Share on Facebook

A Trusted Friend in a Complicated World

18 Fall Activities for Frugal Family Fun

Make lasting memories with all the changing season has to offer while sticking to a budget.

1 / 18

Have a picnic surrounded by fall foliage

Who says picnics are just for spring and summer? Grab a blanket and head to a favorite park for a festive outdoor lunch (be sure to pick a spot near some changing trees).Don’t miss the 15 best fall weekend getaways for families.

2 / 18

Go hiking

You don’t need to live near one of America’s most stunning hiking trails for a memorable hiking experience. Find a trail near you and enjoy the beautiful fall scenery. Plus, you’ll all get some well-earned exercise.

3 / 18

Go on a scavenger hunt

While you’re on your fall hike or during a walk around the neighborhood, challenge your kids to find the most colorful leaf, the biggest acorn, the funniest-looking cloud, and other fall items to hunt for. Winner gets the first piece of pumpkin pie when you get home.

4 / 18

Go apple picking

Visiting a local orchard is a tasty excuse to get out of the house. When you get home, use your pickings to make apple pie, homemade applesauce, or other fall treats. To get started, check out the best place to go apple picking in every state.

5 / 18

Jump in leaf piles

This year, make raking leaves a competition. See who can make the biggest pile, and that’s the one you jump in first. Find out the 41 reasons fall is our favorite season ever.

6 / 18

Make your own Halloween costumes

Spend a day planning and creating your Halloween costumes. You’ll save some cash, and you won’t be limited to whatever costumes are left at the store.

7 / 18

Visit a pumpkin farm

Pumpkin picking is a must in the fall. Firm pumpkins with sturdy stems take the longest to decay, so inspect them before you buy them. Read more about the health benefits of pumpkin and its power to heal. Many farms have hayrides and petting zoos, too. Bring a camera to document the family fun. Here is the best pumpkin patch in every state.

8 / 18

Carve (or decorate) pumpkins

Once you’ve picked out your pumpkins, it’s time to carve. Cut your prep time in half by using an ice cream scoop to clean out the gunk. Then put your artistic skills to the test. Since carving may not be the safest activity for little ones, there’s always the option of no-carve pumpkin decorating. Check out these other must-have pumpkin carving hacks.

9 / 18

Host a sack race

In lieu of actual potato sacks, use large plastic bags or old pillowcases. Otherwise, tie ankles together and race that way. Then, add these 28 activities to your fall bucket list.

10 / 18

Snuggle up for story time

Get in the Halloween spirit with by telling ghost stories, or have your kids make up their own.

11 / 18

Have a fall movie night

Choose one of these lovable Halloween movies for kids. Serve popcorn with candy corn mixed in and hot chocolate or warm apple cider to drink.

12 / 18

Get your fill of corn

Take a spin in a corn maze, or buy some locally grown corn while it’s still in season. Spice things up with one of these unique grilled corn recipes.

13 / 18

Decorate your house

Choose from some of these 30 cheap DIY decorations or invent your own using materials you find in your yard. When you’re done, don’t miss the best fall activities in every state.

14 / 18

See how many uses you can find for pine cones

They’re everywhere in the fall, so it’s good that pine cones are so versatile. Paint them and put them in a bowl for an instant centerpiece. And find out the best places to spot fall foliage in America.

15 / 18

Shop a farmer’s market

Support local grocers and buy fresh, healthy produce from a farmer’s market. You can save money by asking for “seconds,” visually imperfect fruits and veggies that you can buy at a discount. These make for great soups and jams.

16 / 18

Roast pumpkin seeds

If you’re carving pumpkins, you’ll have tons of unused pumpkins seeds, especially if everyone in your family carves one. Simply wash them, toss them in olive oil, and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Here are some free pumpkin carving stencils.

17 / 18

Camp in your backyard

Take out the tent and spend a night under the stars—and just steps from indoor plumbing. If it’s too cold, build a fort inside and sleep there for the night.

18 / 18
iStock/John Archer

Make thankful turkeys

Make a paper turkey by tracing your hand on construction paper and cutting it out. Write one thing you’re grateful for on each finger. Then go around and have everyone share what they wrote. You can also use the turkey hands to answer other questions, like five things you’d take with you on a desert island or five places you want to visit anywhere in the world. Here are 10 ideas for a fun fall getaway.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest