Autumn in America can be a magical time for an exchange student, bringing ample opportunities to experience American-born traditions! Halloween, corn mazes, football games, pumpkin pie, hayrides, you name it! Whether you’re new to the U.S. or simply looking through new eyes, you’ll love this collection of time-tested fall customs that are PERFECT for the whole family.
Our Top 7 Fall Favorites!
#1 – Grab some cans of pumpkin and START BAKING!
Pumpkin muffins, pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin bread, pumpkin pie… The smell of cinnamon and nutmeg wafting through the house? Luxurious! The fun of baking (and eating!) together? Harmonious! The joy of presenting an exchange student with his FIRST EVER stack of pumpkin pancakes? Priceless!
#2 – GET LOST in a corn maze!
What’s more American than getting lost in a field of corn? Not much! Check online to find fall festivals and pumpkin patches near you. Of course you’ll also want to take advantage of the caramel apples, wagon rides, and other festivities!
#3 – Hit the Friday Night Lights!
Nothing showcases “school spirit” (an American phenomenon) quite like a high school football game! Go as a family. Buy the BIG bag of popcorn. Chant with the cheerleaders. Stand up and start a crowd-wave. THIS is the magic of American high school sports! Embrace it!
#4 – Carve jack-o-lanterns!
Oh yes: it’s messy, time-consuming, and often anti-climactic – but this is ONE custom your student will love! Create a jack-o-lantern family or get creative. There are tons of ideas here!
#5 – Toast marshmallows, and better yet, create some classic s’mores!
The perfect blend of activity + dessert, all while huddling in the brisk night air amidst casual conversation. An American classic to be sure, and a great side-by-side activity to make lasting memories!
#6 – TRICK-or-TREAT!
Think it’s just for kids? Not a chance! Take the whole family trick-or-treating, and be sure you spend some time finding just the right costume! Not into Halloween? You’ll love these alternatives! Try a “trunk-or-treat” event or fall festival at your local church or community center. So many ways to celebrate!
#7 – STAY REAL.
This isn’t an activity per se, but it may as well be one! (And it should really be at the top!)
Behind you lies adjustment and culture shock. Ahead of you: the holiday rush. Any member of your family may at ANY time feel elated or exhausted, delighted or depressed. It’s normal! The “fall wall” can bring the best of us down, but don’t stay there! Autumn is the perfect time to re-assess your expectations, take a deep breath, and love your family. You’re making memories! You’re living the journey! Keep calm and keep it real.
Talk about the Fall Colors. Explain about the changes that the trees go through and what color the different kind ends up being. Talk about the changes with the animals in your region like the Squirrels gathering their nuts, or the Geese flying south or the Deer in Rut. Talk about the World Series and how you felt about it.
When you are driving “from here to there” talk about your surrounds and notice the changes.