Just admit it. Fall is your favorite. You almost can’t be a Pagan without loving the Autumn season! (It’s not a requirement, but I’m just sayin’.) The summer’s heat is fading, the trees are becoming works of art, and the feelings of comfort and family are all around. Now it’s time to really enjoy the turning of the Wheel of the Year!
Traditionally, in ancient times fruit and vegetables were harvested during the Fall to prepare for the coming Winter months. Locate a nearby orchard, grove, or farm and go a’picking! Blackberries, grapes, and apples are all traditional Fall fruits and all taste delicious!
Another pagan tradition is to bake bread to celebrate the harvest. Leave an extra slice (or a whole loaf) as an offering to your gods and goddesses. Make the bread by traditional kneading method or take your new.
My absolute favorite thing to do during the Fall holidays is feast with the family. The best pagan things to do always involve family, and Fall is for feasting. So bring on the gigantic turkey legs, butternut squash soup, and pumpkin pie! Don’t forget to put a beautiful centerpiece in the middle of the table for Mabon AND American Thanksgiving!
Whether it’s Mabon (the Witches Thanksgiving), Samhain or American Thanksgiving, Fall is the season of harvest, bounty, and gratitude. So spend a few minutes thanking the gods, your ancestors, and your loved ones for all they do for you!
Speaking of giving thanks, don’t forget to celebrate the Autumn Equinox (aka Mabon) this year. Incorporate one or more of these pagan things to do into your Mabon tradition. Fall is a time of celebration!
The celebration continues on October 31st with the Celtic Summer’s End known as Samhain. Whether you trick or treat with your kiddos or take part in a traditional “dumb” supper, let this Samhain be one you don’t forget!
If you have a backyard or garden, leave Fall offerings for the nature spirits. The Summer spirits are about to go into hibernation as the Winter spirits take over. Do this prior to Samhain – in folklore, the nature spirits that roam the earth on Samhain and following are a much more dangerous bunch!
Fall is the Harvest time, including the harvesting of grapes. Adults of age should drink wine in honor of the Harvest and in honor of the Harvest gods and goddesses like Dionysus.
Seems obvious, but as pagans, we forget to get outside and enjoy Mother Nature. And there’s so much to observe and find solace in during the Fall! Is there a chill in the air? Put on a coat and go!
If you saved some of the fruit from your fruit picking harvest, use it to bake a Fall pie. Blackberry and apple pies are a fun treat for a Fall feast! Enchant your apple or blackberry pie by drawing a protective sigil on the bottom of the pie crust. Add some herbs from the garden (which brings us to number 11).
If you’ve spent the Spring and Summer growing herbs and vegetables in your garden, Fall is the time to harvest! While you harvest your crops, take the time to remember your ancestors who did the exact same thing in the Autumns of the past.
Apples are an Autumn fruit and apple cider is a traditional English drink dating back hundreds of years. If you’re not fond of wine, or if you just love apples, try your hand at making traditional apple cider. I warn you – it IS truly a project! Working with apples also reminds us of the Goddess. When you cut into an apple horizontally, the 5-pointed star makes its appearance in the apple-seeds!
When the first leaves and acorns fall, go outside with the kiddos and gather the prettiest ones you can find! Then decorate your altar and home with the colors of Fall.
If you have the time and a little money, take a fall vacation even if just for the weekend. Head up into the mountains or to a retreat in the forest to appreciate the masterpiece Mother Earth provides for us in the Fall. Or go somewhere witchy like Salem, Savannah or New Orleans.
What better way to teach your kids (and remind yourself) to be thankful than to give to others in need? Donate goods to a local soup kitchen or volunteer your time. Pagans care about the earth and its inhabitants.
Think of someone special you haven’t seen in a while. It’s time to pay them a visit! Even better, bring them a spontaneous gift to show them how thankful you are for them. The Fall season brings out the love and friendship in us all.
One of the most important pagan things to do in the Fall is cleanse and re-decorate your altar! Take down your summer decorations, replenish your offering bowls, and add Autumnal decor. Pinecones, acorns, colorful leaves, cornucopia baskets, gourds, and pumpkins are all appropriate for your Autumn altar. Don’t forget to cleanse and consecrate any new items.
