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 piles of bags of mini Halloween candy or the costumes on display in Target, it’s very likely we wouldn’t be able to 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, the excitement of fall is finally starting to build.
Fall 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 and Hocus Pocus playing 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 finally acceptable to 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.
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 is standard 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*. 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 mentioned above 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 roadside pumpkin patch with stacks of pre-picked pumpkins to choose from. At the entrance of the farm, you’re given a wheelbarrow and sent on your merry way into the vast farm, where you get to “harvest” your own seasonal squash from rows and rows of pumpkins! 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 (or just buy it from the local grocery store), the next logical step would be to carve it into something cheeky and then bake some scrumptious pumpkin-spiced 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 best movies of all time are the ones that take a bit of inspiration from Halloween folklore. Hocus Pocus, Halloweentown, Matilda, The Shining, Sleepy Hollow — some cheesy, some downright spooky-ooky! 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 average 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!