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Fun with the Family with Julie Lavender: Pick a pumpkin and celebrate the fall season
Julie Lavender web
Julie Lavender

If Hurricane Irma didn’t strip the hardwoods in your front yard bare, be sure to keep your eye on the leaves and watch for the brilliant autumn shades that are sure to appear this month. Search the woods for fall’s glorious shades of amber, peach, cardinal, crimson and gold, and celebrate everything the season brings: football frenzies, fall festivals, costumed kids and candy corn. Add some of these seasonal holidays, too, to your autumn days or make up a few of your own.          

National Newspaper Week — This year’s celebration, held annually the first full week in October, is fittingly titled: “Real Newspapers…Real News!” With all the fake facts and ridiculous ramblings going on in print today, a celebration of real news is worthy of festivities indeed! Talk about the value of honest reporting, freedom of speech, fact-checking, journalistic integrity and the plethora of ‘news’ available these days via social media that may or may not be accurate and truthful. Then read the newspaper together as a family, from front to back. Talk about local news, national news and international news. Read the comics, solve problems with Abby, pick a favorite sports team and look for an occasional typographical error. Hey — it happens! With that many words and letters and typesetting adventures, it’s bound to happen sometime. For additional newspaper fun, why not create a family newspaper? Encourage each person to contribute an exciting news event, pertaining to a family member, for inclusion in the family paper.  

Name Your Car Day — After all, every car needs a name, right? When you’ve decided on a creative moniker for the automobile, gather buckets of water, suds and cloths and give the ole jalopy and good bath to rid of those pesky love-bugs that can’t seem to stay off the highways. Scrub and scrub and then vacuum the inside. Make up pretend stories while you work about what your named-vehicle does at night while you’re sleeping, as it sneaks out of the garage and heads out for adventures of its own. 

Pumpkin Day — Purchase a box of pie crust sheets in the refrigerated section of the grocery store to make a tasty holiday treat. Lightly grease a baking sheet and unroll one of the pie crusts from the package. Lay the circular crust on the baking sheet. Cut two eyes and a mouth-shape out of the dough to resemble a jack-o-lantern, if desired. Or, use strips from the second crust included in the package to twist into a pumpkin stem to attach to the top. Add thin strips, curved, in place on the crust to contour and give the pumpkin a three-dimensional effect. Melt two tablespoons of butter and brush carefully onto the ‘pumpkin.’ Decorate the pie crust with orange and green candy sprinkles, found on the baking aisle of the grocery store. Bake in a 375 degree oven until lightly browned. When cooled, snack on the pie crust pumpkin. 

National Knock-Knock Jokes Day — Check out a book of knock-knock jokes from the library and have a rip-roaring night of laughter. Let each person take turns asking a page of jokes to other family members. Keep passing the book around until everyone gets a turn. Finish the book in one sitting, or share a few jokes each night at the dinner table. Try your hand at making up a few knock-knock jokes. It’s not as easy to be successful as it would seem!     

National Reptile Awareness Day — Do you know the distinguishing characteristics of a reptile? Most notably, reptiles are cold-blooded vertebrates that have scales. Take a walk and search for reptiles. Surprisingly, there are more than eight thousand species of reptiles found on the planet — surely you can find a couple while you’re hiking. Look for lizards or snakes or turtles. Most likely, you won’t spot alligators, crocodiles, caimans or tuataras, but it would certainly be fun to have an online scavenger hunt once the walk is over to see just what those reptiles look like!   

   Employ all five senses to take in the beauty of autumn. Breathe in the smells of freshly-mowed fields and enjoy the aroma of funnel cakes at the fair. Taste and enjoy pumpkin pie and sweet potato casserole. Listen for the sound of Canada geese overhead. Feel the crunching of leaves under your feet when they let loose and fall from the trees. And take in the beauty of an autumn sunset or a patch of pumpkins. Celebrate October with those you love and create lasting autumn memories.   


Statesboro native Julie Bland Lavender is married to David Lavender and enjoys celebrating with children Jeremy, Jenifer, Jeb Daniel and Jessica. 

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