The cozy season is chock-full of eating candy and watching spooky movies, but we have a few fresh ideas you should tack onto your itinerary.
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martha pumpkins october 2017 cover
Credit: John Dolan

It's time to break out your coziest sweaters, prepare your palate for all things pumpkin spice, and get ready to spot some beautiful foliage: Fall is almost here. The most comforting time of year is chock-full of warm meals, inviting harvest decorations, trips to your local pumpkin patch or orchard, and of course, a spooky movie or two.

While you likely have a few annual autumn traditions that you and your loved ones look forward to, we have a few fall bucket list items to add to your slate. 

best apple pie sliced on gray countertop
Credit: Nico Schinco

Bake an Apple Pie

One of the most recognizable desserts of fall is apple pie—and our recipe will surely become an annual staple in your household. The filling, made with a range of apple varieties with unique flavors and textures, is nestled into a flaky, golden brown crust that twinkles with sanding sugar. Whether it's made for your Thanksgiving dessert spread or to satisfy a weeknight hankering for something sweet, baking our Best Apple Pie should be at the top of your fall to-do list. 

table decorated with candles in glass lamp chimneys and fruit
Credit: ALPHA SMOOT

Perfect Your Tablescape

From trick-or-treating to giving thanks on Turkey Day, fall is the perfect time to host loved ones. But before having company over, be sure your tablescape is ready for guests—do your candelabras have any chips? Does your dinnerware match? Is your table runner clean? Once you take stock of your inventory, set the scene with on-theme colors and decorations. Here, orange pillar candles and seasonal fruit and foliage come together to form an autumnal centerpiece that gives the dining space a cozy atmosphere. 

Kancamagus Highway in Northern New Hampshire
Credit: DenisTangneyJr/Getty Images

Spot Fall Foliage

Even a quick drive down the block is steeped in beauty during fall. From golden browns and hues of crimson to forrest greens and bright oranges, the season's transitional foliage never fails to amaze us. Hit the road and take a trip through your state or a neighboring location to see the natural allure of autumn's color palette before winter arrives. 

Martha Stewart in her Halloween costume as Fairy GrandMartha

Make Your Own Halloween Costume

One thing our founder looks forward to every Halloween is a totally original costume. And the only way to ensure yours is set apart from the pack is by making it from scratch. Take notes from Martha's past looks and the inspiration will flow—grab some tulle fabric, a golden wand, and matching crown and you're well on your way to channeling this fairy godmother look. 

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Carve or Paint a Pumpkin

By now, you've likely perfected the toothy grin and triangle eyes that's etched into so many Halloween pumpkins. This year, we challenge you to try something a little more creative when carving or painting your Jack O' Lantern. There's plenty of routes you can take, but we love this eery-but-chic design that's achieved by drilling different sized holes into a metallic-painted pumpkin. Finish the look off by pinning fake mice around the gourd and place a glowing votive inside. 

Mulled wine in white rustic mugs with spices
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Make Mulled Wine

Although hot apple cider is likely the beverage you immediately reach for during fall, don't overlook mulled wine. Made by brewing a full bodied red wine in a blend of whole spices—think star anise, cinnamon sticks, cloves, nutmeg, peppercorns, or cardamom—and slices of zest from seasonal citrus, like oranges. The sweet, yet spicy beverage is the perfect thing to warm you up on chilly autumn evenings. 

Dried Wheat Wreath
Credit: Lennart Weibull

DIY a Wreath

Welcome guests into your home with a DIY wreath that compliments the season. Plus, it will be even more of a conversation starter when they learn you made it yourself. We used natural materials—wheat stalks laced with wooden beads and bleached seedpods—to create this design, which looks great hung both inside and outside the home. 

outdoor fire pit overlooking a sunset
Credit: Getty / Chandlerphoto

Host a Bonfire

Outdoor entertaining isn't over just yet. Instead of bringing your fêtes immediately indoors at the first sign of chilly weather, we recommend having friends and family over for a bonfire. Roast marshmallows for s'mores, tell ghost stories, and enjoy the crisp autumn air as it ushers out the summer heat.

Fresh apples in crate in an apple orchard
Credit: GETTY IMAGES

Go Apple Picking

Fall wouldn't be complete without taking a trip to the orchard for the season's crowned jewel—apples. Once you pick the freshest and crispest of the bunch, check out what other family-friendly activities your orchard has to offer; you're likely to find corn mazes, pumpkin painting parties, hayrides, and more.

