At Home: Fall Stories and Crafts

Nov. 2015

Halloween is just around the corner and fall is here in the Inland Empire. It almost rained and almost stayed cold last week, but now it’s back in the 80s. Nevertheless, I’m enjoying the warm but “cooler” weather and sometimes I even play Christmas music in my room.

Truth be told: When I used to teach, I used to take Veteran’s Day off and take the longer weekend to visit New York. The first time I visited during Veteran’s day weekend, I went to look at some wedding dresses (2010). I remember walking through Greenwich Village to a small wedding dress boutique and seeing The Sartorialist and Garance Doré sitting at a cafe across where I was walking, and they were both looking in my direction, and I imagined–had they been walking on the street, perhaps they’d taken a street photo of me. Haha! (Please excuse my vain memory/imagination/hallucination). Fall weather was so perfect, I took a mental note and visited during the same time thereafter. The photo from two posts prior was from this visit (in 2010).

It is a lovely time to be in the city. The leaves are golden and falling, and it is right before wind and rain invade the city and take down all the leaves so that on one bitter morning before you realize what has happened, all things fall and golden lay on the ground in grey mush. Never in my visits during the same weekend have I experienced inclement weather. Ideally, one should visit New York City during the first week of November. Not before Halloween though. Halloween in New York is crazy and unpredictable. You have to go after Halloween when people have shaken off their eerie party spirits and are feeling more light and festive. When the pandemic is over, keep in mind, dear readers, the best time to go to NYC to experience fall is right after Halloween (the first two weeks of November).

Random story: During my first year at NYU, I didn’t know about NYC’s crazy Halloween parades and festivities. On the night of Halloween that year (2006), I had finished my evening classes after a full day of classroom observations, and when I exited the building which was located around Washington Square, I found myself in the middle of a Halloween parade. Mind you, I never attended a Halloween party in my life, and there I was in the middle of the biggest one in the city, or so it seemed. The streets were closed and everyone, adults and children, were in elaborate costumes. I remember seeing Marie Antoinette (full wig, gown, makeup, etc.) and a mother hen (full-feathered) with three little chicks, etc. Those were the most memorable costumes that stuck with me, but when I say people went all out, I mean, The Walking Dead characters would feel normal in such a setting and I don’t think you could’ve gotten away with a costume from Target. I was in regular old clothes and so tired, I shoved myself across a flood of people though three blocks and remember wanting to get away from such mayhem. Oh, the memories.

To change the subject,

Here are some fall crafts to enjoy with family:

  • Leaf crafts also this: I especially like the card concept
  • Pumpkin seed craft: Similar to the above idea, but with dyed pumpkin seeds
  • Seed Pictures: Another similar to the idea above, but more versatile
  • Dried Flower Turkey Gourds: A chic take on decorating the table
  • Caramel Apple Recipes: Yum! I think E will enjoy the DIY Caramel Apple Bar. She prefers peanut butter over caramel, so we might have a peanut butter apple bar instead.
  • Apple Cider Caramels: Smitten Kitchen’s recipe and she claims it’s her favorite, in her own words, “These apple cider caramels are my love letter autumn in my city, my attempt, as I wrote in the book, to ‘pack everything I love about New York City in October — the carpet of fiery leaves on the ground from the trees I didn’t even know we had; the sky, impossibly blue; the air, drinkably crisp; the temperature finally delicious enough that it implores you to spend hours wandering around, sipping warm spiced apple cider from the Greenmarkets — into one tiny square.'” Perfect for gifting later in the year. I never saw the appeal of caramels until a coworker brought homemade caramels to share at work and people were inhaling them. I tried one and couldn’t believe how soft they were! Not sticky on my teeth as I had imagined. Hopefully Smitten Kitchen’s turns out similar.
  • Try a stuffed squash recipe. A savory option for fall cooking.
  • Family game night: Scattegories using fall themes: Fall movies, fall foods/dishes, fall harvest (seasonal fruits/veggies), etc.
  • or Pumpkin Games: some active options

Happy Fall!

Fall Films

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I love all seasons: spring because of the gradual warmth in the air and flowers abloom, summer because of beach trips, its long sunlit hours and sleeping with the windows open to let in the evening breeze, fall because of the crisp air and everything pumpkin and apples, winter because of Christmas (the best birthday celebration), all the peppermints and gingerbreads, and then my birthday.

And for every season, I have a list of films I enjoy watching. Here is my list of my favorite films to watch in the fall in no particular order:

  • Harry Potter 1, 2, 3: The first three films (and books) set a certain excitement and mood for fall: the beginning of school and seeing familiar faces, back-to-school shopping at Diagon Alley, the train station and Hogwarts, the great feast, pumpkin juice, etc. The 4th one is more Christmas-y, and the 5-7th ones orient around Voldemort, therefore not so festive.
  • Good Will Hunting: They’re in school, fall foliage; basically, school.
  • You’ve Got Mail: 90% of this film is fall.
  • When Harry Met Sally: I would consider this is a perfect winter/New Year’s Eve movie. Sure, the film begins with Harry and Sally setting off for New York in the fall and there are many scenes that take place in the fall, so it can be a fall film, but I’d say it is 40% fall. haha.
  • Pride and Prejudice (film and BBC TV series): Honestly, this can fit into every season. :)
  • Anne of Green Gables: The Sequel: Anne working as a school teacher, school picnics and plays, apple-picking, and that last scene with fall foliage in the background. ;)
  • Hocus Pocus: a classic and clean-ish 90s Halloween movie even though I don’t celebrate Halloween. It’s still pretty funny.
  • Love Story: I watched it for the first time a couple years ago and it was SO cheesy I couldn’t bear it, but I remember Ali MacGraw’s outfits being so chic and perfect for fall. I wouldn’t watch it again, but it’s almost quintessentially fall and it would be wrong to leave it out of the list.
  • Garden State: the soundtrack
  • Godfather I: somber in mood, scenes take place at the end of summer, then fall and so on, but I’d say the main events occur in the the fall and winter. (This is one of very few violent films I can handle).
  • Dan in Real Life: a family reunion in the middle of the school year, sometime in the fall, and it’s heartwarming. Also, the soundtrack.
  • Chocolat: the color scheme and tones, warmth emanating from food, and all the chocolate reminds me of Halloween
  • About a Boy: a boy in his school year, “Santa’s Super Sleigh” and the scene where Hugh Grant’s character is shopping in a supermarket and hears it playing and he says, “November the sodding 19th… Six weeks before Christmas and already they were playing the bloody thing.” This film can also fit into my winter category.
  • Ratatouille: Paris in the fall
  • Lord of the Rings: end of summer–ready for adventure kind of feel
  • Coco: obviously, Dia de los Muertos. That scene at the end though: if you didn’t cry, are you even human? ;)
  • The Royal Tenenbaums: color scheme and tones. I haven’t watched Fantastic Mr. Fox, but supposedly that’s also fit for fall.

What would be on your favorite fall films list? Anything to add? Take away? Watch for the first time?