1. Have a romantic two-person bonfire in your backyard, or at a nearby beach (they’re not as densely populated in the off-season). Bring a bunch of s’more stuff and have a contest to see who can make the best “elevated s’more” using something like peanut butter or Caramello instead of the traditional ingredients.
2. Go tailgating for your city’s football team, or check out a cheaper (and more likely to be outdoors) game from a high school or college team nearby.
3. Plan a date to a haunted house or on a haunted hayride. Make sure you check in with your partner to see how much scare they can handle and plan accordingly.
4. Find a nearby orchard and go apple picking. Spend the next few weeks egregiously making baked apples: just slice a few up and bake in the oven with a little butter and sprinkled with brown sugar until they look like you want to eat them. They make your apartment smell amazing!
5. Get two pumpkins and spend the night carving them and watching your favorite scary movies. When you’re done with the pumpkins you can roast the seeds for a yummy movie snack! I recommend the Scream series or the first two Halloween movies.
6. Look up a bunch of recipes for mulled wine and invent your own together.
7. Get lost in a corn maze.
8. Tour a local brewery and have fun sampling all the heavy fall and winter brews.
9. Spend a ridiculous amount of time planning your halloween costumes. Enter a costume contest (lots of bars in your city will have one) that night. Or just have fun will all the compliments you’ll get.
10. Harvest your garden or hit the farmer’s market and buy ingredients to make your own salsa based on your personal tastes — corn salsa? Super spicy salsa? Salsa verde? Make a big enough batch that you can can or freeze enough to eat all winter.
11. Go on the same walk 3 Saturdays in a row somewhere where you can see the leaves change from week to week.
12. Since it starts to get cold outside (which makes getting out of bed harder) plan to spend a whole morning in bed. Grab the paper or a magazine or book and give yourselves permission to just veg out. When you feel up to it, make red velvet pancakes.
13. Be outside as much as possible, before it’s too cold. Grab books, some sandwiches and wine (if you want) and spend a late afternoon reading on a blanket in the park together.
14. Pretend you’re kids again and play hide and seek in a park at night. So creepy and fun!
15. Go car camping. Use your tent or borrow one from someone and spend a night or two out of the city and outdoors. It’s easy camping because you can just bring a cooler and drive your car up to the campsite, you can be as adventurous as you want, or do it ‘glamping’ style.
16. Watch a movie outdoors. You can do this almost anywhere if you get a projector for your phone and stream Netflix on it. Occasionally I do this by simply carrying my TV out to my deck and streaming a movie on it while we relax on a blanket or lawn chairs. If you’re more adventurous, rent a real projector and hang a sheet in the yard — it makes every movie spooky!
17. Go on a ghost hunt. Find a real investigation group in your city or go on an existing tour (they’re almost everywhere!) If you’re super brave, you can investigate somewhere yourself — a cemetery, an old family property, your attic or basement.
18. Plan a long bike ride somewhere where you’ll see tons of pretty scenery. If you don’t have bikes rent them from your city’s bike share program or borrow them from friends.
19. If there’s a ski area near you most of them won’t have snow yet in the fall, but they will turn on the chair lifts so you can ride up and down and look at the trees from a bird’s eye view.
20. Look up the time when the leaves are supposed to be at their peak and plan to go to a bluff or somewhere else in your city where you can hike for a bit and get very scenic views of all the fall colors.
21. Borrow a kid or a dog when you rake leaves and laugh as they run through the piles. Or, if you’re so inclined, run through them yourselves.
23. Make a nice dinner at home. Serve pumpkin and bacon pasta.
24. Find a harvest festival in your area and attend. These events are super cheap and usually feature live music, great food and a bunch of fun little activities you can do.
25. Bundle up and bring a few blankets and drive to somewhere you’ll be able to see the stars. Spend the night talking and trying to identify as many constellations as you can.
26. If there’s a Zombie Pub Crawl in your area get some friends together and do it up. Any outfit you don’t like anymore can be turned into a zombie costume, just whiten all your exposed skin with Halloween makeup and add fake blood. Take a LOT of photos.
27. Spend a night watching dorky Halloween themed movies like Hocus Pocus and Ghostbusters.
28. Use Halloween as an excuse to ahem, wear costumes in the bedroom.
29. If you or the person you’re dating LOVE horror flicks, get Come Back To Me and try to guess the ending together. It’s one of the most genuine surprises I’ve had watching a scary movie in a long time.
30. Visit a local winery and enjoy strolling around, sampling wine. Some sell cheap but high-quality artisan snacks too (crackers and spreads) so you can eat a light meal outdoors in a beautiful setting.
31. Go to a fall flea market. Lots of the vendors try to get ride of stuff before the season is over in the winter, so stuff will be super cheap. Buy a piece of furniture and fix it up together. Here’s a ratty, ugly coffee table I got for $5 and simply sanded and painted. Now it’s one of my favorite pieces of furniture.
32. Take up jogging together doing the Couch to 5k method. Enter a fun, fall-themed 5k a few weeks (or months) out and use it as motivation to keep going.
33. Around Halloween lots of places will hold indoor and outdoor events to screen old scary movies. It can be really fun to see your old favorites on the big screen — it’s way more engrossing than watching at home. Plus, it’s a cheap way to get out of the house.
34. Google “cheap date night” and your city. Lots of restaurants offer special deals for fun nights out during the week.
35. Find an Oktoberfest and/or Dia de Los Muertos event near you and attend together.
36. When fall comes everyone craves soups. Learn how to make both of your favorite varieties from scratch. If you guys are extra ambitious make large quantities and freeze the rest so you’ll have super easy dinners for a busy week in the future.
37. Spend a day together outdoors, collecting as many different kinds of leaves as you can. When you get home, press the leaves in a random book on your bookshelf to find in the future and remember your fun day.
38. Make a pinecone bird feeder and hang it outside where you can enjoy watching birds munch on it for the coming weeks. Here’s a how-to.
39. Take a community education class together. Learn how to sketch, or about photography, or . Once I took one and just learned all about sharks.
40. Make your own fall decorations. Find ideas on Pinterest and collect the natural items (leaves, pinecones, corn) together on nature walks.
41. Find a beautiful place you’d want to do a photo shoot and get a friend to come take your photos. You can use the results for your Holiday card.
42. Have a movie night or game night made festive by making some Halloween/Fall themed foods like pumpkin cheeseballs, “monster eyes”, or deviled goblin eggs.
43. Go on a historical home tour of your city. Find out about your roots while getting to peek inside really expensive and old homes.
44. While the weather’s still nice, buy a cheap kite kit at Target and spend an afternoon outside trying to get it to fly.
45. Before the season’s over get a lot of use out of your grill. Grill everything you can. Visit the farmer’s market at get end of season deals on produce. Enjoy having cheap, nutritious meals at home.
46. Try geocaching.
47. Go to the oldest, most historic graveyard in your area and make stone rubbings. Go home and research the most elaborate markers and figure out who they belong to.
48. Channel your inner child and play a game of flashlight tag inside your house. Or better yet, strip flashlight tag.
49. Buy an old copy of Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark off of Amazon and spend a night reading them to each other and getting SO scared! Alternatively, read stories off Creepy Catalog for free. This and This are my favorites.
50. Have a chili cook-off to see who can make the best chili. Invite other couples. Use the leftovers to make chili nachos while you watch Sunday football.