It’s that time of year again! Long, hot days and warm, evening breezes are giving way to early, pink-sky sunsets and crisp, cool air. Fall in Michigan is upon us, one of the most beautiful and bountiful times of the year. Even the most seasoned and devoted summer lovers would be hard pressed to deny the fact that a Detroit fall is pretty spectacular. Mother Nature is on complete display, showcasing her beauty: the changing leaves are colorful and diverse; the corn, pumpkins, squash and apples are ripe and plentiful; the hardy mums, goldenrod, and chrysanthemum are popping with color. Let’s take advantage of all that this wonderful season has to offer! Grab a mug of warm cider, get cozy under a soft blanket and read on to discover oodles of things to do, see, make, eat and enjoy in + around Detroit this glorious season!
Head to the Detroit Zoo for the Following Events:
- Zoo Boo: come and walk the zoo while trick-or-treating with your wee ones!
- Zoo Brew: Adult fun featuring unique beers from select Michigan craft breweries, live music, exclusive access to the Zoo’s award-winning habitats until twilight and zookeeper talks.
- Grab a hot chocolate and kick off the winter holidays with Wild Lights!
Take a trip to Greenfield Village/The Henry Ford:
- Hallowe’en In Greenfield Village
- Sensory Friendly Saturday
- Design & Test a K’NEX car
- Depot Town: the youngest guests can use their creativity to build with large blocks
- Macy’s 2nd Monday, Loads of pre-naptime fun for the kiddos!
- September 12th – Back to School
- October 10th – Fall Harvest
Experience Halloween Ghosts & Goodies at Crossroads Village & Huckleberry Railroad, featuring trick-or-treating, magic shows & a ride on the famous Huckleberry Ghost Train Express!
Have you been to Upland Hills Farm? It’s a DMB favorite! Check out the Farm’s awesome fall events:
- Fall Harvest Festival, Saturdays & Sundays in October
- Harvest Moon Hayrides, a family friendly non-haunted treat each Friday & Saturday in October
Check out the Wine & Harvest Festival at Spicer Orchards, or stop in anytime to take a hayride, pick some apples, seasonal fruit or pumpkins, feed the animals & enjoy the HUGE playground!
Visit Traverse City for the Harvest Stompede
Visit your local area Cider Mill or Apple Orchard! Some great spots to visit include:
- Franklin Cider Mill
- Blake Farms
- Yates Cider Mill
- Diehl’s Orchard & Cider Mill
- Long Family Orchard
- Paint Creek Cider Mill
- Wiard’s Orchard
Host a family-friendly party to watch the annual Michigan State v. Michigan game on October 29th
Take a weekend trip west to Crane Orchards 20-acre corn maze; kids 5 and under are free!
Take a day trip to Goodells County Park for the BlueChiliGrass Festival, featuring a chili cook-off & live music for all ages
Head to Canterbury Village for these exciting events!
- Kids Fest: September 10th – 11th
- Oktoberfest: September 23rd-24th
- Trick or Treating: October 29th
Don’t miss the 85th annual Romeo Peach Festival! DMB’s own Peach Queen Guide won’t steer you astray!
Participate in a time-honored Detroit Tradition: America’s Thanksgiving Day Parade!
Check out your Community’s guide for more, local family fun!
Good Eats & Warm Treats
Of course, there’s the infamous, Starbucks PSL (Pumpkin Spice Latte, in case you haven’t been initiated!)…..but how about supporting your local coffee shop & checking out what the barista is brewing up this season?
Host an Adult-Only Halloween Euchre Party – costumes required! – and serve Leelanau Cellar’s Witches Brew, or local area apple cider (add a little something extra if you’d like!); Invite guests to bring a fall-themed dish to share, like Spider Web Bean Dip. Yum!
Bake Pumpkin Brownie Muffins with your kids. This yummy & surprisingly healthy treat is super easy & such fun to whip up with your little ones!
Make Pumpkin Stew. Serve in a pumpkin that you & your kiddos pick out together at a local pumpkin patch.
