Making Fall Fun on the Cheap


Whether you’re the kind of person who decorates for Fall on September 1, or you need to wait until the leaves are changing and temps are falling, by all definitions, Fall has arrived. Costumes are being designed and purchased, cider is being bought by the gallon and pumpkins are everywhere.

So are the fall festivals – hay rides, corn mazes, farm animals…. and, oh yeah, admission prices.

As with everything else lately, it seems costs are increasing, and it’s getting harder and harder to participate in everything you once did. If you’re like a lot of us, the cost of admission for an entire family to one of the many farms or festivals is hard to stomach. You want to give your children a wonderful childhood experience and make memories, but you are well aware that you will not just be buying admission tickets. Let’s be honest, there will be begging for the apple cider donuts, extra rides or games, drinks, and on and on.

The first year my husband and I decided not to go to a local festival, I admit, I was as disappointed as the kids. I love getting them dressed in festive clothes, taking classic fall pictures in the pumpkins and watching them have fun while getting in the spirit of the season. How could we skip it?!

But, with a little creativity and marketing (I think selling our kids on things deserves a marketing degree, yes?!), I realized we could still have all that – but at a fraction of the cost. And, bonus, it would eliminate the whining and begging for all the things! Win, win! While we might not have been able to provide the farm animals, we were able to bring our kids many of the memories we would have created at a festival but at our home. With some of these ideas, you can too!

Ideas for Fall Fun on the Cheap

Go Pumpkin Shopping

No one said you can only dress your kids in festive clothes if you’re going to a place with a photo op. Many plant nurseries will have bales of hay or cute places for a picture, but even if you’re just going to your local grocery store, pull out your festive clothing for the day! Take pictures of the pumpkin selection process just like you would at a pumpkin patch. When you get home, wherever you put your pumpkins for decoration, situate the family for some cute pictures. This sets the stage for the rest of the day or weekend!

Decorate the Pumpkins

Depending on the age of your kids and your preference, buy a few pumpkins that will go beyond decorating the front porch and be an activity. We usually choose smaller pumpkins for this to save money and be more realistic. Personally, I find carving difficult and frustrating for the kids (and I’m not much help!), so we have come to enjoy painting our pumpkins. Whatever you prefer, spend some time as a family decorating your pumpkins. You can have treats out to make it a whole event or keep it simple. If you haven’t decorated your house with your Fall or Halloween decorations yet, you can do that, too!

Trunk or Treat

The month of October is a very popular time for churches and high schools to host Trunk or Treats and carnivals. Oftentimes these are very affordable, if not free to the community. If you are flexible on the weekend you decorate and get your pumpkins, you could purposely plan for it to coincide with one of these community events. If not, or you’re too eager to wait for the carnival date, you can spread out the fun and do the carnival separately. Either way, you’ll make great memories! You can also do simple carnival-like activities such as pumpkin rolling relay races in your own backyard.

Movie Night

Top off your day of Fall fun by picking a Halloween movie or two and having a movie night in your newly decorated home. Hot apple cider on the stove, or s’mores around the fire pit or grill, is a perfect addition to complete the night. Cozy blankets, dim lights, possibly lighted decorations, and you will have the perfect Halloween ambiance.

It can be hard to see social media posts of all the events we think we’re missing out on and wish we could join. But I’ve definitely learned that I can get my kids excited about just about anything if I’m excited, too. With these tips, and anything else you think would be fun, you can create wonderful Fall memories without spending a lot of money or driving far from home.

Previous articleFamily Friendly Halloween Events in Denver
Next articleInclusive Treat Ideas for the Teal Pumpkin Project
Megan Jones
Megan has lived many places, but currently lives in Parker, CO. Megan and her husband, Cannon, met at Baylor University (sic ‘em Bears!) and have been married for 17 years. They were given the opportunity to transfer to the Denver area two years ago and couldn’t resist! Megan loves nature, especially mountains, and the gorgeous Colorado weather that allows her so many chances to get out hiking or just playing with her 3 kids. She has a 12-year-old about-to-be-junior-high daughter, a gymnastics-loving 9-year-old daughter and a 6-year-old son who keeps everyone on their toes! Nothing compares to his zest for life! Megan decided to be a stay-at-home mom when her first daughter was born, so she knows that making it this far on her journey is only thanks to a village, whether in-person or long-distance, and has a passion for connecting with other moms and encouraging them on their motherhood journeys as well.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here