We’re elbows deep in the fall sweater season, and the forecast says this is the perfect time for romance. Fall is a magical time for dating. With a change of scenery, everything feels new. Plus, there’s the opportunity to cuddle. You gotta keep warm, right?
Early fall is a no brainer for couples. There’s apple picking, harvest fests, the pumpkin patch, and Halloween fun. But what is there to do when orchard season is past and Halloween has faded away like a ghost?
Or what if you live in a warm climate and don’t have fall at all?
Here’s a list of fall date ideas that will help you usher in the festive fall spirit, no matter where you live.
Campfire and s’mores
A cozy bonfire is the quintessential fall fun experience. Feeling outdoorsy? Challenge yourselves to build a fire with just matches, wood and tinder.
Here’s how. Stack your logs in a tight square formation like a log cabin, or balance them in a tepee shape. Form a pile of dry bark, twigs, or paper in the middle and light it in multiple spots with your matches. Blow lightly to stoke the flames and feed the forming fire with larger sticks as it grows. Once the flames begin climbing the logs, you’re golden.
Now’s the time to wrap up in blankets and enjoy the warmth. Don’t forget your roasting sticks. Roast hot dogs for your main course, then toast marshmallows for dessert. Chat while you watch the flames die, then stargaze or go for a nighttime walk. Who says a memorable date has to be fancy?
A trip to the local coffee shop
For a new twist on the classic coffee date, hit Google Maps to search for locally owned coffee shops in your area. Small cafes often have a homey feel, with cozy seating and locally inspired decor. Many put out board games to play while you sip!
Local baristas may even be able to help you find a new favorite drink. Research your tastes before you go and strike up a conversation with the person behind the counter. Whether you prefer a bold cup with a heavy caffeine kick or a sweet and milky brew, your barista will help you pick the drink that’s best for you.
Head down to a used bookstore
Along those same lines, locally owned used bookstores are a home away from home, often with cozy nooks and soft lighting. Get lost in the stacks and enjoy that old book smell. You can joke over outdated self help books, explore old medical texts, or discuss your favorite reads.
For an extra touch of romance, show up early and hide clues that lead to your favorite book or a book your date would enjoy. Romantic and thoughtful, this option works best if you’ve been on a few dates before and you’re ready to commit to a deeper relationship.
Go for a hike
Enjoying the outdoors is a great way to calm your nerves and open up to your partner. If you live in a cold climate, don’t let dreary weather keep you indoors. As the old saying goes, there’s no bad weather, only bad clothing. Dress in layers and bring a day-pack along so you can stow your jackets if you get warm. Don’t forget hats, gloves, thick socks and sturdy shoes. Toss some snacks and water into your pack before you leave so you can enjoy a breather with your date on the trail.
For a extra boost of fun, turn your hike into a treasure hunt. Plan your outing near a geocache: a watertight treasure chest of sorts that’s hiding in plain sight for others to find. Search for the coordinates of local geocaches before you leave and use your phone to guide you to the right spot. You will still need to do some sleuthing once you get there. Remember to bring along a small item to swap for a souvenir out of the cache.
Set up an outdoor movie night
It’s getting dark earlier and earlier. Make the shorter days work in your favor by planning a movie night under the stars. All you need is your laptop, some outdoor seating, blankets, snacks. Try stringing a hammock between two trees and balancing your laptop on your knees. Or set your screen on a hay-bale and get cozy on some camp chairs nearby.
For movie recommendations with a Catholic spin, check out our blog.
Build some gingerbread houses
Bake sheets of sturdy cookies and get building. Forget the traditional ginger house. Make a haunted house, a car wash, or the Notre Dame Cathedral. You’re only limited by your imagination. Fill small bowls with your favorite candy for decorating, and be sure you have a strong, edible bonding agent like royal icing on hand.
For a less ambitious feat, try this on a smaller scale with graham crackers and pre-made icing. Challenge each other to a contest to see who can build the tallest, sturdiest, or most creative structure. Don’t forget to sample the end product!
Dedicate time to service
There’s no better way to bond with someone new than through acts of service. The holidays are the perfect time to jump in with two feet and support people in need in your community. Shop for Thanksgiving Dinner and drop it off to a family in need, collect warm clothes for a coat drive, or shop for toys to place in the collection box at church.
Keep in mind, it’s never too late to (reverse) trick-or-treat at a hospital or assisted living facility. Make up a bundle of cheerful cards and little treat bags to hand out door to door. The patients will be thrilled to visit with someone new and receive a little gift of hope before the holidays. Be sure to call ahead to let the staff know you’re coming!