By Michelle Mady
Fall is my favorite season. I love all-things pumpkin, strolling through orchards, checking out farm animals, and the air as crisp as the leaves at my feet. But November comes and it tends to be a month in limbo. The weather feels more winter than fall, and Thanksgiving isn’t until the end of the month.
But November comes and it tends to be a month in limbo. The weather feels more winter than fall, and Thanksgiving isn’t until the end of the month.
There’s pumpkins and apples; skeletons and ghouls; leaves and tons of candy. I can’t keep up the fall festivities through Thanksgiving!
So what do we do with all this fall “stuff”?
Remember how much fun it was to dress all cozy and pick apples in the summer heat? And it was such a great idea to get a whole bushel of apples to lug around the orchard. There’s those last few apples left, but you cannot even think of making another apple pie.
Try some child-made applesauce. Chop up those apples that are on their last edible days, sprinkle some cinnamon and sugar on top and pop them in the microwave. Once they are warmed up (not too hot!), hand it to your child with a fork and encourage them to “mash” them and then taste It is a quick, easy alternative to apple baking.
A good old-fashioned jack-o’-lantern takes longer to prep than enjoy. They are so much fun to have on your front steps in October, but no one wants to see them as of November 1st.
Luckily, there’s a ton of ways to enjoy them in November. Throw some baking soda in them, add colored vinegar and make a “spewing” pumpkin.
More of a naturalist? Put some dirt in a container (i.e. a large plastic bin) and put your pumpkin on top. Close it up and check on it every few weeks. The pumpkin will eventually become its own new plant and you can grow your very own pumpkin.
Just looking to get rid of it? Toss your old pumpkin in a wooded area for local wildlife to enjoy (those animals don’t eat paint, so only share your carved/plain pumpkins).
Bales of hay make such great props for pictures. We sit on them at the farm as we feed the goats, or use them as a perfect background for Halloween fun. Now what?
Did you know that hay is the perfect fine motor tool? Grab some scissors and let your child cut up the hay into small pieces. Keep a bin of it around to use as a sensory outlet. A few scoops and some plastic animals will make it the best pretend play opportunity all year long. Many other fall decorations can be year ‘round fun with a few tweaks.
Candy & Costumes
Sometimes the joy and excitement over Halloween seems like the best day of the year. Until November 1st when the costumes and candy left behind are reminiscent of the morning after a college party.
Did you know that there are so many organizations that will happily take these items off your hands? Operation Gratitude collected Halloween candy that is donated to local and overseas military and first responders. Local children’s hospitals will gladly take these off your hands. There are so many ways to give back after trick or treating is done.
Fall can be the best season, but it can be hard to determine when it is time to swap over to the winter holidays. A few last fall fun activities can help keep the festivities alive as we approach Thanksgiving and the beginning of the next cycle of holidays.
About the author: Michelle is a mom of 5 children ranging in age from 5 to 15. As a toddler and preschool teacher, she shares experiences, activities and guidance to other parents, as both a parent and as a professional early childhood educator, at any stage of their parenting journey.
Photo credit: iStock.com/shaunl