That’s right, our fall bucket list is officially here, which means it’s time to swap your iced coffee for spicy lattes and your crop tops for blazers. Fall is by far my favorite season: I prefer cozy knit over cut-off shorts, would drink a hot toddy over a spicy margarita any day, and my birthday falls at the end of September (shout out to my fellow Libras!). Maybe it was the fact that my birthday meant presents or that I never understood how the leaves changed colors, but fall has always been the most magical time of the year to me. Even though I am now (kind of) grown up and no longer dress up as a Disney princess every Halloween, fall is still just as magical. As a self-titled (and proud) cheug, you bet I’m drinking nothing but PSLs and forgoing all other shoes that are not Uggs through the entire season.
To celebrate a season that always feels special, we’ve put together our annual fall bucket list that’s full of activities to bring you and your crew closer, help you become your best self, and make the most of what the season has to offer. Grab your scarves, throw some apple cider on the stove, and get ready to check items off of our 2021 Fall Bucket List.
Give your home a cozy makeover
Your home needs to change with the seasons, just like your wardrobe. Start by trading out your summer linens for warmer sheets, cozy throws, and an extra quilt or down comforter. Also, try incorporating more candles (the more, the merrier!), adding cinnamon oil to your essential oil diffuser, and getting a fuzzy rug or throw pillows. For more inspo, check out 15 essential decor items, fall decor you can score on Amazon, or our favorite items on Etsy to decorate for both fall and Halloween. And if you want to decorate your front porch so your neighbors also get a little extra dose of seasonal cheer? You know what to do: Lay out the themed doormat, stock up on pumpkin decor, and get a dried floral wreath in seasonal colors like burnt orange and golden yellow.
Make a new fall drink
In years past, we might have recommended DIYing your own PSL (we love you Starbucks, but we could really put that extra $4.25 toward our sweater budgets). While we’re still huge fans of pumpkin spice, it’s time some other fall flavors get in the spotlight. Whether your drink of choice is homemade apple cider or you’re a fan of hot cocoa with cinnamon and nutmeg, test out warming and comforting drink recipes using all the flavors of the season. For recipe ideas, click here. Who knows, you just might find a new drink that’s even more satisfying than classic pumpkin spice (but we also won’t judge if you can’t quit your PSL obsession because same).
Have a fall-inspired movie marathon
Sound the alarm and call the Sanderson Sisters—it’s spooky season! Get in the spirit by playing your favorite scary movies back to back (yes, Halloweentown 2 counts). Don’t forget to grab a bowl of popcorn (sprinkled with pumpkin spice seasoning, naturally) and light your favorite fall candle (as long as it’s not the black flame candle. I still have nightmares). If you’re like me and scary movies are more torture than fun, watch some of our favorite non-scary fall movies like When Harry Met Sally, You’ve Got Mail or Dead Poet’s Society. Nothing gets me in the mood for autumn quite like Meg Ryan in black tights and a chunky knit.
Take your workout outdoors
Whether you’re in a LTR with your treadmill or a devoted yogi, consider taking your workout outdoors. The changing leaves and crisp air (no more coming home drenched in sweat!) is too good to go to waste, and that includes your exercise time. Enjoy the gorgeous views and refreshing air on your morning jog or do a few sun salutations in your yard or local park (imagine the sound of crunching leaves when you go into cobra position. #satisfying). No matter what your preferred workout is, aim to take it outside at least once a week (but don’t forget a sweatshirt and hat when it get’s colder). Bonus: Exercising in cold weather might have some additional health benefits (as if the #views weren’t enough).
Invest in the perfect cozy sweater
Sweaters are undoubtedly the fashion item of fall. You wear them indoors and outdoors, they work with loungewear or stylish OOTDs, and you don’t want to wear anything else as soon as the temperatures start to drop. While we’re huge fans of affordable basics (and have piles of under-$20 sweaters in our closets to prove it), there’s nothing like investing in a high quality fabric like cashmere that you’ll want to live in. This season, invest in the perfect sweater in the shape, fit, color, and fabric that you won’t want to take off. Trust me, the right one will last you for years (and make sure you read this to know how to care for said investment).
