12 Fall Family Traditions (You Won’t Hate)

12 Fall Family Traditions (You Won’t Hate)

by Tahj Mayes, September 25, 2015

It’s coming. The season in social media where autumn-lovers suddenly dominate the news feeds with all things fall. Leaves. Kids in pumpkin patches. Pumpkin spice coffeedonutsmuffinscake. It happens astoundingly more than any other season even though statistically, fall is barely the nation’s favorite season.

family traditions for the fall meme

In addition to the changing climate and leaves, nostalgia plays a lead role in why people love the fall. And family traditions from childhood are triggers for such nostalgia. Whether you are fan or foe of pumpkin flavor, fall is a great time to start a new family tradition or revive one from your childhood. Quality family time can be hard to come buy, especially if you have kids old enough for extra-curricular activities!

These aren’t your typical fall family traditions like pumpkin patches, apple picking, and hayrides. While those are precious and picturesque, here are some ideas to get you thinking about what you love about the fall, and how you can incorporate them into making some memories.

Remember: the best family traditions are often born from mishap or the unexpected. It’s a great idea to try new things together, but if you can be rigid, remind yourself to relax!


Fall Family Traditions

1) Football

This might seem like a duh, but if your family is split with football lovers and some who couldn’t care less, think about ways to involve everyone on some level. Make it an event by inviting friends or family over. Tailgate, go see a live game, or play your own game. Or change it up with a game of Ultimate Frisbee, instead. I didn’t watch college football until late in my twenties, but I grew up playing touch football with my brothers and cousins. It’s one of my favorite memories of cool southern Novembers.

2 ) Horseback Ridingfall family traditions

Talk about beauty, adventure, sport. Horseback riding is a great skill to learn and it is fun! Fall weather and scenery begs to be experienced atop a horse! If you’ve got little ones, give them a pony ride and save the horseback riding for a later year (or a child-free date). Many festivals and pumpkin patches provide pony rides.

3) Camping

Check out for an overnighter or a weekend; leave the tech devices in the car and enjoy all the family traditions that go along with camping: pitching a tent, hiking, fishing, building campfires, making s’mores. Camp outs are memory factories. If you don’t have much experience with the outdoors or equipment, you can rent a cabin on the cheap at a state park and take advantage of classes and outings that are led by professionals.

4) Bake & Share

Much of our culture revolves around meals and food, especially holidays. Fall food will begin to dominate your social media feeds, if it hasn’t already: apple cider, caramel apples, pies (pumpkin, apple, rhubarb, berry). Pick something fun to make that the kids can help with. Even better if you make extra and share it with some one else.

5) Host a Crappy Fall Dinner Party

It’s a thing. A crappy dinner party means no cleaning up for company, no crazy meal preparation, no Pinterest-worthy creations. Nuh-uh. The idea of having it all together keeps many of us from inviting friends over, even though we want/need time with other people. You might love the idea of an elegant fall-themed dinner party, but if that isn’t an easy reality for you, throw a crappy one instead. (Especially relevant for families with young kids.)

6) Awkward Family Photo Shoot

Whether your goal is to make an awkward family photo, or you simply get your family members all in the same locale and let them work their magic, a photo shoot can be fun. Don’t pressure everyone to sit perfectly still and smile. Inform your photographer that you’d like a few candid shots to choose from and let everyone act normal. You can try to create an awkward family pose or just shoot for goofy and catch one of everyone laughing.

7) Work a Jigsaw Puzzle

A great indoor activity, nothing slows down time like gathering around a huge jigsaw puzzle. Drink apple cider or cocoa. Put on music or a movie you’ve seen a thousand times. Just be. And this is an easy family tradition to attach with another, like watching football or a family movie night.

8) Host a Game Night

Invite another family over and play some family board games or select a few games for just your family. Maybe fall is the time you buy a new game and break it in together.

9) Moon Time

Every 29.5 days there is a full moon, so you have several opportunities. Lay on blankets in your yard or play catch with a glow in the dark Frisbee or Nerf ball.

10) Geo Cache

Geo caching is a treasure hunt with the world. People leave caches all over the place (there’s over 2 million in the world), and all you need is a gps, like the one on your smartphone, and a sense of adventure. Learn more about geo caching.

11) Plant a Fall Garden

In the southern plant hardiness zones, a fall garden can offer you a nice harvest through the season and even through the winter. Figure out which hardiness zone you live in and then see what will grow best.

12) Travel by Train

Train travel can be cheaper than air and it is definitely more scenic. Load the family up for a long weekend and travel to a city you love or one that you’d love to see. The train ride is an experience in and of itself, and it’s something many Americans never do. Tip: consider traveling to a walkable city or one with ample public transportation.


The best family traditions are ones that your family digs the most. They can be mellow and chill or adventurous and exciting. They should fit your family.

What is your favorite fall family tradition?