What are your fall traditions?

Q&A With Shay Each Sunday

Obviously, I am not alone in having a love for the fall season, so let’s talk about what we all love to do during this great season!

Q: What are your fall traditions?

A: Fall is probably my favorite season—like it is for many. I think I love summer just as much, but there’s almost a little more variety involved in fall, and it’s so so cozy. It also provides a bit of a feeling of regeneration. I like progressing into the fall, getting ready for winter and colder weather, ready to stay inside more often and get more writing and work done—almost like it lends itself to this, and that’s comforting.

I don’t so much have traditions, I don’t think they’re unique enough to call them that, but I try to make sure there are a few things I do each fall, even though I sadly sometimes don’t get to them all.

In October, there are the Halloween related activities that are a must. I love carving pumpkins—it’s a fun creative activity. I do a different design in the pumpkin every year. My best yet was when I did the profile of a witch on a broom—and I never use stencils! The annoying thing about pumpkin carving is the beginning of gutting it. It takes forever and those strings and seeds are evil in themselves. I like to drink pumpkin beer while the pumpkin carving commences—with cinnamon sugar around the rim of course. Another thing I do a few times during the fall—because it’s delicious, but totally unacceptable in other seasons.

Also on the Halloween theme, I usually go to a haunted house even though they’re terrifying. There have been some that are so scary, and then the one I went to in New Orleans when I lived there that totally crossed boundaries and was beyond creepy. I hold onto Pat the whole time while he laughs at the terrifying murderers, and I feel like my heart may explode. It’s great fun.

We also watch scary movies leading up to Halloween—but I never will alone. Not sure why I torture myself with terror, but I like it. And of course, Hocus Pocus every year! I wonder if Hocus Pocus will ever stop being phenomenal? I don’t think so.

I haven’t dressed up every single year after college, but I really love to do costumes, so I try to find something to do where I can dress up. I have made my own costumes every year since I was a little kid, and they were usually pretty weird. When I was younger, even my cat costume wasn’t the little headband cat ears, it was literally a full cat head with a mane of hair. I also made myself Mrs. Frost—Jack Frost’s wife, where I wore snowflake garland Christmas decorations and painted snowflakes on my face. I made myself Mary Poppins once, only because it was supposed to be Annie Oakley, but I apparently didn’t know who Annie Oakley actually was, because I looked way more like Poppins.

As an adult, I made costumes like: a murderer, a Starbucks latte, a peacock, a handmaid. We’ll see what I decide on this year, if I even dress up. And since I got my dog, the new tradition is dressing him up too. I spent way too much time searching for his costume last year. Finally, I decided on a puppy latte, and like most things it was a bit snug on him.

Other fall activities I enjoy are apple and pumpkin picking. There is this great farm out by my house in Hampton Bays that makes homemade potato chips right from the the potato in front of you. I didn’t get to go this year sadly. You can also shoot corn out of a canon there.

Hiking during October is my favorite because of the changing colors and nicely crisp air. I haven’t gone on many hikes in SC around this time, the colors aren’t quite as nice as NY. But, I used to have the tradition of going to Mohonk Mountain in upstate NY every October for this fun hike there called the labyrinth. It’s basically climbing through rocks and crevices all the way until you get to this very narrow ladder to get to the top of the mountain with the most amazing lookout ever—and the colors are beautiful all the way up. I haven’t been back in a few years:(

I love Thanksgiving food, even though I’m a vegetarian. And even if I don’t get to eat it on actual Thanksgiving. Some years Pat is working for it, but I either cook here in SC or have a Thanksgiving in NY, regardless of the actual day. Always finished off with a pumpkin pie and vanilla ice-cream!

My favorite part of fall might be the fashion. Fall colors are my favorite colors—especially burnt-orange and maroon. Sweaters and boots and beanies indeed.

These aren’t particularly “different” fall activities or anything, but I’m not sure most people’s are. I’d love to hear if you have some very odd fall traditions. What I need is some sort of creepy doll collection or something—to be strived for in the future, I suppose. I don’t even usually decorate much in the apartment because I hate to spend money on the temporary decor, but I think I’m going to need a few things to get in the cozy fall spirit! (Or the scary spirit…)

Lastly, in terms of writing, there is NaNoWriMo in the fall in November! (National Novel Writing Month.) This is the perfect motivation for writers, even if it’s something they could do anytime, the community and hype helps. I haven’t done it every single year and I haven’t technically used it by the strict standard rules of word count and what-not. I pretty much use NaNo to write every single day in November, regardless of how much. There was only one year where I actually did it every single day for the whole month. It doesn’t seem like it would be difficult but when you factor in traveling or commitments or events, it’s easy to let a day here and there slip away. NaNo is coming at the perfect time for me this year because I finished another revision of my novel Fractured, and I’m really looking forward to diving in on my next book. I have written some scenes here and there, and I’ve had the idea for a VERY long time, but I’m pretty sure I’m scrapping all of what I’ve done so far and starting fresh. I’m even going to do it the right way this time with daily word counts and everything, and I’m going to see if I can get a first draft done in the month of November. I don’t usually like to write about what I’m “going to do.” I’d rather keep it to myself and just do it, but maybe this will be even more needed motivation, especially as the fall is going to be very busy with editing work and final revisions to Fractured. So, there’s another fun—and grueling—fall tradition.

What are your fall traditions? AND, and are you participating in NaNoWriMo? Reach out if you need help staying motivated! I’ll be working away with my soy lattes. (I do not drink pumpkin spice lattes) but I will light a nice pumpkin spice candle while I write.