How to Make it Feel Like Fall

Or maybe a better title would be, “How to Make it Feel Like Fall, Even When You Live in the South and it’s Still Insanely Hot”…hmm, might be a bit long for a title!

But really, when you live in the South in the fall, the month of September is basically torture. It still feels like July outside, but everywhere you go ads feature beautiful families in plaid and long sleeves, pumpkin everything abounds, and the leaves are still bright summer green.

The only thing that feels autumnal about September in the South is the sky. It changes from that hazy summer light blue sky to a deep autumnal blue. It just looks different. The sky is screaming autumn, but everything else still feels like summer.

But I can only take so many fall movie trailers, pumpkin yummy photos, and store windows full of brightly colored leaves before I lose my Southern mind and have to try and urge fall to come myself with fall decor and activities. So here’s how you, too, can pretend it’s fall when it’s really still summer.


Nothing tells Mother Nature we’re ready for football Saturdays without heatstroke like a fall wreath on the front door. I can’t bring myself to decorate for Halloween until October 1, because 30 days of my kids asking if it’s Halloween yet is enough. But I can bust out the fall decor and autumn this place I call home up. So I dust off the ceramic pumpkins, hang that yellow leafy wreath, and put the fall kitchen towels out.

Eat All the Food

Let’s face it: when you live in the South, you’re planning the next meal while you’re currently eating the last meal. Food brings us together, and making fall foods makes us feel like we’re still part of the rest of the U.S. as they eat their chili and wear their scarves.

We may literally fall over from heat stroke if we wear a scarf, but we can still delight in the flavors of fall.

Step 1: Buy candy corn. It’ll help, I promise. I like to mix it with popcorn and watch a movie set in the fall, and then I can pretend my climate matches my mood.


Step 2: Try that new pumpkin drink at Starbucks. I know, it’s absurdly expensive. Welcome to living in the South. The new Pumpkin Creme Cold Brew is actually delicious, but make sure you don’t do what I did and try and use a straw. They have a new lid (or maybe just new to me) and even though I basically insist on having straws for cold beverages (because #clumsy), this one is not drinkable with a straw. The physics of tilting the cup combines the perfect balance of coffee and flavored bit at the top to travel to your mouth. It’s delicious.

Step 3: Turn the a/c way down, make a pot of chili, and watch college football. You may trick yourself into believing it’s fall. Your utility bill will thank you- your wallet will not! Ha, I’m kidding, I don’t crank the a/c to trick myself. I do wear my tank and shorts and sit in front of a fan, though, which can be a slippery slope leading to a thermostat war.

Step 4: On the coolest day in the 14 day forecast, put on your fall-colored glasses and bake. Pumpkin snickerdoodles, fresh bread, literally anything with cinnamon will do.


Watch the Fall Things

Movies, college football, YouTube videos of autumn drives, whatever you like. Here are my favorite fall flicks:

  • Beauty and the Beast: The first half of the movie takes place in the fall so it counts.
  • You’ve Got Mail: “Is there anything more beautiful than New York in the Fall? It makes me want to buy school supplies,” is quite possibly one of my favorite movie lines and this is definitely one of my favorite movies. It isn’t fall until I’ve watched it!
  • When Harry Met Sally: The movie cover has a fall foliage background and that’s good enough for me to watch this again.
  • Casper: I know it’s technically more Halloween themed, but it takes place during the fall so it counts.
  • Hocus Pocus: Same- it’s a great fall movie even if it’s also a Halloween movie.
  • Coco: Like I need another excuse to watch this beautiful film. It’s colorful, culturally respectful, and just so well done.
  • Homeward Bound: Since it ends on Thanksgiving it’s essentially entirely set in the fall. Perfect.

So snuggle up with your candy corn popcorn and some apple cider and pretend it feels as much like fall outside as you feel like fall on the inside!

Fall Activities

I know, it’s still hot. So put on your tanks and your flip flops, and go to that pumpkin patch! Or utilize your Dollywood season pass if your a fellow East Tennessean and spend the evening, which is cooler, at Dollywood enjoying the Harvest Festival and the Great Pumpkin LumiNights. We can’t let the weather hold our fall spirit back– and remember, it’ll feel like fall soon! Come mid-October, we can rock long sleeves and scarves with the rest of the nation.

How do you make it feel like fall, even when it’s still sweltering outside?


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