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The Difference Between Autumn and Fall

7 ways to make the most of this leaf-falling season

By News

Illustration by Bei Lin

Fall and Autumn are two different things. They’re synonyms, of course, but the words have a distinct difference.

Fall is the season between summer and winter. It is marked by the passing of time from Sept. 23 to Dec. 21.

Autumn is when fruits and crops become ready to eat. It’s when leaves turn bright colors and cascade from the trees. It’s for apples and pumpkins, cinnamon, and hot drinks. It’s being unreasonably excited for Halloween while dreading Thanksgiving, and trying to remember how to style pants after wearing shorts for three months.

Fall is a season, marked by changing weather patterns and daylight hours resulting from the earth’s position with the sun. Autumn is a crisp time of year filled with traditions and cliches that make one a little bit more excited about life.

Here are seven ways to make your fall season feel a little more like autumn.

Go for a Walk

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While arguably the most cliche option, walking among fall leaves presents an excellent opportunity to kill two birds with one stone. Not only do you get to enjoy the autumn color, but you also are able to enjoy the last of winter coat-less weather. 

In fact, a third bird can be killed if one considers that walking is exercise! Thus, by going for a simple walk, you’re not only being present and enjoying your surroundings, but you’re also getting in some meaningful movement.

Enjoy a Hot Drink

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I grew up in the Midwest, so to me, the end of summer coincides with the rise of the hot drink. There’s an incredible variety of options; you’re bound to like something! My favorite is hot chocolate, but various coffees and teas are also very popular. Technically even soup counts if you put it in a mug! 

However, the effort put in can vary widely. My hot chocolate is just a packet mix with water, but even coffee can become absurdly complicated if you get involved in the process. In the end, however, you’ll have a beverage you can truly relish—at least until it gets cold.

Garden plans for next spring

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Do you enjoy plants? Get a head start on next year’s garden by planning for seeds now! Take time to plan placement strategically, and observe your living space’s sunlight patterns for the best yield.

Even if you have a brown thumb, planning can still be fun! If you had the time or skill to maintain a garden, what would it look like? If that doesn’t sound entertaining, you could always go out and buy some autumn flowers. Chrysanthemums are popular and low maintenance, or you could go with Sunflowers and make a statement vase. 

Holiday Shopping

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While you’re planning things, you should probably get on holiday shopping. Whether you celebrate Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Dongzhi, or even Saturnalia this early winter, presents are always called for. They don’t always have to be big and thoughtful either! Sometimes the gift we need is a 5-cent sticker with a dopey cat on it. Nothing else says ‘I’m thinking of you’ quite as well.

Apple picking

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A classic American Midwest Tradition. It’s an excellent day trip option, as one farm also often provides halloween pumpkins, sweets, and maybe even a corn maze! Apple-picking season ends in late October, so make sure to get to the trees while they’re still bearing fruit and fun! 

Watch a Scary Movie

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Fall is the season of Halloween, and that means it’s spooky movie season! Gather ‘round to watch some old classics like Coraline, Death Note, or The Shining. Or maybe indulge in some contemporary horror with Get Out or As Above So Below. Don’t forget popcorn! Happy watching!


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Thanksgiving is a controversial holiday. It celebrates and glorifies colonization of American Indian peoples. While many people currently use the holiday to come close with family and express gratitude, others condemn the holiday altogether because of the erasure of Indigenous history it perpetuates.

I propose an alternative: Friendsgiving. The creation of a new holiday that is based around celebrating relationships and expressing gratitude for those you hold dear. I’m far from the first to have the idea, but it nonetheless remains another option outside of the colonial holiday. 

Gather your friends and make everyone bring a dish, potluck style. Extra points for planning beforehand who brings what, but it isn’t necessary. 

Celebrate the holiday by feeling grateful for the family you’ve chosen, while telling history as it actually happened.

🍁Conclusion 🍁

The difference between autumn and fall is pedantic. It’s utterly superfluous! Yet taking time to be grateful for what we have and the conditions we are surrounded with is a key part of being a fulfilled person. Romanticize your life! Take a minute to enjoy the season, romanticization or not. Enjoy.

One Response to The Difference Between Autumn and Fall

  1. Julie Klapak says:

    Love the 5-leaf rating system!

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