Speaking of decorating for Autumn, time to get out the Samhain Halloween decorations! String up twinkly orange and purple lights on your house, add a wreath to the front door, and fill the yard with spooky goblins. Parking witch broomsticks and hanging witch hats on your coat rack is the perfect witchy touch. Or if you prefer a more natural look, add bails of hay, scarecrows, corn husks, and more.
Feeling crafty? One of my favorite fall pagan things to do is to make an autumn wreath. You can go au natural with dried foliage from the garden, or pick up autumn leaves and flowers from your local craft store. Go Halloween creepy and spray paint a wreath black, then add creepy crawlies to it!
Take the whole family on a day trip and get lost in a local corn maze. Often these corn mazes also have other fun activities for the kids including games and rides. Corn itself is symbolic of Fall and the harvest for many ancient cultures, including European and indigenous American. Not to mention, corn mazes can be downright creepy (at least to me).
What person, pagan or not, doesn’t love planning and picking out their Halloween costumes? If you’re feeling extra adventurous, piece together a costume from old clothes and thrift store or make it entirely from scratch! Choose Halloween costumes that represent gods and goddesses, witches, shapeshifters, or things you are trying to attract in the coming year. If you want more money next year, dress in all green and paste dollar signs to your entire body. Want a baby? Wear flowers and dress like the mother goddess to attract fertility! Want fortune? Dress like a queen, etc.
In ancient times, having a bonfire was tradition on the high pagan holy-days. Fire has cleansing, protective qualities and when lit on Samhain ensured a good year ahead. Throw petitions into the fire for the coming year.
Heard of Spring cleaning? Start a tradition of Fall cleaning and prepare your house for the winter months ahead. Clean out any negative vibes leftover from the summer by opening the windows, scrubbing your home top to bottom, and decluttering your sacred space.
Pumpkins. Pumpkins. And more pumpkins. Pagans love pumpkins, because pumpkins remind us of Fall and the harvest. Try making a savory pumpkin soup this Samhain and add some cheese. Make it a family tradition.
One of my favorite pagan things to do in the Fall is to make a scarecrow from old clothes. Involve the whole family and use pieces from the whole family’s wardrobes. The scarecrow will stand watch at your front door, being a temporary Fall guardian of your home.
Fall is the perfect time to burn a crap-ton of candles. My favorites in the all are apple cider and pumpkin. Traditionally, candles were put into windows to help guide the ancestors home on Samhain night. Also – Fall is a great time to stock up on black candles that aren’t normally available year-round. OR consider making your own candles.
All things spooky happen during the Samhain season because the veil between the world of the living and dead is at its thinnest. Why not engage in a little Halloween fun and visit a local haunted house? Whether historically haunted or just pretend, visiting haunted houses in the Fall is quintessential.
Want something really pagan to do this Fall? Bob for apples! This is an ancient pagan custom thought to relate to the Roman goddess Pomona – a goddess of plenty. In old times, single young folks would bob for apples then place the apple under their pillow to dream of their future spouse.
The veil is at its thinnest during the Samhain season, so it is also a great time for divination. Pagans can easily reach through to the other side and get answers from the gods, the ancestors, and nature spirits. Old forms of divination done on Halloween included burying rings in food to see who would marry next, mirror scrying, and fire scrying (among others). Pull out the tarot cards, crystal balls, and runes and do a reading for the coming year!
Remember the carefree feeling of diving into a pile of leaves as a child? Rake the leaves up in your yard and have a leaf pile fight with your family this Fall. Our furry friends, dogs, love jumping in the piles too!
Before the candy companies took over Halloween, people would often make their own Halloween treats to hand out to trick or treaters. While this isn’t necessarily a smart thing to do nowadays because of old urban legends and fears of poisoned apples, make your own Halloween candy with the kids and give out the candy to your family and friends this year for a special treat.
The perfect time to smoke-cleanse your home is in the Fall. Open the windows and let that crisp Autumn air fill the house as you light an herb bundle and chase away the negative nasties.
Along the same lines as visiting a haunted house, go above and beyond and pay for a haunted walking ghost tour. No matter where you live in the United States (and other places in the world), there’s usually at least one local haunted tour to partake in this Halloween season. I shouldn’t have to tell you, the veil is thin so contact with the otherworld is inevitable!
Fall is the best time of year to find scary movies and witchy movies on TV, Netflix, and in the movie theaters. Time to watch witchy movies and TV series like The Craft, Practical Magic, Charmed, American Horror Story: Coven, Witches of East End, and Witches of Eastwick.
