From Pumpkin Patches to Spooky Paintings and Horror Films: Here’s What We’re Up to This Fall

Growing up on the East Coast, I've always loved the many sights, sounds and smells of the fall season. My extended family operates a ski resort, and so I’d go for early chair lift rides to admire the foliage from atop the ridge. This fall, I have a family of my own and I’m looking forward to taking weekend drives with my wife and son to see the farms that dot the stretch of northwestern New Jersey where we live. Of course, we’ll also be dressing my son up in a silly costume for his first Halloween.

In that spirit, I asked my colleagues – an enthusiastic group distributed across the U.S. – what their plans were for ringing in the fall season. Here’s what the team, which has deeply held beliefs on food, music, beach reads, and so much more, shared about their To-Do lists as the leaves begin to change:

Meghan Gardner, Executive Vice President and General Manager, West Coast

“Every year, my daughter and I make a pilgrimage to a Sauvie Island pumpkin patch with her best friend and best friend's mom. Sauvie is a pretty, little agricultural haven in Oregon along the Columbia River (fun fact, it's one of the largest islands in the U.S.). It's just as advertised: a big stretch of land with pumpkins you can pick and bring home. Plus, there's a corn maze, a petting zoo and lots of fried foods (some on sticks). In other words, it's awesome. Also, this year, I'll be nestling into the couch and reading the ‘Apple Cookbook’ (that's actually its name) we found at a random book sale this summer. I'll make a long list of recipes I want to try but ultimately will probably just make my go-to apple batter cake. It always hits.”

Grace Emery, Senior Vice President and General Manager

“My favorite fall activity is a nice, long run through Prospect Park (NYC) in the crisp weather!”

Nabeelah Khan, Vice President

“When I lived in the midwest, apple picking was definitely the go-to. Fall doesn't hit in the same way in Southern California, so our activities are more focused around Halloween and going to a pumpkin patch. This year, I'm excited to celebrate Dia de Los Muertos – Day of the Dead – which is observed Nov. 1-2. Given our close proximity to Mexico, there's lots of great events to participate in all throughout San Diego.”

Allison Gittings, Senior Director, Strategy

“Oktoberfest has to be my favorite activity – drinking a cold beer on a sunny day in sweater weather with good food and good people. And this year, I’ll be introducing baby Sloane to all things fall for the first time!”

Lindsey Shumway, Senior Director

“My favorite fall activity has to be when a group of friends and all of our kids visit Connors Farm in Massachusetts for a day of corn mazes, hayrides, baby animals and too many cider donuts. It feels like the ultimate kick-off to fall and the kids and parents have a blast! Also, while this isn’t necessarily a fall activity, I’m looking forward to hitting the pickleball court more, before it gets too cold. I spent the whole summer learning the game!”

Chris Heine, Senior Director, Content Strategy

“I love walking around Brooklyn, Manhattan, and the other boroughs in the fall. It's the best time of year to enjoy the city afoot, which is the best way of experiencing the city no matter what time of year (barring a snowstorm). And this year, I plan to make it upstate more than I have in recent years.”

Christina Roach, Account Manager

“Pumpkin carving and roasting seeds are my favorite activities. There’s nothing like freshly roasted pumpkin seeds. Also, my friends always throw a huge Halloween bash with strict themes – no one gets in without a relevant costume. This year we've pivoted to a steampunk-themed murder mystery.”

Olivia Osborne, Account Manager

“Eating anything pumpkin or apple flavored is definitely my favorite activity. The Trader Joe's pumpkin ginger flavored hold-the-cones are delicious. Also, I'm moving to the East Coast, so I'm so excited to experience a real fall for the first time! Apple picking is No. 1 on my list.”

Mary Jenkins, Senior Research and Insights Associate

“I am a huge fan of Halloween so this is a hard question, but my favorite fall activity is probably all of the Halloween/scary movies. There’s nothing better than getting cozy with autumnal treats and then getting scared on a foggy Saturday night. Plus, this year I'm going to try a trend I've seen on TikTok where you buy an old painting from a thrift store and paint over it to make it Halloween-themed (here are a couple of examples that gave me inspiration). We'll see how it turns out.”

Heather Steitzer, Senior Project Associate

“I host a huge Friendsgiving every year, and it's my favorite holiday of the whole year! I’m also going to try to go on a new hike each weekend with the family and dog.”

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