Fall’s arrival means a whole lot of amazing stuff. There’s the reintroduction of flannel to your wardrobe, the much-needed coziness of warm blankets and the joyous welcome of pumpkin spice, all of it even more comforting than the next thing. For college kids, these yearly signs of autumn are the norm, each of them accessible and easy. You can grab a flannel from a thrift store, turn your room or dorm into the warmest cave on Earth and use all of those meal swipes on coffee. But along with fall’s return comes something a little more complicated: cuffing season.
Oh, God. It hurts to say. As the weather gets colder, the pairings get hotter and basically everyone on campus is attempting to get cuffed and a find a new bae. Everywhere you look there are colorful leaves, combat boots and people holding hands, staring into each other’s eyes. Dating in college can be rough enough, but when adding the pressures of this whole mating season alongside the stresses of an empty bank account, it’s all just too damn much.
How can you have fun with someone new without spending $60 on a nice dinner? Here are a few affordable and unique ideas for fall dates.
1. Go apple picking.
Is there anything more fall-appropriate than heading to a quaint apple farm, picking them straight from the tree and grabbing some fun snacks? You can bond and have fun together while relaxing in a more rural, natural environment.
2. Get messy with pumpkin carving.
Yes, pumpkin carving can be kind of dangerous, but you’ve gotta risk it all to find love. Just kidding. Be careful. If you don’t want to show off your stabbing skills on the first date (cheaters beware), you can always splurge a little more on the many modified and user-friendly versions of this autumn tradition.
3. Try making it through a scary movie marathon.
If you’ve got access to Netflix and/or Hulu, consider all systems a go on your movie marathon. Grab some popcorn and blankets and you’re all set. There are tons of options when it comes to scary movies so you can go from mild to gory just depending on you and your S/O’s preference.
4. Admire the leaves on a hike.
Hiking is absolutely free and it’s a great bonding experience. You can research and choose different levels of difficulty for your hikes depending on your skills and how much effort you want to be exerting. Looking to get to know someone? Try something easy. Hoping to bond with your long-time abe? Step it up.
5. Bake your fave seasonal recipes.
Because who doesn’t love a good treat? You can go full-on rom-com and end up having a flour fight before sharing a romantic embrace… or you could devour a sleeve of those classic, soft, perfect cookies… or you could skip the baking and eat the dough straight out of the damn tin. No judgment here.
6. Make it through a corn maze.
This is SUCH a bonding experience. Before there were escape rooms and haunted houses, there were corn mazes. You can check out local options or travel a bit more elaborate attractions. If you want to learn a lot about someone’s personality, just see how they fare when they’re confused in a pile of corn.
7. Warm up with a bonfire.
Bonfires are such a cozy fall tradition and the best coping mechanism for the dropping temperatures. You can make smores, rock your fave flannel and converse over a fire while looking at the stars, which all make for the beginning of a cheesy love story.