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10 Fun and (Almost) Free Activities to Try This Fall

10 Fun and (Almost) Free Fall Activities for Families
Written by Irina Vasilescu

In the United States, Labor Day is held every first Monday of September. What used to be a celebration of the labor associations’ contributions to the national economy has turned into an annual event that everyone looks forward to. Unofficially, Labor Day marks the end of the summer season and starts the autumn of the fall season.

Labor Day celebrations involve students organizing parties before the start of the school year. Neighbors usually give a concerted effort to showcase fireworks displays, barbecues, outdoor concerts, sporting events and similar activities.

This is also when families get together, it signals the start of the football season and since all government offices, businesses, schools, and organizations are closed, it’s a federal holiday that is really worth celebrating.

Fun and (Almost) Free Fall Activities for Families

10 Fun and (Almost) Free Fall Activities for Families

After the Labor Day celebrations, the school year is well on its way and the next holiday won’t be until Thanksgiving. This means that if you want to spend some quality time with the family, you can only schedule it during fall weekends.

The good news is that there are plenty of fun yet budget-friendly activities that you can do as a family, which can serve as your way of spending quality time together.

Instead of busting your budget by going to the movies together as a family, you can take full advantage of the colors of autumn when thinking of things to do.

Here’s a list of the top ten budget-friendly or free fall activities for families:

1. Go college-scouting.

What’s the nearest community college or local university in your area? These educational establishments typically hold weekends where they encourage families to check out the facilities of the school. Aside from giving potential students free school tours, they also organize activities like outdoor concerts, sporting events, special programs and food booths – some of which are free for all.

Even if you do not have a kid who is college-bound, these activities are open to the public so you can check out the schedule and get the family together for a fun school trip. This becomes even more enjoyable for parents who have kids who are already in high school. Use the event to encourage your college-bound son or daughter to check out the facilities and maybe even meet some of the students who go there.

2. Go on an apple picking trip.

One of the most popular activities for families during the fall season is to go apple picking. Check out the nearest apple orchard in your area and go apple picking. For the fruits that you will be taking home, you can turn them into apple pies, cobbler, cider, preserves or similar delicious goodies. Check out the recipes online.

If you have a baby, you can also turn the fruits into homemade applesauce. To make the fruits last even longer, why not freeze or preserve them? The possibilities of what you can do with apples are practically endless, and the highlight of it is the apple picking activity that you will go to with the rest of the family.

3. Bask in the wonderful fall colors by taking a hike.

10 Fall Budget-Friendly Activities for the Whole Family

During the autumn seasons, one of the best shows of nature is the changing color of the leaves. Take full advantage of this by planning a hike as a family. Pack your picnic basket and cooler, then take the entire family with you for a short hike somewhere beautiful. Make sure that the location will give you the full colors of autumn and enjoy the crisp, clean air.

You can even encourage the kids to collect interesting pine cones and colorful leaves to make their very own arts and crafts projects. All you need for this outing is a basketful of goodies that you can snack on after the hike. Check out the interesting trails in your area so that you can bask in the wonderful colors of autumn.

4. Fall-ify your home!

During your nature hike, make sure to bring a jar which you can fill up with leaves, cones and other fall-related items that can be found in nature. You can make a wreath made from natural cones that you collected during your hike and display it on your front door. Create table runners using a string of colorful autumn leaves.

You can update your dining table’s décor by adding some fall elements like flower vases or candle containers decorated with cones of leaves. The idea is to turn the décor of your home’s theme into something that has to do with autumn. Add in some pine or fall leaves scent for added effect, and you can fall-ify your home.

5. Create handicraft projects.

If you have plenty of other stuff left from your nature hike, you can also create handcrafted projects. One example is a bird feeder made from pine cone. Make sure that you have plenty of pine cones which you can tie with a string. Tie the string on top of the cone, then apply small amounts of peanut butter on the surface.

Top with bird seed and hang them in strategic spots outside your home. Once they are hung, you can simply stop and wait for the birds to stop by your front lawn or backyard garden for a quick nibble on the bird seeds.

6. Get the kids to make their own Halloween costumes.

Halloween is the next big occasion that you need to prepare for as a family, so use an entire weekend at home to come up with costume ideas. Instead of ordering one from online stores like Amazon or trying your luck at the local dress shops in your area, you can simply look for cheap materials or use ones that you already have at home.

Go online and look for instructions on how you can make Halloween costumes without having to buy them from stores. Whether it’s a superhero, vegetables, a historical character, an animal or a cartoon character, there are plenty of Halloween costumes that you can make at home. Turn it into a fun activity with the kids, and save plenty of money while you’re at it.

