Even if the temperature is still hovering in the 90s throughout most of the south, autumn is nearly here. This time of year brings changing leaves, football games, evening campfires and pumpkin-flavored everything is in full swing. Even if the weather hasn't received the memo, there are still plenty of things you can do to get in the fall state of mind.
1. Attend the Day of the Dead or Voodoo Fest in New Orleans
Day of the Dead, or Dia de los Muertos, originated from the Mesoamerican tribes of Mexico as a way to come together and pray for lost loved ones. Day of the Dead is celebrated in several cities, but New Orleans certainly takes the celebration to another level with a vibrant parade and city-wide party. The Louisiana city also holds the annual Voodoo Fest around Halloween weekend, complete with music, art and, of course, costumes.
2. See the Friday Night Lights
Nothing says fall like football under the stars. And there's no better way to enjoy those Friday night lights than in a small southern town. Cheer on your local team or check out some of the most impressive football stadiums around Texas.
3. Attend a Harvest Festival
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Harvest festivals are a traditonal kickoff to the fall season. If you're in Texas, check out Autumn at the Arboretum, which takes place in Dallas from Sept. 23 through Nov. 22 and is known for its impressive pumpkin village, created from thousands of pumpkins, squash and gourds.
4. Go Apple Picking
Prep for autumn apple pie baking by getting only the freshest ingredients straight from the source. The south is filled with great pick-your-own orchards, from B.J. Reece Orchards in Georgia to the Ayres Family Orchard in Kentucky.
5. Take in the Texas Homecoming Mums
Homecoming is celebrated at high schools across the country but, as the saying goes, everything is bigger in Texas. That includes the insanely fun tradition of Homecoming mums, giant corsages adorned with ribbons, flowers and anything else the wearer fancies. Mums may have started as a subdued addition to a homecoming dress, but overtime the mums have grown to steal the show. This uniquely Texas tradition symbolizes the coming of fall.
6. Have a Slice of Pecan Pie
Enough about pumpkins. In the South it's all about that pecan pie. The earliest printed recipes for pecan pie showed up in Texas cookbooks as early as the 1870s. To this day, most pecan pie recipes call for Karo syrup because early syrup cans printed the recipe on the back. While there are many different variations of the pecan pie - from bourbon laced to chocolate - southerners generally prefer them as sweet as possible.