By Clancy Morris and Silas Marion

It’s Fall, y’all! Pumpkin pies, costumes, and candy are a must! But what else is there to do during this bone-chilling, pumpkin-filled season? Here are the top ten fall traditions you can start doing during October and November here in North Carolina.

Although Halloween has already passed, it is never too late to get a head start on preparing for next year! 

10. Jack-o-lanterns

Jack-o-lanterns are one of the many Halloween traditions. They provide a great opportunity for anybody to display their creative sides by carving faces and other designs onto a variety of pumpkins. There are a wide assortment of pumpkins available at most grocery stores and other retailers. There are even a large number of simple designs that make carving pumpkins fun and festive, especially for those who are not the most artistically talented!

9. Fall Festivals

There are many local churches that host fall festivals during this time. In fact, Statesville is hosting its annual pumpkin festival on the 4th of November, where there will be live entertainment, a classic car show, and much more. For something a bit more scenic, the Fall Festival at Carvers Creek is also on November 4th in Carvers Creek State Park.

8. Trick-Or-Treating

Who doesn’t want to run around with a bag of candy in their hands? Trick-or-treating has been around for 2000 years, and this tradition seems to be going nowhere. Dressing up in a costume and going door-to-door to get delicious candy is something that’s undoubtedly a fall tradition. If you’re really into Trick-Or-reating, you might go another step and perform a trick, such as egging someone’s house. This I do not recommend. 

7. Thanksgiving Turkey: Cooking, Cookies, and 5ks:

A delicious, giant bird basted with tasty juices and served for everyone to dive into. Amazing, right? There are so many recipes to try, too! Not into cooking a 15-pound bird? There is so much else to do to celebrate the official bird of fall. One of the sweetest ways is to decorate cookies like turkeys. This is a fun way to jump into the season and will certainly be a hit for everyone. 

Additionally, this month affords a great opportunity to stay active by joining some other Turkey Trots in this area. The Mooresville one might also let you catch a glimpse of some pilgrims and turkeys (not real ones, that’d be a little too Halloween-scary) in action, too.

6. Trunk-Or-Treat

This is a nice alternative to going door-to-door for Halloween. Trunk-or-treating involves decorating the trunk of your car and getting together with a group of people to line up and let kids go from car to car to get candy. The trunks can be simple or elaborate, and there are many opportunities for creativity when it comes to matching with the theme of your trunk! Trunk-or-treats are most commonly found at fall festivals or churches. But if you can find an empty parking lot or a community center then go for it! A couple of ideas for a trunk would be a ‘circus’, better yet a ‘zoo’, or even a video game like ‘Mario’. 

5. Trip To The Mountains

Ah, cold and fresh air, beautiful cliffs, and miles of road filled with the beauty of nature. Enticing? If not, just know that there are multiple hikes, waterfalls, or other scenic places that you, your family, and your dog would enjoy. The places include Linville Falls, Julian Price Memorial Park, or ‘The Priest’ a challenging hike in Southern Virginia. This hike is known for a rock jutting out of the mountain to reveal a beautiful horizon of the Blue Ridge Mountains. If you can’t (or don’t want to) hike, the Blue Ridge Parkway can be a car-only trip to enjoy the scenic views from the comfort of your seat. 

Although there are not any restaurants on the Blue Ridge Parkway, there are many towns adjacent to it. A quick stop in Boone provides many restaurant options and even hotels to extend any trip. I highly recommend Carolina Pizza Co. Plenty of delicious toppings to choose from, good customer service, and a great ambiance. The bruschetta is really good, too. (Seriously, how is this place run by college students?)

4. Decorating

Spiders, skeletons, and anything ghoulish are accepted right here! Get together with family and have a day to relax and get a little artsy, all at home! Put your jack-o-lanterns out, build a scarecrow (get a big pumpkin and put a tiny jack-o-lantern on top (stuffed with straw) to give it the ‘snowman’ effect). You can simply get some fake leaves and make a wreath. For something a bit more spooky, soak some cheesecloth in liquid starch and shape it around a mason jar to create your own mini-ghost. There are many other options to decorate with something store-bought, such as putting up a wreath or using plastic pumpkins, which cause less mess.

3. Hayride

Soft hay to sit on, scenery to look at, and crisp fall air to take a breath of. What’s a better way to spend a day in November? Hayrides are on trailers filled with hay squares for people to sit on. Gather with family and friends for a nice evening to look at the beautiful scenery here in North Carolina, and you might even see some Halloween Decorations still up, too.

2. Christmas Decoration

I know, I know; it’s November. Who’s even thinking about Christmas? Well, I am, and so are many other North Carolinians across the county and state ready to jump into the Christmas spirit.

Christmas, despite the cold, is a time of warmth, comfort food, and gaudy decorations that may cause a neighbor to look around in sheer amazement. Why not get that warm, cozy feeling early? Of course, Christmas tree farms and lots aren’t open yet, so getting a fake Christmas tree could save money in the future and get the Christmas season started. If you’ve got yourself some felt, hot glue, popsicle sticks, and paint (and a pumpkin, of course), you can make a reindeer pumpkin; combining the best of both worlds. I’m sure Santa would especially appreciate it if you made him some pumpkin gingerbread, too.

1. Fall Movie Marathon

For some, the time of trick-or-treating is becoming a little too childish. Maybe your best option is to curl up with a big bag of candy or your pumpkin spice latte and watch a couple of movies with your friends. I recommend ‘Beetlejuice’, ‘It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown’, ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas,’ and ‘Halloweentown,’. ‘Goosebumps,’ is always good, but I’d only recommend it if you’re with a little sibling or cousin. Then, of course, there’s ‘Coraline,’ which is still creepy if you’re not a doll person. Thriller/horror movies are always an option as well. (This is where you really start to dig into that candy; a good coping mechanism for scary things.) A thriller movie coming out this year is ‘Thanksgiving’. 

Fall is a time of fun, friendship, and thanksgiving. Whether with other people or just by yourself, anybody can make a memorable season filled with fun and fall-themed activities.