Article written by Michaela Madden
As the temperature drops and the leaves start to change, people are gearing up for a family-fun Fall season. As a single parent the premium price on pumpkin spice may seem far fetched, but with some creativity you can indulge in various fall activities that are enjoyable, affordable, and memorable for the whole family. From carving Jack-O-Lanterns to colourful picnics in the park, check out these 6 Affordable Fall Family Activities for Single Parents.
1. Pumpkin Spice & Everything Nice
Pumpkins are an autumn staple and come with several affordable activities that appeal to all ages. Start by paying a visit to a nearby pumpkin patch (such as Springridge Farm for those in Toronto or Log Cabin Orchard and Pumpkin Patch if you live closer to Ottawa). If farms aren't really your thing, make a quick stop at your local grocery store for a quick pumpkin fix. Best of all, the fun doesn't stop there! Take your pumpkins home for a family decorating contest. Whether that involves carving Jack-O-Lanterns or painting on a frightful face, this is a guaranteed fun night for the entire family!
2. Fright Night
Everyone knows Fall is the spookiest time of year, so transform your living room into a cozy movie theatre for a budget-friendly scary movie night. Many streaming platforms offer an array of Halloween-themed movies whether you are looking for kid-friendly cartoons or something a little creepier for your fearless teens. Pop your own popcorn, pick up some sweet snacks and soft drinks, and best of all, avoid those infamous movie theatre prices. Alternatively, you can take your kids to the Toronto Public Library’s youth hub for a free Halloween Movie Night.
3. Autumn Scavenger Hunt
Hosting an autumn scavenger hunt is an excellent way for you and your family to explore nature and enjoy the outdoors this Fall. Start by creating a list of seasonal items for your kids to collect. This might include colourful leaves, acorns, pinecones, and more. If your family has a competitive streak, make this into a contest. The first person to find all the items on the list wins a small prize! We'd recommend heading to a nearby nature preserve for this, such as Chapman Mills Conservation Area in Ottawa, or Bronte Creek Park near Toronto. You may also be interested in Bronte Creek's upcoming annual Harvest Festival!
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4. Fall Baking
Enjoy the many flavours of fall with a day dedicated to homemade baking. Simply Google a few recipes for classic fall treats such as an apple crisp, pumpkin bread, or cinnamon rolls. Kids will have fun learning how to mix, measure, roll, and more; not to mention, they get to enjoy a sweet treat after everything is complete. To make it even more affordable, you can opt for making boxed baked goods or go for one of the festive refrigerated cookie doughs at the store.
5. Backyard Camping
Camping doesn't always require a long journey or expensive equipment – all you need is your own backyard. Transforming your backyard into a campsite can be a unique and exciting adventure for children and parents alike, complete with tents, sleeping bags, bonfires, and some delicious s’mores. To keep costs down, you can use existing camping gear or borrow items from friends and family. And for something a bit more official, check out Sleepy Cedars Family Camping in Ottawa.
6. Costume Contest
Dressing up is one of the most thrilling parts of the Halloween season, but buying costumes online and in-store can get expensive. Instead, host a costume contest with a catch – that you can only dress up using things from around the house. This forces kids to lean into their creativity and resourcefulness, while also saving you some cash. Once everyone has a costume, you can head over to the free Riverside Howl-O-Ween event in Toronto’s Riverside Common Park – costumes for kids, pets, and adults are highly encouraged!