How to celebrate fall where the seasons don’t change

In my head, I love the idea of shopping for fall—cozy scarves, snuggly sweaters, fabulous boots—it’s the kind of dressing I love. Unfortunately, in reality, I avoid going to stores when fall and winter inventory hits the shelves because where I live in West Texas, even though it is November, it’s still 88 degrees outside. I have no need to bundle up, chic as it may be. Fall dressing for others is winter dressing for us most of them time.

Welcome to a  world without changing seasons. A world where dressing up in many Halloween costumes (kitty, bunny, anything with a bodysuit) could cause heat stroke. Where frying turkey outside for Thanksgiving is totally fine because the weather will probably still be shorts friendly. Don’t get me wrong; I like the warmer temperatures. My grandfather grew up in Detroit, but retired in his adopted home of Texas because, “Who needs all that cold when there are other options? Like not being cold.”

Still, I miss the actual changing of seasons I experienced when I went to college up north. The turning leaves, autumn fashion, and fall foods. But mourn not the missing red foliage. Celebrating fall can happen wherever you might happen to be if you adjust your parameters.

Go out stargazing

No matter where you might be, the autumn night sky is glorious. Take a trip to your local observatory or planetarium, see if the local college has a community night, or just check it out with your bare eye. For extra fun, on a clear night, get a group together, grab some blankets, and picnic in the backyard or a local park. Look at the stars and be thankful you don’t have to freeze to enjoy the view.

Eat seasonal favorites that aren’t pumpkin spiced

So we all know that starting in September, America might as well be flavored pumpkin spice. If that is fall for you, luck is with you since it knows no geographic boundaries. But things like apple picking? Not so much in warmer areas. That doesn’t mean there aren’t seasonal things worth enjoying that are local to you. Chances are the warmer weather means you might even have a longer growing season. Check out the farmer’s market, which is probably still open, or let your pal Google help you figure out what is local and seasonal for your area. Prickly pears, in season for my neck of the woods, make fantastic jam.

Use fall colors, even if they aren’t in fall clothing

Fall colors can show up in your clothes, even if those clothes are short sleeved. Shelve your brights and pastels for jewel tones and rich browns. Beyond that, if you color your hair, letting go of your summer highlights and embracing the dark, rich tones of fall puts you in a festive fall mood no matter the temperature. My current hue, according to my stylist, is the “yummiest latte,” a play on my natural red.

Take in some sports

Sports are at their height in the fall, be it soccer, football, volleyball, or basketball pre-season. Attending games always feels back-to-school to me, which certainly illicites that autumn feeling. It is also a great way to get involved in the community, another thing that can fill in for those harvest events other areas have.

Make a fall mix

Music has a variety of autumn themed songs to help you celebrate the shifting of time. Even though many are a bit darker, they have dreamy lyrics, like the swoon-worthy “Autumn” by Paolo Nutini. Some other favorites to add to your playlist: “November Rain” (Guns ‘N Roses), “Dead Leaves and Dirty Ground” (The White Stripes), “Wake Me Up When September Ends” (Green Day), “Autumn Serenade” (John Coltrane), “My Cosmic Autumn Rebellion” (The Flaming Lips), “Autumn in New York” (Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong), “Autumn Almanac” (The Kinks), “September” (Earth, Wind, and Fire), “November” (Tom Waits), and always the classic, “The September Song” (Frank Sinatra).

Catch up for awards season

For those not so much with the sports, fall also represents the beginning of awards season for movies. Many of the “must see” movies that will end up at the Golden Globes and Oscars come out during those autumnal months. Grab a pal and hit the theater to see those flicks before the people start Googling the titles once nominations start rolling in. I am jumping up and down to see The Walk.

Conjur up some autumn smellls

You can buy candles and plug ins to try to mimic the smells of pumpkin pie and apple spice. If that isn’t your bag, here is my favorite autumn fragrance hack: fill a sauce pan with apple cider (even apple juice will work, but the smell is slightly different). Add whole cloves, cinnamon sticks, orange peel, and nutmeg. Simmer on low. Even if you don’t drink the end product, your place will smell amazing.

Enjoy an early sunset

Once the time changes, the sun starts hitting the horizon much earlier. That means you can bask in those pretty reds, oranges, and golds before Happy Hour is over, preferably on a patio (it’s still warm, after all) with a glass of wine. Same colors as the leaves, different wonder of nature.

Get out and help out

No matter where you live, your community probably has a number of activities from fall festivals to charitable Thanksgiving Feasts. Giving a little of your time to help others is a wonderful way to celebrate any season and fall is lush with opportunities to do just that. What better way to feel all warm and cozy?

[Image via Columbia Pictures]

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