S’mores aren’t just a summer food! Cooler fall evenings are prime for campfires! Play a game of Marshmallow Fling while you’re at it.
Make a pot full of White Chicken Chili
Make Cathy’s Hot Cider Drink – not only will it taste yummy, but your home will smell amazing!
(4 cups apple cider, 2 cups cranberry juice, 32 oz. apricot nectar, 1 cup OJ, 3/4 cup sugar, 2, 3″ cinnamon sticks, 1 peeled orange; mix liquids & sugar in crock pot on “low” until dissolved, add the remaining ingredients, cook on “low” for 4-6 hours, stirring occasionally)
Whip up a batch of Spiced Pecans
Eat candy corn
Bake this easy and elegant Pressed-Crust Pear Tart, always a show stopper!
It’s squash season! Try a tasty recipe like Acorn Squash with Kale & Sausage
Roast the pumpkin seeds from your jack-o-lanterns
Bake a pumpkin or sweet potato pie with your kids
Switch it up and make a tasty pumpkin cheesecake!
Have a fast and easy dinner before heading out to trick-or-treat with these festive mummy dogs!
Make snack time spooky with tangerine pumpkins and banana ghosts!
Make homemade apple sauce from your local area harvest
Enjoy a Pumpkin, Apple or any other flavor of pie from Achatz Handmade Pies, a Metro-Detroit staple!
SISTER PIE! Have you been? You must go. Their Instagram feed alone makes our mouths water!
Make your own stuffing, and stuff your Thanksgiving bird together
Check out a new, local restaurant or venture out and find a food truck
Culture & Education
Head to Royal Oak for the Arts, Beats & Eats festival for art, food & entertainment, September 2nd-5th
Experience the 37th annual Detroit Jazz Festival, spanning the riverfront to Campus Martius Park, September 2nd-5th
Take the family to the Art & Apples Festival in Rochester, featuring the Kids Art Zone, September 9th-11th
Enjoy traditional American farm-to-table cooking food & demonstrations with Fall Flavor Weekends at The Henry Ford, September 24th-25th, October 1st-2nd
Travel back in time to the 16th century at the annual Michigan Renaissance Festival
See a performance at The Fox Theater! Fall highlights include:
- The Octonauts
- PAW Patrol Live!
- Elf! The Musical
- Cirque Dreams Holidaze
- Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer: The Musical
Buy your tickets for the annual “A Christmas Carol” production at Meadowbrook Theatre
Learn all about “Superheroes of the Night” at the Great Lakes Bat Festival, an annual family-friendly event at Cranbrook Institute of Science
Head to the DIA for an educational Puppet Performance suitable for families with children 5 & over, celebrating the history and tradition of Mexico.
Create a Fall Sensory Bin to encourage exploration of the senses with your preschooler!
Turn the great outdoors into a classroom by going on a nature scavenger hunt. This activity can be adapted for all ages!
Take an Alphabet, Number & Shape Hike
Go to your local library story-time
Sing Five Little Pumpkins Sitting on a Gate with your preschooler to encourage rhyming, counting & silly, singing fun!
Bird watch with this State of Michigan guide.
Create & Craft
Spray paint plastic cauldrons from the dollar store for an instant, fall upgrade for your potted plants
Make this adorable Terra Cotta Flower Pot Witch
Take the leaves from a nature walk and create these beautiful & budget friendly luminaries
Create, fill & send a Boo Box to celebrate the season with faraway family and friends
Spray a bag of fall gourds with light, glittery spray paint. Place in a clear glass vase or bowl for an easy, inexpensive & adorable table centerpiece that will last from Halloween through Thanksgiving
Carve a pumpkin as a family!
Decorate mini pumpkins with glitter, paint and googly eyes
Create your own budget-friendly & easy scare crow
Make Hand-Print Turkeys
Make footprint ghosts — perfect for celebrating baby’s first Halloween!
Gather some leaves and make leaf rubbings, a perfect use for all of those broken crayons!
Put up Halloween & Thanksgiving decorations with your kiddos!
