7 Ways to Fun Up Fall
7 Ways to Fun Up Fall

7 Ways to Fun Up Fall

We love that after a few years on hiatus, annual events and gatherings have returned. And with the weather still mild-ish and sunny-ish as summer turns to fall, the good times are far from over.

That’s why we’ve compiled a list of seven activities to make your fall the most fun it can possibly be. Got a fall bucket list? Add a few of these to it!

1. The Activity: Picking the Perfect Pumpkin

Maybe it’s a pumpkin spice-flavored cliché, but fall doesn’t feel like fall until we’ve taken that annual trip to the pumpkin patch. Your Halloween jack-o’-lantern or November harvest centerpiece is just a little more special when you scrape the mud off of it yourself.

The shoes to wear: Like we mentioned, there will be mud. The Targhee III Slip-On is a casual clog-like shoe that’s easy to wipe clean (whether they’re covered in mud or pumpkin guts and goop).

Cool fall festival alert: If you prefer your gourds in motion, you’ll dig a Pumpkin Chunkin’ fest, where folks gather to hurl pumpkins with launching devices like trebuchets and catapults. Stay out of the flight path!

2. The Activity: Running From Zombies at a Haunted Corn Maze

For those brave enough to face it, a haunted house or corn maze can really get the old blood pumping! Stay one step ahead of ghouls, goblins, and ghastly creatures and (hopefully) live to tell the tale. Shhh… did you hear that?

The shoes to wear: The last thing you want is for your jump-scare to turn into a jump-and-slip-and-fall-scare. Better wear some shoes with good, grippy tread. The Zionic waterproof hiking shoe has nimble, luggy traction whether you’re scrambling up a hill or scrambling away in terror. (Supportive and lightweight, they’re also great shoes if you happen to be working a haunted house, corn maze, or hayride. After all, you want to be comfortable when you’re spending all day on your feet, carrying a heavy chainsaw.)

Cool fall festival alert: In Lexington, Kentucky, there’s an annual Thriller Parade that anyone can join. Just show up dressed up as a zombie and participate in the world’s largest group Thriller dance.

3. The Activity: U-Picking Fall Produce

Apples and pears, absolutely! But there’s also corn, squash, and Brussels sprouts to be had in the fall. Check your local listings and see what u-pick produce is available at a farm in your neck of the woods. Here in the PNW, hazelnuts are ready, and early autumn is also a prime time for blackberries. (Cobbler, here we come.)

The shoes to wear: If we’re climbing ladders to reach for apples and pears, we want something with a secure fit and some ankle support. NXIS EVO waterproof hikers are lightweight but supportive, with a KonnectFit heel-capture system for a locked-in feel.

Cool fall festival alert: If it’s fruit you’re after, look no further than Warren, Wisconsin’s Cranberry Festival. This celebration of the underappreciated berry includes a cranberry-themed parade, arts and crafts, and walking tours of the cranberry marshes. Cranberries: they’re not just for Thanksgiving anymore.

4. The Activity: Hitting the Water for a Fall Paddle

Water activities might seem like they go hand-in-hand with summer, but autumn can also be a lovely time to get out on the lake or river. Enjoy the cooler temps and the changing foliage as you kayak or SUP the day away.

The shoes to wear: Something water-friendly, of course. We recommend the Newport H2 or lower-profile Clearwater CNX sandal. They're our perennially popular toe-protecting hybrid sandals that works in and out of the water (so you can swing by your favorite sandwich shop on the way home). 

Cool fall festival alert: Here at the KEEN HQ in Portland, OR, we love to turn out for the annual witch paddle. At this spooky Halloween-adjacent event, hundreds of paddleboarders pour into the Willamette River dressed in their pointiest hats and witchiest cloaks (and water sandals, of course).

When we're not paddling with broomsticks for the witch paddle, we paddle with trash picker-uppers and help clean up waterways around the city. Feel-good fun!

5. The Activity: Raising a Glass at Oktoberfest

It’s called Oktoberfest, but it’s not always in October. The original Oktoberfest is a two-week celebration in Munich, Germany, that actually starts in late September; in the US, you’ll see Oktoberfests scheduled as late as November. Whenever you celebrate it, this epic beer fest is all about eating, drinking, and being merry, possibly while wearing dirndls and lederhosen. Say “Prost!” (“cheers!”)

The shoes to wear: Definitely something that can take a little moisture — with all those beer steins sloshing back and forth, you might find yourself in the splash zone. The Targhee II Chelsea boot has a durable leather upper that can handle some spilled suds — and we think it would look pretty fetching with lederhosen.

6. The Activity: Attending (or Hosting) a Chili Cook-Off

Sure, you can have a chili cook-off any time of year, but crisp fall weather makes a hearty, warming bowl of chili (and a side of cornbread) sound extra tasty. Find an event in your region, or invite your friends and neighbors to your own backyard chili cook-off, complete with a panel of judges and prizes for the winning recipes.

The shoes to wear: For cooking chili at home and hanging out in the yard, it’s best to keep it casual and comfy; a pair of Howser slides would look just right with your “Kiss the Cook” apron.

Cool fall festival alert: Get some capsaicin-sprinkled inspiration from the Terlingua International Chili Championship, which takes place each November in Terlingua, Texas. It’s three solid days of competitors squaring off in eight categories, including chili, buffalo wings, and salsa. (We’re packing our antacids.)

7. The Activity: Catching a Funky Regional Festival

This fall, you’ll find festivals across the country devoted to the bizarre and quirky: from tarantulas and wooly worms to coffin races and chihuahua beauty pageants. Weird stuff is definitely out there; you just gotta go find it. See if you’re close to any of the events we mentioned throughout this article — or, better yet, seek out your own funky fest. The weirder, the better!

The right shoe to wear: We say if you’re gonna be weird, be weird. The UNEEK sneaker is unapologetically strange and remarkably comfy at the same time. We love wearing ‘em with socks in the fall.

Hopefully these ideas will help spark your excitement to make some autumn recreational plans. Remember: there’s no wrong way to have fun this fall. Whatever you get up to, if you’re having a good time, we support you.

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