Well, it’s officially fall! Even if you don’t live in a place where the weather has made that fact painfully apparent, you can always feel a shift this time of year. Days get shorter, pumpkin spice lattes come out of hibernation at Starbucks, and wild, summer flings are replaced with a love life that is a bit calmer and much, much cuddlier. (How else are we supposed to keep warm?) We think autumn is the perfect time of year to, ahem, fall in love, but it can be tough to come up with fresh dating ideas. If you’ve seen one list of fall dates, you’ve seen them all. It’s like the same 10 ideas have been circulating for the last 100 years. Sure, the standard apple picking, haunted houses and foliage walks can be fun (if your allergies are under control or you enjoy being scared into a near-heart attack), but they’re so played out that we’d be loathe to let you suffer through another dating season filled with cliche ideas. After the jump, some alternatives to the autumn dates you’ve already been there and done.
Instead of: Camping
Try: Boot shopping
Screw the great outdoors (our backs hurt just thinking of sleeping on the ground) and brave the mall instead! Split a Cinnabon and go on a mission to score some new fall footwear for you and lover. Force each other to try on those unisex American flag-printed cowboy boots on the clearance rack. Realize you must own them. If you’re feeling really lazy, you can shop online from the comfort of your couch while sipping apple cider that you did or didn’t make yourself. We won’t judge you if you put apple juice in the microwave.
Instead of: Going apple picking
Try: Going to your local farmer’s market
Wander around to different vendors, admire the sensual shapes of the butternut squash, and buy some fresh produce to cook a meal together. Way sexier than stepping on a wasp at the orchard and then getting an apple-induced stomach ache. How many damn apples can you really eat?
Instead of: A hay ride
Try: A cultural event
Hay rides are nice for people who want to break out in hives on a date. For the rest of us, we prefer to be somewhere less itchy. Try scoring some tickets for classical music or a storytelling event, and go on an emotional ride without any hay at all.
Instead of: Watching football
Try: Getting physical
Ami is making an effort to watch football for her dude, but it’s not really a date now is it? Instead of watching or going to a sporting event, why not do something physical like take a yoga class or a jog through the park together followed by a sweaty brunch. Hey, sweat can be romantic!
Instead of: A haunted house
Try: Doing something that actually scares you
Being screamed at by frustrated theater majors in zombie outfits gets old, quick. A better bonding experience for you and your lover? Challenge yourselves to face a real fear: take a flying lesson, read your poetry at an open mic, or walk through the spider exhibit at the zoo. When you’re done, you’ll feel like you can take on the world, and it will be a date you’ll truly never forget.
Instead of: Building a bonfire
Try: Watching hot fall TV shows
As long as you’re not sitting downwind from the stinging smoke (which, somehow, we always are), bonfires can be fun. But you know what’s much more comfy and less painful? Catching up on fall TV shows. Make s’mores in the toaster oven and cuddle up for the return of your fave dramas. Plus, let’s face it: “Scandal” is as hot as any real fire.
Instead of: Going to a pumpkin patch
Try: Going to a costume store
Pumpkin patches are great, but they’re also muddy and filled with screaming kids and surprisingly expensive. Get your Halloween fix by taking a trip to a costume store (or a thrift shop!) to try on the most ridiculous costumes they have to offer. Pick out outfits for each other to try on (French maid? Marilyn Monroe? Care Bear? All of the above!) and take tons of photos you can use to bribe each other later.
[Photo from Shutterstock]