Fall is my favorite time to do things with our kids, since there seem to be so many options that are fun for a broad range of ages. We don't have enough weekends to fit it all in!
- Storytelling Festival: Many towns have these and there's often a night, before Halloween, with scary stories. It starts off with campy stories and songs that are fine for little ones and fun for older ones to remember, working up through many hours (and hot cider breaks) to truly scary stories (or a recitation of The Tell-Tale Heart, which I always love), as midnight approaches. Families with little ones can leave when it gets too intense, but you REALLY have fun with your tweens and teens, outside at night, wrapped in a blanket, listening to professional storytellers. This is my favorite.
- The farm where we go apple-picking also has a huge corn maze, with three different paths. We may try all three as a family, or split into groups of two, take different paths and race each other. This outing also involves hot cider. It's kind of a theme.
- Outdoor Expo: It is a mystery to me who puts this on, but I think it happens in various larger cities? One of our smaller state parks is entirely taken over by exhibitors of various outdoor products, camps, scouting groups, the military, etc., etc., etc. You and your kids can ride a canoe down a creek, go trail-riding on horseback or in a Hummer, ride ATVs around a course, shoot bows & arrows or BB guns, cook s'mores, start a fire without matches, launch homemade rockets, climb on hay bales, sit in old Army vehicles, test out camping equipment, do goofy team-building activities...there is more to do than can be done in a day, seriously. And it's ALL free. This year, my kids had an out-of-town cross-country meet and three baseball games during the Outdoor Expo. We were kind of crushed, about missing it.
- Haunted houses: Our Children's Museum has one that's fun for our little guy and kind of fun for the older ones, because they remember going when they were little. Every year, I take our older three to a campy, but still reasonably scary, haunted trail hike at a park. It's really fun. There's a music show on a stage, while you wait in line and snacks and games at the end. My husband takes them to the "real thing".
- Football: I care so little about the sport that I *still* do not know what the rules are. However, my older two go to a small, Catholic high school with a champion football team and *everyone* - families included - goes to *every* game. In the pretty, fall sunshine or at night, under the lights, huddled with your husband and little ones under a blanket with a Thermos of...you guessed it - hot cider...waving at your older kids as they walk by with their friends...it doesn't matter that much whether you understand the game. You can tell when your team's winning. I'd recommend taking your family to a local high school game for the heck of it, whether you have kids there or not.
- Trick-or-treating, carving pumpkins, baking pie and decorating the house for Halloween need no explanation.
- Neither does camping.
- Headless Horseman festival: Our local living history museum puts on an Ichabod Crane-themed night with the requisite hot cider, plus storytelling around a bonfire and all kinds of outdoor, old-timey activities, culminating in a haunted hayride where you get chased by and actual "headless" guy on horseback. Somehow, it's scary enough to make my 17-year-old scream, but last year my 3-year-old was OK with it. Hayrides are just fun, that way.