How to make it feel like fall in Florida

Advice from a northerner to make Florida fall enjoyable


Entrance to the corn maze at Fox Squirrel Corn Maze (photo by Nicole Perdigon)

Via Godinez, Staff Writer

As the year eases on, things begin to change. October is here, and with it comes a true autumn. Trees change color and drop their dead leaves to be crunched under heavy boots as they trek to school in the morning, crisp air filling tired lungs. Scarves are wrapped around necks, chunky sweaters are draped over shoulders and hands grip pumpkin spice lattes for both flavor and warmth. Unless you live in the south, of course.

I’m talking about Florida specifically. Instead of leaving your house comfortable, you step onto your porch in the sweltering heat; bugs attack humidity-slick skin, hair frizzes worse than an electric shock. Here, there is no fall. Every day is the hottest day of the year.

But we’re not here to complain about Florida’s lack of seasons. I’m here to tell you how to enjoy the aesthetic vibe of autumn while living in a place that doesn’t provide such things.

So where do you start? First, you must surround yourself with the things you associate with fall. Decorate your house or room with candles of festive scents, throw pillows and blankets in warm/earthy tones and put some random pumpkins all over the place.

If you really want to get into the spirit of things, turn your AC down to a cooler temperature (35° should suffice) and bundle up. For me, one of the most relaxing fall activities is reading a book by the fire and drinking something warm, like apple cider. But, we’re in Florida, and a lot of us don’t have access to a fire place. Fortunately, though, there are plenty of videos online that simulate a live fire. There may not be any real warmth, but if you imagine hard enough it might feel real. Even though you may not be able to make bread, there’s plenty of other fall type recipes you could try out.

But if books aren’t your thing watch some classic fall movies, like Hocus Pocus or Halloweentown. If you prefer something with a sharper edge, I suggest something like The Exorcist, Rosemary’s Baby, or Halloween.

For those who aren’t the sit inside and relax kind of person, there are plenty of outdoor activities you can partake in. Even though Florida doesn’t have apple picking or dead leaf piles to jump into, there are a few small pumpkin patches, one being Fox Squirrel Corn Maze in Plant City. Fox Squirrel is also a good option for those of us needing Instagram pictures.

There are plenty of family/friend gatherings too, like tailgating or having a nice game of flag football. Even though Football may not scream autumn to some people, it’s still the season. A good backyard potluck is another option for you family folk. You could even bring out whatever fall recipe you made earlier.

And if you’re looking for more action, Florida is stocked full of fall festivals, including the classic Howl-O-Scream at Busch Gardens, Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios and Screamaggedon in Dade City.

Being from the Pacific North West, I live for fall. When I first moved to Florida a year ago, I was severely disappointed with the weather. When September and October rolled around, I wanted nothing more than to partake in my favorite fall activities: going apple picking, raking up leaves and jumping into the pile, wearing turtlenecks, going through a corn maze and baking bread.

It took a while to change up my autumn routine to fit Florida weather, and I’m still revising it to perfection.