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Decorate With Seasonal Flavors

Take advantage of autumn's bounty by using it, not only in your recipes, but also in your harvest decorations. Beyond looking visually appealing, seasonal motifs will also fill your home with the aromas of the season. One way to do this is by adorning your mantel with fresh fruit. Using a fine-tipped washable marker, write letters on a mixture of Forelles and Anjous pears then press whole cloves into the flesh along the lines. The scent will permeate your space as the fruit is punctured with the spice. 

haunted house spooky ranch ohio
Credit: Courtesy of Spooky Ranch

Go for a Haunted Hayride

Of course, it's not fall without throwing a few spooky activities onto your bucket list. Ghouls, goblins, and the undead abound during haunted hayrides, making it the perfect Halloween activity to add to your itinerary. Jump into a hay-filled wagon and try to relax as it takes you through a field of nightmares—it's a great way to get outdoors and spend time with friends and family (if they're brave enough to join you!). 

fall porch with large spiders hay and pumpkins
Credit: Casie Reeder

Decorate Your Porch

Signal to your neighbors and passersby that you're a fan of the season by decorating your front porch for fall. There are an endless directions to take your décor; one way is to lean into Halloween motifs, like this house did. Line your walkway with pumpkins in various colors and sizes and suspend fake spiders from your home's exterior to get the spooky, but elevated look. 

fall time home garden exterior
Credit: mashiki / Adobe Stock

Get Your Lawn Ready

It may not sound like the most exciting seasonal activity, but getting your yard ready for fall is a step every homeowner must check off their list. Beyond raking fallen leaves (and jumping into their piles), you should also trim your evergreens, mulch your plants, and aerate your grass before autumn's end. 

caramel apples
Credit: Con Poulos

Make Caramel Apples

After picking up a bushel of apples from your local orchard, turn a few into something truly delicious—candy apples. Ours are coated in rich caramel and sprinkled with sea salt, which enhances the buttery flavor of the confectionary sauce. Dip a few in coarsely chopped cashews for added texture and a burst of nuttiness. 

completed arm knit blanket folded over white bench
Credit: SHANNA SULLIVAN

Learn How to Knit

There's no right time to start a new hobby, but if you've been wanting an excuse to learn how to knit, let it be the cozy season ahead. With scarves, shawls, and blankets (a no needles necessary project), there are plenty of beginner patterns that you'll be able to master this season. An added bonus? You'll have a supply of warm weather clothes before winter hits. 

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Go for a Hike

As temperatures decline and the foliage begins to change, fall instantly becomes a desirable time of year to be outside. While even a quick stroll through your neighborhood can be scenic, we suggest spending some time in a nearby state or national park for some truly spectacular views. Enjoy the lay of the land as the leaves transition into a myriad of golds, browns, and oranges.  

espresso martini on bar counter
Credit: Courtesy of Maple & Ash / Jake Huke

Make an Espresso Martini

Looking for the perfect fall nightcap? Turn to an espresso martini. The frothy beverage is given its robust flavor by combining vodka, espresso, coffee liqueur, and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker and shaking until the components are thoroughly mixed. We're certainly planning on making it our cocktail of the season. 

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Credit: Ngoc Minh Ngo

Decorate for Halloween

Welcome witches and warlocks alike into your home by setting up Halloween decorations throughout your space. From thoughtfully carved pumpkins to ghosts made out of cheesecloth, there are endless DIY opportunities for you to choose from when it comes to transforming your home into a realm of fright. 

fall decorated gold bar cart
Credit: Indu Huynh Photography

Prepare Your Bar Cart

Don't relegate gourds and fall foliage to your tablescapes and outdoor décor—these seasonal touches can also be worked into your bar cart display. Fall motifs, like pumpkins and leaves, give this golden bar set-up an autumnal feel. Finish off your beverage station with a few seasonal drinks, like cider and mulled wine. 

rustic fall porch with pumpkins and mums

Create a Welcoming Fall Entryway

Whether it's an outdoor walkway or an indoor mudroom, help guests feel the ethos of autumn as soon as they arrive to your home. Create the perfect fall entryway by mixing patterns, textures, and colors like these homeowners did. They used a variety of ceramic and terra-cotta pots, mums, woven baskets, and a plaid throw blanket to create a dynamic look that encapsulates the aesthetic of fall. 

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