than busy all season long with fun seasonal craft projects. Also look to Pinterest for some inspiration! Spruce up your home with your handmade creations; your handmade fall decor is bound to be much more affordable and unique than anything you would buy in a store!
22. Watch seasonal programs like 13 Nights of Halloween on Freeform
Several cable networks offer a seasonal lineup of holiday movies and specials so there is no need to waste your money buying a bunch of DVDs that you will only watch once a year. The best include ABC Family’s (now Freeform) 13 Nights of Halloween and SyFy’s 31 Days of Halloween. On ABC Family, you can enjoy family friendly nostalgic faves like Hocus Pocus, Halloweentown, and Casper, while on SyFy you can scare yourself silly with scary Halloween favorites like Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th, and Child’s Play.
23. Go ghost hunting
Pick a spooky town near you and sign up for a ghost tour. Many tours now let participants take a crack at ghost hunting themselves by allowing you to test out real ghost hunting equipment like EMF meters. I highly recommend the Ybor City Ghost tour in Tampa which is frequently rated amongst the best in the country. Ybor City has a long history of ghost sightings and is one of the most haunted towns in Florida, if not the entire country. The tour will take you through the Cuban Club and the Don Vicente de Ybor Historic Inn, 2 of the most haunted places in America. Many guests have claimed to see ghost orbs, and have reported changes in their EMF frequencies while touring these creepy places. Asides from the ghost tour, you must check out Columbia, one of Florida’s oldest and best restaurant!
Aside from Tampa, St. Augustine, Key West, and Jacksonville have haunted histories with numerous reportedly haunted old buildings and paranormal sightings. So skip the haunted houses, and participate in a real ghost tour through some of the creepiest places in America.
24. Watch a scary series on Netflix
Netflix has more than enough spooky series to keep you busy all year-long, not just for Halloween. For the biggest frights check out a chilling ghost series like Supernatural or Ghost Adventures. Other great picks include Stranger Things, The Witches of East End, and American Horror Story.
25. Get tickets to a football game
Football season always makes me think of the fall. Going to a game is a great way to enjoy the nicer weather and cheer on your state’s team. Luckily, Florida has a wide range of both college and professional teams to pick amongst. Or for a budget friendly alternative, watch the game at home, make some pumpkin chili (sounds weird but it’s so tasty!), and enjoy a lazy fall day enjoying fall’s best game.
26. Take a pirate cruise
The Tampa Bay area has one of the state’s richest haunted histories with legends of many hauntings including tales involving pirates. Taking a festive cruise aboard a pirate ship (preferably on a dark stormy day) sets the mood perfectly for the Halloween season. Check out Captain Memo’s in Clearwater or The Pirate Ship at St. John’s Pass. You can also sign up for a spooky ghost tour on Sat and Sunday nights at the St. John’s Pass boardwalk. Get ready for some spooky stories of buried treasures and paranormal sightings!
27. Get out into nature
Sure, it’s not as cool and colorful in Florida as other parts of the country, however, fall is still a special time in Florida. The temperatures have finally cooled down enough to enjoy the beautiful natural recreation found all through the state, and more importantly, the tourist crowds have begun to diminish enough for the locals to enjoy these places without the crowds. When you can finally enjoy a walk around a beautiful nature refuge, a quiet relaxing day at the beach, or a leisurely bike ride through the trees without setting your alarm clock to beat the heat, you know fall has arrived in Florida. Every town in Florida has so many unique parks, beaches, and lakes to explore, so get out there this fall and enjoy the fresh air and gorgeous scenery!
Top fall choices include a visit to the beautiful beaches of Anna Maria Island, exploring the gorgeous beaches and Fort Clinch State Park in Ameila Island, digging your toes in the soft white sand beaches of Sarasota, and taking advantage of Tampa’s many biking and hiking trails. Be thankful that it has cooled down enough to enjoy the beautiful outdoors. While residents of many other parts of the country will soon be scraping snow off their windows and freezing their butt off, you will be enjoying months on end of sunny, 70+ degree weather and enjoying the great outdoors.