PSA: There’s more to fall produce than pumpkins. This season, load your fridge with produce like apples, green beans, kale, sweet potatoes, beets, chard, figs, and radishes. Get creative trying new recipes (roasting beets are easier than you think!), or add some of the ingredients to your favorite go-to recipes to dress them up for autumn (grilled cheese with apples and figs, anyone?). Also, look beyond the fruit and veggie aisle to find more flavors and spices that taste like fall, like cinnamon, sage, and nutmeg. Bonus festive points for shopping at your local Farmer’s Market, where you’ll find an array of the fruits and veggies that are in season near you.
Start a spooky book club
We love a horror movie as much as the next basic b*tch in fall, but there’s something about a good page-turner that’s even more chilling. Gather your friends for a spooky book club to challenge yourselves to read more (especially since you’ll be spending more time indoors) and to discuss the scariest thrillers or classic Halloween novels (Frankenstein, anyone?). Also, check out these atmospheric books that just feel like fall. Bonus points: DIY your own cozy reading nook for the season by designating your comfiest chair or corner of a couch as your special space. Keep a throw blanket, candle, and a coaster (for a warm cup of tea, of course!) nearby.
Change up your beauty routine
Just like how tans, lighter highlights, and extra SPF might be additions to your skincare routine come summer, cold weather requires adjustments to your beauty routine too. Avoid dry and scaly skin, dull complexion, and chapped lips when temperatures start to drop with a few key swaps. Try adding in a heavier moisturizer or overnight mask, replacing powder makeup with cream versions, and having an on-the-go mist, balm, or oil ready for emergencies. Likewise, use less dry shampoo and increase deep conditioning treatments to keep your locks lush as the weather gets colder. To step it up a notch, add a fall beauty trend to your routine, whether it’s a dark lip or an of-the-moment hair trend.
Plan a fall-themed date
You know what I’m talking about! Get cozy with blankets and apple cider to watch a spooky movie, rake leaf piles and then kiss in them (IDK, I’ve seen it in movies?), or check out the coziest coffee shop in your town before heading to a book store. No matter what your ideal fall date looks like, autumn is arguably the most romantic season, and you should make the most of it (Hot take: Cozy sweaters are sexier than a bathing suit. There, I said it). Whether it’s a new date you met on Hinge, the person you just went Facebook-official with, or your spouse you’ve been married to for years, don’t be afraid to get #extra and plan the fall date of your dreams (and yes, cozy sweaters are required).
Make your favorite fall recipe from your childhood
Nothing screams fall quite like the smell of chili on the stove or a delicious pumpkin bread in the oven. Revisit your childhood by making your favorite autumn foods from when you were a kid, whether it’s a delicious apple pie like your mom used to make, roasted pumpkin seeds (as easy to make as they are tasty), or classic apple butter. Cook with the flavors of the season and indulge in the tastes that bring you back to the memories of jumping in leaf piles as a kid. If you need some inspo, check out our favorite fall recipes, recipes with pumpkins, recipes with apples, or some delicious sweet treats if baking is more your style.
Stock up on your favorite fall candle
Yes, there’s something about a pumpkin spice candle that just hits different; a fall candle transforms any space or movie marathon into an autumn oasis. So if you can’t get enough of all things pumpkin, you go girl. But just like with produce, there’s a lot more to fall than pumpkin. Many other scents are basically invented for cool evenings spent curled up on the couch or baking apple pie with the people you love. Try a variety of candles with notes like fig, vanilla, woodsy tones, leather, or sandalwood. No matter your scent preferences, find the fall candle that you like best and stock up on it because you’re going to want to light it every day. To find your ideal scent, check out our complete guide to the best fall candles.
Have a fall picnic
Why should summer get all the fun? Picnics are not just a hot weather activity. In fact, I’d make an argument that fall is the optimal time to grab your friends or significant other and have a picnic. Picture this: The leaves are orange and red, you’re cuddling up in cozy sweaters and layers of blankets, and there’s a tasty spread of butternut squash pasta and pumpkin cookies in front of you as you sip on hot toddies. In other words, you’re living out a scene from a classic fall rom-com. Whether you bring a blanket and some apple cider in travel mugs to your local park or go all out with a picnic basket of seasonal foods and cozy layers to keep you warm, plan a picnic to enjoy all the views that autumn has to offer.