Octoberrrrr! That most beloved of months for so many people. It’s here, so get out your boots and scarves, hang on tight to your pumpkin spice lattes, and get ready for some great ideas for seasonal things to do at the weekends in October.
How to Spend Your October Weekends
October is unarguably peak autumn. The weather has changed, the leaves are falling, there are pumpkins everywhere, and Halloween is approaching. It’s also the calm before the storm of all the busy-ness heading into Christmas and the end of the year.
There’s so much to love about this time of year: the changing colours of nature, the crispness of the air on a bright sunny day, being reunited with your snuggliest jumper, switching to comfort food and cooking it in a steamy kitchen on cold and wet day, and lighting up the dark evenings with candles and lanterns
And so an Autumn activities list is definitely a mood-lifter if you’re an autumn-lover. An evocative, cosy-from-start-to-finish, feelgood list to get you into the spirit of the season. Let’s make sure to enjoy everything October has to offer. Don’t let it fly by and find yourself in the depths of winter without enjoying some fantastic fall weekends.
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Things to do during the October weekends
If you’re looking for some October weekend inspiration, here are some seasonal ideas for things you could do this month.
1. Decorate for Autumn
First things first: this doesn’t need to be time consuming, stressful, or expensive! Adding a few autumnal touches to your home can make a real difference to the cosy feeling you get when you come in from the cold after a long day. Adding extra light and warmth are the name of the game as we head into the darker, colder months.
Get in the twinkly lights early (they’re not just for Christmas!) Some of my favourites I use every year are remote control fairy lights which you can hang round mirrors and mantelpieces, and these beautiful LED candle lanterns which go just about anywhere.
Or how about some autumn-scented candles like this cinnamon chai one from Woodwick. With a spicy scent and a crackling wick, it’s like autumn in a jar.
Make sure you’ve got cosy blankets or throws accessible in your living room for snuggling under on cool evenings, or go all-out with a heated blanket. (Be warned, once you have one of these you can never go back!)
2. Read a spooky book
There’s nothing better on a wet and windy October evening than settling down and getting lost in a classic atmospheric ghost story. Here are some of my favourites.
The Woman in Black by Susan Hill. Reads and feels like a Victorian classic, but was actually written in the 80s. Properly spooky and atmospheric, it’s a chilling but excellent read that will have you hiding under a blanket as you read about Arthur Kipps’ visit to the foggy and eerie Eel Marsh House.
The Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allan Poe. A creepy gothic classic. Join the narrator as we’re drawn into the tragic and eerie decline of the Usher family and their ominous, decaying ancestral home.
The Shining by Stephen King. Most people are familiar with Jack Nicholson’s stand-out performance in the movie adaptation of The Shining, but the book is even more terrifying. Check into The Overlook Hotel and join one man’s descent into madness.
Funnybones by Janet and Allan Ahlberg for little tots. A classic tale of some friendly skeletons and their skeleton dog.
The Worst Witch by Jill Murphy for primary school age kids. Grab your broomstick and join Mildred Hubble at Miss Cackle’s Academy for Witches.
Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is perfect for teens who want to experience the original science fiction novel.
3. Pick and Carve Pumpkins
Don’t wait until the day before Halloween when there are only the giant or teeny pumpkins left in the shops. Get your pumpkins in early and enjoy your carving efforts for a bit longer.
If you have small children and a pumpkin patch nearby, then head along for some seasonal fun and plenty of adorable photo opportunities.
Otherwise, just buy a few supermarket pumpkins and make an occasion of decorating them. That’s our plan for this year. Some might be carved, some might be painted, and we might even have a pumpkin decorating content – who knows?! We always end up with a variety of cute and creepy efforts.
4. Go for a woodland walk and see the leaves changing
The leaves are in full autumn mode right now with some beautiful colours to see, so make the most of it with a weekend woodland walk. (But get out there quickly before the October winds whip up and blow them all away.)
If you’re in the UK, the Woodland Trust has a fantastic woodlands finder, where you can use your location to see woods local to you. It will show you woodlands both large and small and is great to see what’s nearby, making for fun autumn exploring.
5. Get out for a cycle with a flask of hot chocolate
This month is a great time for a family cycle before the ground gets icy later in winter. Pack up a flask with hot chocolate and some snacks, and head out for the afternoon.
