Fall is upon us.

As the cold weather is setting in and football plays in the background on Sunday afternoons, we know that fall is now upon us. Since fall is my favorite season I felt the need to create a fall post.   For those of you who really know me, I am a fall-natic.  I love everything about fall: the colors, the smell of the leaves, the cooler weather, and all the activities. 

Something that I used to do at work was keep a calendar of all the fall activities that were going on around the area that people could do.  Since I no longer work there, I decided to post my top 5 fall must-do’s list of activities that people could check out during the fall season.  So enjoy.  and feel free to comment with your own fun activities for fall.

1. Fall Foods. Nothing is better when fall comes around than the delicious food that is available.  Not that the food in the summer is bad, just that the food in the fall is well worth the wait. Here are some foods I recommend having this fall (if you haven’t already).

Pumpkin Cheesecake:  I have found that this is a wonderful treat during the fall season.  I have gone to many places and tasted many pumpkin cheesecakes (including making my own) and have found that Olive Garden has the best around.

Pumpkin Spice Latte: I am not really a coffee person, but I have to admit that come fall, I indulge myself in the sweet taste of the Pumpkin Spice Latte.  It’s something that you can just wrap yourself up in as you taste fall sip by sip.

Pumpkin Pie: I prefer homemade pumpkin pie (made not by me) but places like Jewel and Dominicks make a pretty good pie as well if you are like me and not such a great pie maker.

Popcorn Balls:  Not sure why, but these always taste the best in the fall.  I know that they are available year round (not as easily found during non-fall seasons- but still around) but they seem to hit the spot during the fall.  One year I did try making these and found that it was definitely something that you should just buy and enjoy as it was very difficult to make and not really worth it.

2. Festivals: I am a fan of making it out to a few festivals each year.  Here is a good site to check out festivals going on in Illinois.  There of course are other festivals that go on in the fall as well and one that I highly recommend is the Feast of the Hunter’s Moon in IN.

Feast of the Hunter’s Moon: This is a fest that I used to go to with my family every year.  It’s like traveling back in time.  The Feast of the Hunters’ Moon is a re-creation of the annual fall gathering of the French and Native Americans which took place Fort Ouiatenon, a fur-trading outpost in the mid – 1700s. It is held annually in early autumn on the banks of the Wabash River, four miles southwest of West Lafayette, Indiana.  There is excellent food, fun activities for the kids, shows and re-enactments that take place and fun trinket shopping.  If you’re up for a day trip, I highly recommend checking this out.

3. Pumpkin Picking.  One of the greatest childhood memories I have is of going pumpkin picking with my family.  We always had a rule in our house when it came to getting your pumpkin… if you can carry it, then you can get it. My brothers really took that to heart.  They would team up each year to get the biggest pumpkin they could pick.  I, on the other hand, did not.  I spent the entire day looking for the picture perfect pumpkin.  Knowing that the larger the pumpkin got the more irregular the shape, I usually ended up with a pumpkin meant for making pumpkin pie.  Either way, it was a great day out at the pumpkin patch.  There are many places around to pick up a pumpkin… here are just a couple that I like, but feel free to check out this site to find a pumpkin patch in your area (they have locations by state and county).

Sonny Acres Farm: Sonny Acres Farm is a great place to head out with the family for a few hours.  It has fun activities for the kids (small haunted houses, pony rides, hay rides, etc)

Goeberrt’s Pumpkin Farm: Located in South Barrington, Goeberrt’s has plenty to do with the kids on a nice fall day.

4. Haunted Houses.  This is HUGE for me.  Each year I try and see if I can outdo last year in the amount of haunted houses I hit up and each year I think I do it. 🙂  If you are a big haunted house fan like me, here are just a few places I have hit up and found to be worth the long wait in line.  If you don’t live where I live, you can also check out this site for a way to search haunted houses in your area.

Basement of the Dead.  This one is located in downtown Aurora IL and kinda hard to find… I think that it’s good that way since there usually isn’t too long of a line (and by that I mean 30-45 min waits).  This one seems small and not so good at first sight, but this by far is one of my favorite haunted houses.  There are points in this haunted house where things really are pitch black and you have no idea what is going on… which just adds to the fright.  I would recommend hitting this one up if you have the time… and the guts.

Lombard Jaycees Haunted House.  Jaycees does a great job each year of creating their haunted houses.  There are many Jaycees haunted houses around and each one varies by town… I have been to a few and really like the Lombard one the best.

Dungeon of Doom.  I haven’t been able to make it to this one yet, but it is on my list for this year.  Located up in Zion IL, I have heard great things about this place.

Reapers Realm.  Right across the border of IL into IN, this haunted house is WELL worth the wait in line.  They also offer a “fast pass” where you pay a little more for your ticket but wait in a much shorter line… this is especially helpful when it’s really cold out.  From the start of entering in the haunted house you are frightened and it continues on till the end… with a mixture of ghosts and goblins, different atmospheres and rooms to walk through and the creepy characters that lurk in the dark there is something for everyone there.  Outside of the haunted house there is also a carnival to entertain those younger kids who just can’t handle the spooks yet. 

As I am putting together a list of places to go, I also thought I should share a few that I have been to and found it wasn’t worth the wait.  So, in my opinion, the below list of haunted houses are not worth the wait or the money.

Statesville Haunted House

Eleventh Hour

Dream Reapers

5. Fall Leaves.  From the bright oranges and yellows that display on the leaves of the trees to the smell and the crunch they make as you walk through the trees and take it all in.  This only happens for a short time, so hit it up when you have the chance.  Here are a couple good places to check out the leaves:

Starved Rock State Park. With miles and miles of trails for hiking or biking you can take in the fall leaves in many different ways.  After your through with your hike you can also check out some good eats in the area.

Morton Arboretum.  Another great place to check out the leaves and scenic routes along the way.

Brown County. Right outside of Indiana University, brown county has plenty to do.  With the scenic routes to drive through or hike through to the antique gift shops and great food.  Brown county is a great place to hit up this year and check out the fall leaves.  If you are driving there you can also check out the Oliver Winery which is nearby for a wine tasting.

Well, I hope you have a wonderful fall and check out some of my favorite fall activities.  If you have any of your own, let me know as I am always up for checking out new things.

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