A complete fall activities guide — for a college budget

UD student, Victoria Rivera, shares her ideas for activities to do and events to attend this fall. Photo courtesy of Maddy Bartsche.

Victoria Rivera | Contributing Writer 

Pumpkin spice season is finally here and we couldn’t be more excited. As a Puerto Rican, we don’t really experience a fall season because it feels like summer year-round. So, as a UD student I will get to experience my first real fall season. I have collected a list of activities for you to do this fall season. As college students we are basically broke, but there are many options for activities that are free here in Dayton. I can guarantee that these are opportunities and experiences that you will not want to miss out on and even better they won’t hurt your bank account. 

Here’s a list of ideas to really soak in the fall experience all season long:
  1. Have a movie night

Movie nights sound “cliché” but it is definitely a must during the fall season.  For each movie genre there are many movies that are great for movie nights with friends, family or for date nights with your partner. Here are some recommendations by genre:

Horror or thriller:

Knives Out

The Strangers Prey at Night 


Fantastic Mr. Fox

The Edge of Seventeen


Falling Inn Love

When Harry Met Sally

Family & Children:



  1. Go on a bike ride

On this beautiful campus we have many bike stations provided by a company called Link. As a UD student you can receive discounts and ride all around the city of Dayton. Just imagine the fall breeze and leaves falling while you ride around. I don’t know about you but I can’t wait to try this out when the time comes. 

  1. Carve a pumpkin

Carving a pumpkin is one of the top items on my fall bucket list. There are several places to pick out your own pumpkin in Dayton, including Katie’s Pumpkin Barn, Tom’s Maze and Pumpkin Farm and Young’s Jersey Dairy. After picking pumpkins out with some friends or family you could carve whatever your heart desires, which make great fall décor.  Here is a link for how to carve a pumpkin: https://www.tasteofhome.com/article/how-to-carve-a-pumpkin/.

  1. Have a fall photoshoot

This might sound corny as well, but each and every Instagram feed should have at least one fall related post. There are so many spots on campus that will look amazing when the leaves start to fall and you might as well take advantage of it. So, grab your friends and do a photoshoot with them. 

  1. Go to a farmers’ market

I have never gone to a farmers’ market because they don’t really exist back at home, but here in Dayton there are plenty. You don’t need to buy anything but if you ever want to support local farmers and workers then this is definitely the right place to go. Or if you are like me, someone who has never gone, then you should go because it is a completely new experience. Here is a list of just some of the farmer’s markets nearby: 

  1. 2nd Street Market
  2. Shiloh Farmers’ Market
  3. Brentlinger’s Farm Market
  4. Oakwood Farmers Market
  5. This Old Farmer’s Market
  6. Windmill Farm Market
If you want to plan ahead, here are some upcoming fall activities you can attend:
  1. Dayton Fall Festival

At the Dayton Fall Festival, there is a wide variety of food trucks as well as a vast amount of activities like rock climbing, crafts and face painting. This is definitely a great way to start the fall season right here in Dayton; And if you have never experienced a fall festival before then this is your opportunity to have fun in a different and new setting. 

Location: 8911 Yankee St. Centerville

When: September 25, 2021

Hours: 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Cost: Free event

For more information click here.

  1. Visit the Land of Illusion’s Haunted Scream Park

If you like getting your scare on or want to at least try to go to say you did it, then visit this haunted park. If you are too broke to go to the Universal Studios’ Halloween Horror Nights, then this is the next best thing. Even better, it is right here in Dayton. This very unique haunted house is like no other because it has a huge variety of haunting attractions. So, for all my horror fans here in the University of Dayton, go have a ‘scaretastic’ experience.  

Location: 8762 Thomas Road, Middletown

When: Starts September 10, 2021

Hours: 7 p.m. to 1 a.m.

Cost: Tickets range from $50+ depending on what type of package you want 

For more information go to landofillusion.com.

  1. Pick your own pumpkins at Young’s Dairy

Like I said before, carving pumpkins is a must when it comes to the fall bucket list and here is a place where you can go and pick out your own. This is an experience like no other and that is why you should go and experience it for yourself. I can’t wait to go with my friends and have an amazing time while picking out my very own pumpkin for the first time in my life. 

Location: 6880 Springfield-Xenia Road, Yellow Springs

When: September 18 to October 31

Hours: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Cost: The cost per pumpkin is $9.50

For more information go to https://youngsdairy.com/pick-your-own-pumpkins.

  1. Crossroads’ Church Fall Community Day

The Crossroads Church is hosting an event in the Lucas Brothers Farm in which there will be free s’mores and hotdogs as well as bonfires and live music. This is a great way to engage with the Dayton community in a fun way. Take your friends, family or partner and I can guarantee you that this will be a day that you will cherish forever. 

Location: 3269 Ferry Road, Bellbrook

When: September 24, 2021

Hours: 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Cost: Free event

For more information go to https://www.crossroads.net/dayton.

  1. Germantown Pretzel Festival

The Pretzel Festival is a very unique experience in the beautiful and historic Germantown. Make sure to make it to the pretzel contest where the best pretzel wins. The competition will be judged by local celebrities as well! This is a fall activity that is very different from the rest but looks extremely fun. So, if you have the time to go and love pretzels, then this is a must for you. 

Location: 190 W Warren St., Germantown

When: Sept. 25 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. & Sept. 26 from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Cost: Free event

For more information go to http://pretzelfestival.com/live/.

  1. Haunted Halloween Drive-Thru

The Haunted Halloween Drive-Thru is another way to get your scare on but within the comfort of you or your friend’s car. You get to drive through the George Rogers Clark Park and enjoy some family-friendly Halloween scenes along the way. If haunted houses are not your thing then this drive-thru is for you. You can dress up and bring your own Halloween treats for you to enjoy along the way.

Location: 930 South Tecumseh Rd, Springfield

When: Oct. 15 from 7:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. & Oct.16 from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Cost: $15 per car

For more information check out their Facebook page.

  1. Attend Tom’s Maze

Corn mazes are so trendy when it comes to the fall season and the pictures you can take while you are there are not so bad either. This is an 8-acre puzzle game featuring three miles of paths for you to explore. Your challenge will be to find 12 puzzle pieces located throughout the Maze at roadside mailboxes. This is a very fun experience that you could enjoy with family or friends. 

Location: 4881 Germantown-Liberty Road, Germantown

When: Thursday & Sunday from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m., Friday & Saturday from 12 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Cost: General admission $10

For more information visit https://tomsmaze.com.

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