If your kids are between bike sizes or you’re looking for them to learn on a high-quality, lightweight bike, check out The Bike Club which offers a subscription-based service to hire great quality, lightweight kids bikes around the UK – and you can just swap them for bigger ones as the kids grow.
6. Get busy in the garden
There’s still time to get through all the essential Autumn Garden Jobs that need taking care of at this time of year.
You can also sow wildflower seeds to attract bees and butterflies to your garden next year.
7. Get out the winter woollens
It’s time. Cold weather clothing is needed, so reacquaint yourself with socks, sweaters and scarves. Put all your summer clothes away and make room in your wardrobe for the cosy stuff.
Do a bit of clothing admin if needed too. Get winter coats washed (or dry cleaned if necessary), check to see if boots need resoled/waterproofed, and make sure everyone in the family has what they need for the cold and wet weather to come.
If you’ve got coats, gloves and hats etc that you no longer need or that are outgrown, this is the perfect time to donate them to help keep others warm this winter.
8. Enjoy the October half-term break
The October school holidays are a fantastic time for some autumnal family activities. Lots of places are running Halloween events, and my favourite place to go is The Alnwick Garden in Northumberland. They always go all out with their decorations and it’s a fun day out where you can also visit Alnwick Castle (of Harry Potter fame!)
If the weather’s not up to much, settle in at home and have some seasonal fun with the kids in the kitchen, like these autumn baking ideas.
Or snuggle up and have a family movie-fest with popcorn and films that are perfect for this time of year. How about Hocus Pocus, The Goonies, and the whole of Harry Potter?
Oh, and if your kids are complaining of being bored, challenge them to learn the dance from Thriller!
9. Make S’mores
As the weather gets colder, it’s a lovely time of year to make use of a firepit or chimenea if you have one. Get your warm clothes on and toast some marshmallows: the smell in the crisp autumn air is sooo worth it! If you want to stay inside, this S’mores recipe with UK ingredients has instructions for making delicious s’mores in the oven instead.
10. Do some Halloween Baking
My kids can’t go through October without asking to make their favourite Halloween recipe of all time – these Halloween Ghost Brownies.
They look cute but are simple and very easy to make, and you don’t even have to bake the brownies if you’re short of time – just use shop-bought ones.
The ghosts are simply marshmallows with a thick water icing on top and some decorations for faces.
11. Make a Pie
It’s definitely a good time of year for pie. Swap your Sunday roast for an easy, comforting pie to warm you up. Bonus points if you eat it in front of an old movie on a rainy evening.
12. Start getting ready for Christmas
I know. Only October. I hear you. But the truth is, if you want to do any Christmas activities that need booked in advance, you’ll need to get booking now, so that’s the perfect task for this month.
Santa visits, outdoor light trails, ice skating, pantomimes etc: if you want to go, get them booked now – and feel good about being so damn organised. For extra points, get some presents bought and stashed away now, and thank yourself later in the year.
13. Make and Store some Christmas treats
The other thing you can do now is start making any edible items you want to enjoy at Christmas that will take time to mature. How about Christmas chutney or sloe gin? It’s such a great way to get ahead for the festive season.
14. Do one thing each week to improve your living space
I find that, during the summer months, I tend to ignore all the DIY that needs done at home. When autumn comes and we’re all spending more time indoors, this is the time I start to notice any jobs that have been neglected over the summer.
If that’s you too, then this month try doing something each week that will make a difference to your home.
This October, I’m going to: paint the front door, fix a blind that’s been broken by an over-enthusastic child, have a toy clearout (always good in the run-up to Christmas!), and buy a new lamp for a dark corner of the kitchen. None of these are massive jobs, but they’ll all make a noticeable difference.
15. Make some Autumnal soup
As soon as the weather turns colder, I start making (and freezing) soup. You can’t beat it for a quick weekend lunch on a cold day, so it’s lovely to have a supply ready in the freezer.
My favourites at this time of year usually involve root vegetables, like this butternut squash soup. I also love this celeriac, pancetta and thyme one and I can’t resist a good spiced parsnip soup either.
I hope that gives you some simple ideas of fun things to do during the October weekends. It’s a really lovely month, so make the most of it!
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