Changing season ushers in new activities

By Jack Tuthill
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Surely students on campus have noticed the shift in temperature and the exquisite blend of green, orange, yellow and red on the trees above. Fall is finally upon us.

The season tends to bring good spirits from students for a variety of reasons. Maybe it is the realization that one month of school is in the bag. Perhaps Halloween brings out the kid inside of us. I am sure the upcoming hunting season has some especially enthused. Personally, I enjoy the colors, pumpkin spiced lattes, sweatshirt weather, ghost stories, corn mazes and the hayrides.

Students should take advantage of the beautiful scenery before midterms steal their social life for the next couple of weeks. Luckily there are many great local options for fall thrill seekers. Here are my five favorite fall activities to sink your teeth into.

1) Carve a pumpkin while watching a scary movie.

I know what you are thinking, “It’s not Halloween yet.” No it is not, but when Halloween rolls around you may not have the time to do such an activity. You are never too old to carve a pumpkin; it is relaxing, grimy amusement. Bake the pumpkin seeds while you are at it.

Need suggestions for which films to watch? “The Nightmare Before Christmas” is the perfect pumpkin carving film. Looking for something a little more terrifying? Try “The Shining,” “28 Days Later” or “Paranormal Activity.” Also you can never go wrong with reruns of “The Walking Dead” as an option

2) Make a fall meal.

Fall food is about as good as it gets. How does chicken dumpling soup, a pumpkin spiced latte and a piece of pumpkin pie sound? If you are craving something heartier then try chili, mashed potatoes, or homemade macaroni and cheese.

Apple crisp is a great alternative to pumpkin pie. Perhaps you can pick the apples yourself at an apple orchard. Apple picking is actually quite enjoyable. There is an art to plucking the ripest and tastiest apples. The terrific Afton Apple Orchard in Hastings, Minn., is a short drive away.

3) Visit a corn maze, hayride and pumpkin patch.

Usually these three wonderfully youthful activities can be accomplished in one visit. These events are often called “fall festivals.” It is not required to have children in order to attend a fall festival, despite popular belief.

Bring your favorite man or woman and take a dive into the corn-pit or try some authentic pumpkin butter.

Fall festivals are a great opportunity to see some colors, eat some good food and take in a different culture.

The Twin Cities Harvest Festival in Brooklyn Park is among the best in Minnesota, and White Pine Berry Farm takes the cake in River Falls.
There are dozens of pumpkin patches and corn mazes in the area. They are fun, cheap, easily accessible and perfect for a date.

4) Visit a haunted house or trail.

Haunted trails and houses are best visited in large groups. The best haunted trails will have numerous attractions. The Dead End Hayride in Wyoming, Minn., offers a haunted hayride, corn maze and asylum. The drive is under an hour and well worth the trip.

Do not expect to pee your pants at these trails, but do expect to jump. Screams are encouraged.

5) Take a trip.

Take a day trip, or heck, take a weekend trip away. The colors are at their peak and you probably need a breather from the residence halls by now.

If you have the time and resources, I highly recommend taking a trip to Minnesota’s north shore. Duluth, Minn., is among the prettiest cities in the Midwest and the north shore is coated with lighthouses, colorful mountains, unique food and amazing Lake Superior views.

I advise all students to get active. Go for a hike and snap some pictures, taste some local food, see some sites, take a break and enjoy the fall season while it lasts.

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