Totally necessary fall bucket list


Do I make these every year?


Am I totally, completely OK with that?


Now that Oliver is so fun and aware of the world around him, one of my favorite things to do is to drag him to seemingly “ordinary” activities and watch him just … take it all in.

They say that to live again is to view the world through the eyes of a child. And I can’t think of any better way to describe that. A fallen leaf, a cardboard box, a Target receipt — all items of intense interest to my 17-month-old, and seeing him try to make sense of these things gives me a fresh perspective, too.

Since fall is undoubtedly my favorite season, I’m dreaming of corn mazes and hot apple cider and cozy fleece and pumpkin patches. Last fall I was dealing with some pretty intense anxiety as a first-time parent, and honestly? Autumn was a bit of a blur.

But this year? I am better. Gold feels golden again. I am less the husk of a tired mother and more the somewhat-capable, excited and “normal”-ish woman that I remember from so many years ago.

There are never enough days in October and November, so I’m not going to worry if we can’t get to every single one of these delectably-autumnal activities. But I’m going to make a concentrated push to fill the family calendar with fun (and funnel cake!), and to soak up my favorite of seasons with our family of three before we’re zombie people again next year.


Johnson Family Fall Bucket List

  1. Visit a pumpkin patch and find the perfect gourds for carving. We always bring pumpkins home, but don’t necessarily carve them for Halloween — definitely want to do that this year. Ollie is going to flip out at the sight of pumpkin guts!
  2. Hit as many craft fairs as humanly possible. I spent several days compiling a master list of all the local shows happening this fall for my magazine at work, and to be honest? That “work” was not work at all. Sometimes I open the link just to salivate at the idea of all the fun shopping we’ll be doing. Craft fairs are an annual tradition with my mom and sister, and I am SO EXCITED about these.
  3. Check out a corn maze. Many farms here in Southern Maryland open their doors for folks wishing to “get lost” in family-friendly mazes, and Spence and I hit a few early in our relationship. Those are happy memories for me, and I can’t wait to take Oliver.
  4. Make hot cider. In a slow cooker. Maybe with this recipe, or this one.
  5. Host a Halloween gathering. This spooky holiday falls on a Monday this year (bleh), but I’m hoping we can convince our family and some friends to swing by while we give out candy. Our neighborhood is pretty quiet, so we don’t get many trick-or-treaters, but we’ll be taking Ollie out to hit a few houses! And definitely watch “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” and “Hocus Pocus.”
  6. Speaking of which… watch “Hocus Pocus”! Tradition. My husband tries to get me to sit down for “The Nightmare Before Christmas” on Halloween, too, but my 31-year-old self still gets spooked by that one. I don’t know how a scaredy cat like me wound up with ardent Tim Burton fan, but … here we are. (Don’t mind me — just hiding behind the couch.)
  7. Rake leaves and jump in the piles. Ah, to be young again.
  8. Roast pumpkin seeds. Our attempt at this last year was a big fail, but I’m convinced we didn’t give the seeds the attention they deserved. This will dovetail nicely with carving our jack-o-lanterns. I’m stoked!

So there you have it, friends — our to-do list for the next few months. Anything on your fall bucket list, too? Any additional suggestions? I’m always up for some new autumn fun.

10 thoughts on “Totally necessary fall bucket list

  1. Fall is my favorite time of year as well. The crisp cool weather, the colors, the smell of burning leaves, and of course: HALLOWEEN!!! (My whole year revolves around that one day. ) One thing I try to do every October is watch a horror movie every single day of the month, sometimes with friends, sometimes alone. (Doesn’t matter.) So that’s really my only fall bucket list.


  2. I love the season of fall as well. Being from Florida getting down into the 70’s and possibly 60 degrees F is such a delight.


  3. We never got around to carving our pumpkins last year so I’m hoping to this year. No matter that I’m awful at it!

    I like the idea of making cider in the crockpot! I’m all about my crockpot.

    I’m so mad that Halloween is on a Monday this year and Jerry has to work until 9 ugh. Still planning on making the most of it though with Caleb and my family… and lots and lots of treats.

    Yes to Hocus Pocus!


  4. OK you’ve inspired me to make my own fall list – in regards to pumpkin seeds, soak them in saltwater for a few hours – then roast them at 200 overnight in the oven – they’ll come out perfect! – I do a batch with Kosher salt and one with salt and chili powder and cayenne for my spicy lovers


  5. I love your list! We always go apple picking in the fall. I started doing this with my grandma when I was a kid, introduced it to my husband when we were dating and now we take our kids most years. It’s already on our calendar for mid-October this year.


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