Whip up a batch of pumpkin spice playdough
Count your blessings with thankful turkeys
Out & About
Head to the Michigan State Fair for loads of family fun, celebrating all things Michigan
Travel Up North to see the Fall Colors in all of their glory: Check out the Fall Colors Report for peak areas & times
Shop your local school or church craft fair for unique and adorable fall & holiday decor!
Take your family to cheer on your local high school team!
Pack a picnic and head out to a local park before the colder weather arrives
Ride the Train or Carousel at the Detroit Zoo
Get Moving! Sports & Recreation
Play a game of Turkey Chase with your little ones!
Put together a game of Witch Broom Soccer
Invite family & friends to join in a friendly game of Flag Football (for you sticklers, here are the official rules!)
Read the hilarious & irreverent “32 Rules of Thanksgiving Touch Football” article, and plan a game of your own with family or friends on Turkey Day!
Take a walk/jog at your favorite park or MetroPark. We have so many beautiful spots!
Take your family to tailgate and cheer on the Lions, Spartans, Wolverines, Chippewas, Broncos, or Eagles. Most college campuses feature family-friendly/alcohol free tailgating zone
Set up an outdoor obstacle course
Organize a Mummy Wrap relay race
Earn an extra helping of stuffing by burning off calories running in the Turkey Trot!
Rake a big pile of leaves with your kiddos & make a game of jumping into them!
Get your girlfriends together & participate in the Run4Wine Run/Walk, benefiting the Old Newsboys of Flint, whose motto is “Let No Child Be Forgotten”
Go Ice Skating at Campus Martius Park when the temperature drops (likely sooner than later this year, according to rumor!)
Community Giving & Fellowship
Volunteer as a family for Blessings in a Backpack
Donate gently used coats, hats scarves & mittens to a local area Coat Drive
Check out Meet Your Best Friend at the Zoo, sponsored by the Michigan Humane Society
Take your pooch to Paws in the Park in Royal Oak
Host a food drive with your play group, benefiting a local area food bank
Share a seasonal treat with your neighbor
Consider local area farms when ordering your Thanksgiving Turkey
Invite friends, family & neighbors over for Crock-pot & College Football Saturday
Gather friends & family to cheer on the Detroit Lions each Sunday
Work with neighbors to arrange a Halloween block party
Celebrate “Friendsgiving” a week or two before Turkey Day; Invite families to bring a side-dish of their choice, play games, and celebrate the holiday without all of the stress!
Have a bake sale and donate the profits to a shelter or soup kitchen providing Thanksgiving dinner
Take a batch of fall-themed cookies to your local fire station
Have kids go through toys and have a garage sale; use profits to buy toys for a holiday toy drive!
Host a Halloween Pajama Play-date & make these adorable Apple Monsters
Family Fun at Home
Pick out your Halloween costumes together…..and if you’re super crafty, make your own costume!
Set up a pumpkin bowling alley
Have a family Pizza Relay Race ; as an added bonus, you’ll make your dinner while playing!
“Boo” your neighbors: put a Halloween-themed treat bucket together (your local dollar store will have a ton of options for goodies!), place it on your neighbor’s porch, ring the doorbell & run away! Include a note that says “You’ve Been Boo-ed! Pass it On!”
Have a Camp Out right in your own backyard…..or in your family room, depending on our unpredictable, Michigan weather! Make a sleeping bag obstacle course.
Make Halloween Popcorn Treats, or your own version of a Halloween popcorn mix: think fresh popped corn topped with candycorn, m&ms and melted, drizzled chocolate….YUM!
Have a movie night at home! Bring out the sleeping bags and blankets, snacks, and make it a family-night-in with It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown, or Hocus Pocus.
Make a blanket fort with your little ones
Enjoy Thanksgiving morning at home, watching the Thanksgiving Day Parade in your PJs. Vote for your favorite float or performers!
Have a family game or puzzle night!
Read a classic Halloween book together like Five Little Pumpkins or The Berenstain Bears and the Great Pumpkin
What fall events do you plan to enjoy this season with your family and friends?
Please, offer some further suggestions for our list!