How Do You Plan to Celebrate the Beginning of Fall?

Every year, our family welcomes fall with autumn-themed games, food, and activities. 

Admittedly, when the weather refuses to cool down and keeps smothering us with temps in the upper 80's, it puts a damper on our celebration. 

Someone tell Mother Nature summer is over in four days!

Fall Family Games

Seasonal games don't have to be elaborate.  We repeat four basic ones each year:

  1. Pin-the-Nose-on-the-Pumpkin (from Oriental Trading Company)
  2. Pumpkin Bucket Toss (Buckets from Dollar Tree, balls from Target)
  3. Jack-O'-Lantern Can Bean Bag Toss (Oriental Trading Company)
  4. Fall Action Cards

Fall Foods

In anticipation of the changing season, we stocked up on fall foods that taste best this time of year, including candy corn and peanuts and Pumpkin Spice everything:  Life cereal, toast, bagels, and coffee creamer.

Fresh cider is now available at the grocery store, so serve it up warm or cold.

One of our favorite munchies for the first day of fall is an apple bar.  It is so simple to put together and so yummy!  Buy 3-5 of your favorite apples and then put your favorite toppings in small bowls.  Be sure to coat each apple slice in caramel first before dipping it into one topping at a time.  Try mini M & M's, crushed Butterfinger bars, chopped peanuts, and sprinkles.


Best Pumpkin Bread Recipe

Invite your kids into the kitchen to bake the best pumpkin chocolate loaf of all time.  The recipe makes three loaves, so you can share two or freeze them.  This recipe was originally published in Taste of Home's 2002 Quick Cooking Annual Recipes, and it's our family favorite.

Pumpkin Chocolate Loaf

Ingredients:

3 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 can (29 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin
3 squares (1 ounce each) unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 to 1 1/4 teaspoons ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 cups (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips

Directions:

In a large bowl, combine sugar and oil.  Add eggs; mix well.  Stir in the pumpkin, chocolate and vanilla; mix well.  Combine the dry ingredients; stir into pumpkin mixture just until blended.  Stir in chips.

Transfer to three greased 9-in. x 5-in. x 3-in. loaf pans.  Bake at 350 degrees for 55-65 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.  cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks.  Wrap and freeze for up to 6 months.  Yield:  3 loaves.


Fall Crafts for Kids

We choose one craft to make during our first day of Fall celebration, but here's a montage of past projects that included an apple stamped pumpkin painting, wooden ornament coloring, and magic color scratch pumpkins.  The orange lump to the side is homemade pumpkin scented play-doh, which we will save for a future post on fall fun.


Another easy craft we've done in past years is a paper plate wreath.  Simply cut the center out of a paper plate and glue artificial leaves around the circle.  There are many variations to this craft, which you can see from this Pinterest example, but little kids feel like accomplished artists because it's impossible to mess up this project.


What Are Your Fall Plans?

Ushering in the Fall season doesn't require intense planning or hard work.  Do you plan to jump start the season with fall decorating, a hike in the woods, or with a trip to the garden center to buy a few mums?  Share your plans or annual traditions in the comments section below.

Happy Fall! 

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