Sat. Jul 2nd, 2022

Where in the world is the time going? It is autumn, people! ‘Tis the season for outdoor activities, or at West Chester University students’ cases, the season for midterms, papers, presentations, etc.  Tack on working a job or playing a sport while being a full-time student, and it seems nearly impossible to imagine finding time for fall-themed activities. It is possible.

We are in week 11 of 17 in the fall semester – more than halfway through. We are also in week six of 14 of the autumn season, which makes it seem like there is plenty of time left to complete treasured fall traditions, but don’t be fooled! Soon enough colder weather will arrive, and the thought of hayrides and pumpkin picking won’t be as inviting. So don’t wait! Enjoy the weather perfect for sweaters and boots, and get out there.

Here is a short and sweet list of fall-musts for the college student.

1. Play catch with a football.

This is so simple and fun, and doesn’t require much planning. Grab a football, call some friends and head outside. Whether you make your way to a field, a parking lot, your backyard or the quad, with the ball in your hand and leaves crunching under foot, playing catch is the perfect activity for those in a time-crunch (pun intended).

2. Go apple or pumpkin picking.

Head on over to one of West Chester’s orchards and show some local love. Check out Highland Orchards where you can pick apples freshly off the trees. Then choose a pumpkin of your liking, and take it home to share and enjoy with your roommates. A visit to the orchard provides a great setting for a photo-op as a bonus!

3. Carve a pumpkin.

Use your freshly picked pumpkin, or head to the grocery store and pick one up. There are so many fun stencils, tips and tools available for carving a pumpkin that it seems silly not to! Gather some friends and get creative. Add a candle to the inside of your pumpkin to light at night and leave on your doorstep for the friendly folks of West Chester to observe and enjoy.

4. Press leaves.

Put those textbooks your professors told you that you needed, but you’ve never opened, to good use! Collect fallen leaves on your walk home from class and stick them in the pages of those books. Check back in a few weeks, and you’ll find beautifully pressed leaves dried and preserved with the memories of fall.

5. Bake a pumpkin pie.

You can find variations of pumpkin pie recipes online, so for the more adventurous bakers, challenge yourself! For those of you with less time (and patience) stick with a more traditional pie recipe.

6. Go on a haunted walk.

With Halloween approaching, get in the spirit and go on a haunted walk or ghost tour! You’re never too old to be scared. Embrace the pulse-pumping, heart-racing feelings, and burn away some serious stress while laughing the night away at your friends’ high-pitched squeals. Arasapha Farms is less than 30 minutes from campus, and their haunted hayride and Bates Motel attractions are known to be fun.  You could also wander further into Philly and visit the Eastern State Penitentiary for their Terror Behind the Walls haunted house tour.

7. Build a campfire and make s’mores.

I know, I know – campfires and s’mores are summer activities, but trust me when I say that fall is also the perfect time for a campfire! The weather is a little cooler, which makes sitting around the warm fire even more satisfying, and mosquitos aren’t as present (even the pesky ones who stick around have more difficulty feasting when your skin is covered with more layers). Throw s’mores into the mix, and it’s guaranteed to be a good time.

8. Eat al fresco.

The leaves changing colors and charming brick paths make fall in West Chester the perfect setting for an outdoor meal. Stroll into town and treat yourself to an outside table, or cook your own meal and sit outside. There’s nothing like fresh air and yummy food!

9. Visit a farmer’s market.

There is a farmer’s market right in town every Saturday morning. Support West Chester’s local farmers, and leave with fresh vegetables and baked goods. Pick up a carton of apple cider and heat it up when you get home for a cozy fall treat.

10. Host a Halloween- themed movie night.

Movies are a great way to unwind and recharge after a busy week of schoolwork. Watch a horror film (if that’s what you’re into) or relive your childhood with movies like “Halloweentown,” “Hocus Pocus,” and “Ghostbusters.” Whichever you choose, with snacks and friends, a movie night is a must.

WCU students, be sure to accomplish at least two activities on this list. Take advantage of the season, and look back knowing you had fun in the midst of the stress. Happy fall!

Megan Monachino is a third-year student majoring in English writing with a minor in journalism.  She can be reached at MM783809@wcupa.edu.

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