10 Frugal Family Fun Ideas for Fall

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You don’t need lots of money to have fun this fall!


While the leaves haven’t changed color in Virginia yet, fall is definitely in the air.

The weather is chilly, the pumpkins are on the doorstep, and I’ve started wearing my winter coat.

It’s a wonderful time of year to be outside with your family. Here to share some tips for frugal family fun this fall is Andrea Woroch, a money-saving expert who transforms everyday consumers into savvy shoppers by sharing smart spending tips and personal finance advice.

10 Frugal Family Fun Ideas for Fall

1. Build a scarecrow.
This is a fun, easy activity for kids. Find some old clothes around the house or visit a thrift store to pick out the perfect scarecrow outfit. Stuff with leaves or newspaper and tie off the ends. You can even use old winter or gardening gloves for hands! Then, have the kids decorate a paper bag or pumpkin for the head. Consider adding a scary mask for Halloween twist, but otherwise your scarecrow will be festive all season long.

2. Pick, bake and eat some apples.
Autumn is the season for apples which means great prices on this versatile fruit. While you can stock up on this fall favorite for less at the grocery store, it’s much more fun to pick your own at a nearby orchard many of which host free tours and hayrides during the peak apple season. Find a location near you and enjoy this festive activity with your kids. After a busy day of picking, you’ll have to figure out what to bake. You can whip up some caramel apples, an apple pie or apple chips for a healthy snack.

3. Get crafty with leaves.
Fall foliage is beautiful to look at and always makes the perfect element of your do-it-yourself harvest decor. Go for a long nature walk and out the prettiest leaves for crafts like leaf garland or pretty leaf mobiles, perfect for displaying around your home through Thanksgiving. You can likely get away with craft supplies you already have or snag some for cheap from craft stores like Michael’s or Hobby Lobby. Save more on supplies by downloading the Coupon Sherpa app for instant access to deals like 40% off your purchase with a Hobby Lobby coupon.

4. Tell ghost stories around the fire.
Enjoy a night under the stars, sitting around an outdoor fire before the weather gets too cold. Make toasty beverages like cider or hot chocolate, grab some marshmallows and gather the family around for spooky stories! Need some ideas? Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark is a classic favorite, or check out UltimateCampResource for free stories to share.

5. Host game night.
If it’s too cold to go outside, play inside instead! Prepare a hearty batch of chili or soup, put on your comfy clothes and have a family board game night. Dust off old favorites from years past or check local antique or thrift stores for new and vintage games. If board games aren’t your thing, grab a deck or two of cards and learn a new game online. Otherwise, download games like Heads Up! for 99-cents on your iPhone or Tablet to get your laughs on!

6. Have movie night at home.
Why battle long lines and blow your budget on tickets and concessions at overpriced movie theaters when you can cozy up on the couch and enjoy some seasonal favorites in your own home? There are plenty of family-friendly movies you can borrow from your local library or rent for just a buck from a nearby Redbox, and many channels air Halloween favorites in October. Pick up movie-theater candy from the dollar store then pop some popcorn for that extra-special cinema touch.

7. Lend a helping hand.
Celebrate Make a Difference Day on October 28 by contributing your time to a nonprofit in some way. It’s perfect chance to show your kids the value and importance of helping others and a great family-bonding activity. Find volunteer opportunities in your area through where you can search for causes that matter most to you whether it be animals, arts and culture, human rights, community, education and literacy or the environment.

8. Play football.
Watching football is a favorite autumn activity for sports fans, but why not go a step further and get out to play? Tossing around a football is a great activity for a crisp afternoon, so round up your family and head to the park. If you have a large group, consider a friendly game of flag football.

9. Go on a nature walk.
The cool temperatures and colorful leaves make fall the best time for nature walks. Head out to a nearby lake, park or hiking area, pack a picnic lunch and enjoy the outdoors with your family. If you’re headed to a national park, mark your calendars for National Public Lands Day on September 24, when admission fees are waived at all national parks across the country.

10. Pick a pumpkin.
Pumpkins are the perfect symbol of fall and are fun to cook with, eat and decorate. Most pumpkin patches offer free hayrides and activities for kids, and some even offer complimentary refreshments. Check out your local pumpkin patch for open house dates and let your kids pick out the perfect jack-o-lantern for Halloween night. Don’t forget to load up on gourds and small pumpkins for inexpensive, seasonal decor, and check out ways to paint pumpkins for an elevated look. For those who prefer to eat the pumpkin rather than decorate it, find recipes for ideas like pumpkin bread, waffles, pancakes and soup!

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia.

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