1. Its beautiful fall colours. Autumn foliage reveals its finest moments until mid-October. Plan an escape to view some of the most colourful spots: Nova Scotia's Annapolis Valley, Highlands, Cabot Trail, and north Cape Breton Island; Ontario’s Algonquin Provincial Park, Bruce Peninsula, Prince Edward County and Niagara Region; and Alberta’s Banff National Park (especially between Jasper and Banff), Peter Lougheed Provincial Park, and Kananaskis Village.
2. Thanksgiving. It may be considered a better dinner celebration than those in December because there is less pressure. And since the food sticks to tradition – turkey for non-vegetarians (turkey substitute for veggies) and pumpkin pie – planning and prep work are kept in check. This year, splurge on free range organic turkey even if you just buy a portion rather than a whole bird — you will definitely notice the difference in taste and quality.
3. It’s the best month to start a diet. UK research found that since most people don’t gain weight during summer, they’re at their lowest weight in fall. After October, bodyweight increases as holidays approach, and continues until early January. Since it can take at least five months to lose the extra weight, and feels like a difficult chore, dieting in October avoids the issue altogether. Researchers said, instead of making a New Year's Resolution, make a fall resolution to lose a few pounds before inevitably gaining during the holiday.
4. Sweater weather. Consider snuggling up to eco-conscious recycled knits. Stats show that even though all garments can be recycled, 85% ends up in the landfill. Check labels. One setback is that each time natural fibres (cotton, linen, bamboo) are used, fibres weaken so after the first recycling, they’re too weak to be rewoven/reknitted. Some manufacturers mix reclaimed fibres with new ones to increase strength. Others – Viscose, Modal, Tencel, Lyocell – extract the old fibre cellulose, dissolve it and then re-spin it. Another option is new Eco Intelligent Polyester (EIP) made of 100% recycled polyester.
5. Stoking the fireplace. Ahh, to sit by the warmth and light of your first fall fire. If you’re fortunate enough to have genuine logs burning in your hearth, your work to get them there is worth it, not only for you but for envious passersby taking in its memorable smoke aromas. If your fireplace is gas-powered, it can be almost as inviting if kept clean. Cleaning and servicing should be done every two years to avoid unsightly and potentially unsafe buildup. You can clean logs and plate glass yourself if you’re handy (google-ing it for steps), but servicing should be done professionally.
6. Carving a jack o’ lantern. Are toothy Draculas and ghoulish goblins not your thing? Try a pumpkin carving that matches your home’s décor instead, and start with a stylish white pumpkin, for sale alongside traditional orange ones at several grocers this year. With the right utensils including a sharp knife, you can cut any shape from nautical emblems and flower motifs to (simplified) Victorian filigree and fashionable polka dot/zigzag patterns. Here are websites to inspire you:
7. Hallowe’en. Why not throw a grown-up party this year and incorporate a few historic twists? The scariest night of the year has ancient Celtic roots; during the UK’s Samhain festival, people lit bonfires and wore costumes to ward off ghosts. Celts thought the barrier between the physical and the spirit worlds became thin at the end of summer, allowing ghosts to easily enter our realm.
8. Pumpkin spice makes everything nice. Traditional pumpkin pie spice mix, which combines a generous amount of cinnamon with ginger, cloves, nutmeg, and sometimes allspice, doesn’t have to be used for pie! It can be added to delicious pumpkin loaf, pumpkin spice dip, and made into a coating for savoury cereal party snack mix.
Recipe for HEALTHY CEREAL SNACK MIX:
4 cups Multigrain Cheerios
4 cups whole grain Shreddies
2 cups small salted pretzels
3 cups popcorn, popped
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup cashews (halved)
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup honey
2 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, combine cereals, pretzels, popcorn and cashews. In another bowl, combine melted butter, honey and pumpkin pie spice. Pour butter mixture over cereal mixture and stir to coat. Spread mixture onto 2 large baking sheets and bake in preheated oven for 12 minutes, stirring once half way through. Remove from oven and add cranberries. Allow to cool.