Time to blast the best of Stevie Nicks, Florence and the Machine, Chelsea Wolfe, Wadruna, or whatever gets you in the witchy mood! Roll the car windows down and get everyone else in the spirit too.
Winter is coming (a quote for my GOT nerds), but there’s still work to be done in the garden. Cut back overgrown plants and trees and plant your spring bulbs such as tulips, daffodils, snowdrops, and hyacinth. In warmer climates, a fall vegetable garden is a good option to continue the gardening fun until Winter comes.
A natural way to help the wildlife in the cooler months is to make pinecone bird feeders. Gather fallen pinecones with the family and follow the directions here.
The tradition of Jack O’ Lanterns originates in Ireland, but pumpkins weren’t carved there…turnips were! Here in the U.S., we partake in the jack o’ lantern custom by carving pumpkins. There are different theories behind the origins of the Jack O’ Lantern – some say they keep evil spirits away, while others say they lead the dead home. Either way, if you carve a pumpkin you’re partaking in an ages-old Samhain tradition of our ancestors.
Pagans honor their ancestors on Samhain. This Fall season, research your ancestral history. Talk to the elders in your family, build your family tree, start an ancestor scrap album, and/or start an ancestor altar.
In addition to pumpkins, its American tradition to decorate with gourds. Don’t forget there are multi-colored pumpkins including white, green, bright orange, and bumpy-textured (see below). Gourds come in all shapes, sizes, and colors so pick your favorites and decorate the interior and exterior of the house to bring in abundance and warmth.
Clear your head and go outside one evening after dinner. Look around and simply take in the sights and sounds. The beautiful fall colors, the leaves crunching under your feet, the feeling of a Fall breeze in your hair. Appreciate the beauty and splendor of Mother Nature and the Autumnal season. One of the timeless pagan things to do is to just appreciate the elements.
Take the family or significant other on a Fall picnic. Include Autumn fare like candy apples, blackberry pie, butternut squash soup, chicken sandwiches, and hot apple cider in travel mugs.
What could be more pagan than making corn husk dolls? Corn husk dolls are fun to make, not to mention they honor the goddess of the harvest.
If you live in the U.S., once Fall hits you can start planning for Thanksgiving. Find inspirational recipes and traditions on Pinterest. Add some kitchen witchery to your planning and creation of the feast itself!
With the changing of the seasons also comes more rain! Put on your rainboots and coats and jump in puddles like you did as a kid. A cleansing ritual that playfully connects us with the element of water.
The Harvest Moon is typically the first full moon of the Autumn season. Catch it live by propping up some camping chairs in the lawn, bringing out some wine or cider, and gazing up at the night sky.
Indigenous peoples used every part of the pumpkin, including the seeds. Once you’ve cleaned out your pumpkin for your Jack O’ Lantern, save and clean off the seeds. Sprinkle some salt and pepper on them and roast them in the oven. Then enjoy a savory Samhain treat!
Choose a Halloween themed or Witchy themed book to read this Fall season. The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury is fun and educational for older children and adults alike. Or pick up a copy of Familiar Spirits, Book 1 of The Cotton Family Series for a witchy Halloween read sure to enchant and get you in the Samhain mood.
Some haunted houses or pumpkin patches offer hayrides for the family. Hop on and have some fun together! A classic American tradition for Fall.
If you haven’t visited the pumpkin patch yet, be sure to do so this year. Pick out the perfect pumpkin for your Jack o’ Lantern or simply enjoy snapping those timeless Autumn pumpkin patch photos!
Autumn is a liminal time of waning and diminishing. This means rituals and spells for banishing and releasing are powerful when cast at this time. One of my favorite pagan things to do in Fall is burning rituals. I write what I want to rid my life of on a piece of paper, then toss it into the fire.
Similar to corn dollies, try making poppets that are autumn-themed. Little girls particularly love making dolls. Pick up some Autumn or Halloween-themed fabric, ribbon to match, and use things from nature to adorn your poppets. For instance, I’ve used dried passion vine curls as poppet-hair, dried herbs as stuffing, etc. Put your intention into the poppets to make them extra special.
Not only is bobbing for apples a fun activity, it’s traditional and dates back centuries. You can even turn it into a family event WITH a hint of divination. Learn more about bobbing for apples here.
There’s a crisp hint of magic in the air. And a sense of warmth and …September 21, 2023