Freshman, Journalism major
Slowly but surely, we’re reaching that time of year when we can walk to a class and not feel the sweat gathering, hidden from view by our backpacks. However, fall can mean more than that Pumpkin Spice Latte you just bought from the Hub. Gainesville offers a variety of exciting activities that can lead us to further appreciate the upcoming season.
Go to a Pumpkin Patch
Nothing says “Autumn” like giant orange gourds we can use to flavor nearly every baked good. Go pick out a pumpkin in October at the Trinity United Methodist Church, about thirteen minutes from campus. It’s open varying times every day of the week, with hayrides offered on the weekends.
October is the season of Halloween, which means that if you’re not getting spooked, you’re doing it wrong. From October 15 through November 9, the Hippodrome Theatre is showing its Halloween-themed production of a play titled “Slasher” (hopefully the title speaks for itself) that should give you the right mix of laughs and screams to fit the season.
It’s arguable that the only place where it’s enjoyable to get lost is inside a corn maze. At Newberry’s Corn maze (located at 20015 West Newberry Road) you can push the limits of fun even further by going at night when scary creatures haunt the maze, for just ten dollars. Additionally, the site offers hayrides and a haunted house, both of which host spirits at dusk.
Work Off All Those Sweets
There’s no need to hide the fact that we’re all using fall as an excuse to eat warm pastries and candy, but we may as well get active to avoid the unfortunate consequences that could come from all the snacking. On October 26, join UF’s chapter of Habitat for Humanity on the Haunted Hustle 5k race at Westside Park. When you register, you’ll be raising money for a worthy cause AND there will be a costume contest, so really there’s no reason why you shouldn’t come.
Too Much Pumpkin Spice, and Other Tales of Autumn Woe
Freshman, Zoology major
Do you dream of pumpkin all year long? Do you look longingly at pictures of sweaters, hot coffee, and leaf piles on Pinterest? Does the opening of Halloween seasonal shops make you giddy?
If so, you’ve come to the right place, my friend.
As a native South Floridian, I, like many of my UF peers, have never experienced a real Autumn. For those of you who don’t know: Autumn (n.) is the third season of the year, usually characterized by bountiful harvests and fallen leaves in an array of warm colors. Here in Gainesville, the average weather for October range between 53-75. While it’s definitely not the dog days of summer, real fall can seem like a distant dream.
Well, step right up! I’m here to tell you how to create a magical Autumn-in-a-box right here in your own backyard.
- Seasonal Food
While the sweaters might be out of the question initially, sipping a hot coffee (I’m looking at you, Pumpkin Spice Latte) and munching on some apples could instantly awaken the coziness of the season. One of the best things about the season is the deliciousness – you have Halloween candy, Thanksgiving, cinnamon and apples, and of course, the never overrated pumpkin. Publix and Trader Joes sell an abundance of fall-catered foods. JIF peanut butter has even released a limited edition pumpkin pie spice whipped peanut butter. Warm, sugary, cider doughnuts have been haunting my dreams, folks. For more ideas: here’s a list of 25 pumpkin desserts, or here are some fall desserts for when you’re sick of pumpkin.
- Pumpkin Patch
If not for the happiness-inducing scenery reminiscent of childhood and wanderlust, do it for the inevitable Instagram photos. The Trinity United Methodist Church is hosting a pumpkin patch throughout October. Just pretend there are leaves crunching under your feet!
- Picnic and S’mores (ghost stories optional)
Grab some blankets, food, and friends! Honestly, there is nothing better than enjoying the weather with great people. Sure, this is a bit tamer than your average college Halloween experience, but it can be just as fun for those nights when enjoying the weather and staring at stars sounds perfect.
- Movie Night
So many Halloween movies! You can go childhood classic with Halloweentown, It’s a Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, and Beetlejuice, or if you are too cool for all that nonsense, there’s not a better time for a horror movie! There are even new releases such as Dracula Untold and Annabelle, or the heartwarming Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.
- Outdoor Adventures
Take a field trip! If you want to stay on campus, exploring nature trails, the Natural History museum, or even just biking around can put you in that autumn mood. For the more serious trekkers, Outdoor Adventure Recreation club (OAR) or the Travel and Recreation Program (TRiP) host many adventures of their own. Of course, you and company could always stray from the beaten path and explore through your own devices! Or if you dare, head out to for the haunted corn maze and spook trail.