7. Create a bed of leaves that the kids can jump into.

10 Fall Budget-Friendly Activities for the Whole Family

Another popular activity which does not require you to spend even just one cent is putting together a bed of leaves that the kids can jump into. Most homes usually have back yards or front lawns which get covered in leaves during the fall season. Instead of readily putting away the leaves, take full advantage of them by raking them together into a huge pile.

Get the kids to make individual piles which they can use as outdoor beds, or create one giant bed together. The bigger the pile is, the more fun it is to jump on them. Afterwards, you can simply bag all the leaves together to be thrown away, or you can think of other creative ways to use them.

8. Go pumpkin picking.

Aside from apple orchards, you can also visit pumpkin farms. Do it a week or two before the actual Halloween celebrations. Check out the nearest pumpkin farm in your area and pick them out to bring home. You can either turn the pumpkin into Halloween or Christmas decors. After taking the pumpkin home, you can open the top and scoop out the fruit inside.

Once the pumpkin is cleaned into a hollow fruit, you can start the carving process. There are many patterns that will allow you to make intricate, scary patterns on the face of the pumpkin. You can also check out some free pumpkin templates online.

You can print the templates out, trace them onto the face of the pumpkin and then carve that out. Afterwards, you can place small candles inside the carved pumpkin and place them in special areas outside or inside your home.

9. Prepare your yard for the Halloween.

After finishing the pumpkin carving project, why not go all-out in preparing your yard for the Halloween? Make some really scary cut-outs, use mannequins or scary spiders with faux webs that you can hang on your front door. The kids who will go knocking on your door will be in for a treat once they see your home all decked out for the holiday.

10. Organize a bake-and-sell event.

Finally, you can organize a bake-and-sell event. Using the apples or pumpkins that you gathered during your fruit-picking activity, you can put together other ingredients and come up with some delicious baked goodies.

You can bake pies, muffins, cupcakes and other baked goodies using the fruits as main ingredients. Wrap them in Halloween-themed boxes and sell them for profit. You can set up a table outside or simply have the kids sell the baked goodies to your neighbors or their friends at school.

As you can see, there are plenty of budget-friendly or free fall activities that you can indulge in as a family during weekends. This is one of the most colorful seasons of the year, so make the most out of the beautiful surroundings by having fun and spending some quality time with your family.

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If you are planning on spending time with your family this weekend, we have a few ideas. Read:10 Fun and (Almost) Free Fall Activities for the Whole Family!

About the author

Irina Vasilescu

Irina Vasilescu is our money-saving and DIY expert and also the editor-in-chief as she's always on the lookout for the latest online deals.


  • We used to go apple picking when I was a kid and it was extremely fun. Not only did my sister and I get to have a good time, but our family walked away with apples to eat and bake with. It was always a good time for all of us.

    My mother helped my sister and I make our halloween costumes. I don’t think I ever bought a full costume. We might have bought a few pieces to finish the costume, but it was all from items that we already had or we went to the thrift store.

  • I LOVE Fall!!! And this is a great list! I’ve never heard of college scouting as a Fall activity – what a brilliant idea! I remember loving visiting different colleges senior year of high school, but I’m sure that would be great for any age group for the experience, activities and the history. Even taking a day trip to a farther college in another state would be really exciting. I live in New Jersey so it wouldn’t be hard to plan a day to visit a college in New York, Connecticut or Pennsylvania. This is definitely one I will try!

    And pumpkin picking and decorating is so much fun! The scooping of the insides is my favorite – it’s like a delicious-smelling manicure that leaves your hands feeling smooth and I love roasting the pumpkin seeds afterward. I wonder if there are different recipes for roasting the pumpkin seeds?
    I love the idea of decorating the pumpkins for Christmas! White pumpkins can look so elegant. Any ideas on how long a pumpkin can last or how to best “preserve” them?

  • I love going hiking in the fall. It’s so great to see all of the wonderful fall leaf colors. I also enjoy apple/pumpkin picking. We used to do it as a family when I was little so I really enjoy doing it today. With the cool weather there are so many fun outdoor activities in the fall. It’s just an added plus that they are easy on the budget!

  • I never really got to do this as a kid. I think the only thing from that list was decorating for fall and getting pumpkins. All of those are very inexpensive things to do. My dad gardens now so we can get free pumpkins from him and gourds. I don’t have kids but if I did I would be doing as much of that list as possible.

  • Hikes are one of the our most favorite things to do as a family. Next fall, my wife and three children will spend the whole afternoon at a nearby eco park. It’s going to be so fun because there are a lot of trinket stalls and food stands along the path.

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