25 Ideas for Inexpensive Fall Dates


Charyn Pfeuffer, September 11, 2015

As leaves start to turn autumnal colors, couples watching expenses need to adjust their thinking about how to spend the time. Warm weather makes frugality easy, but no longer can every weekend day be a beach day, and not every night will be right for a cookout. The season brings its own possibilities, though, some of which are good for first dates as well as longer-term couples building or nurturing a relationship. Here are 25 things you can do with a sweetie that barely cost a thing.

Take a trip to a pumpkin patch.

It’s a wee bit corny, but a trip to a pumpkin patch is, well, kind of sweet. What’s not to like about crisp fall air, crackling autumn leaves, and an arm-in-arm walk through nature’s bounty?

Share some sweet treats.

Spend an evening whipping up a batch of favorite treats, suggested Pamela Layton McMurtry, author of “A Harvest and Halloween Handbook”. They can be just for you, meant for gifts or shared with friends, or even delivered to shut-ins or the elderly.

Have a Halloween movie marathon.

Netflix and similar services always offer plenty of scary movies to stream, and libraries these days stock plenty of DVDS. Add popcorn, drinks, and theater candy for a cheap and fun evening.

Attend a fall festival.

Fall is a favored time for small-town festivals. Starting at the end of August, small towns across America start kicking annual festivals into gear, said Paul Moyer of SavingFreak. While you may have to spend some money on food or activities, they are usually very affordable. Enjoy the uniqueness of American small towns and experience generations-old traditions.

Try restaurant menu favorites at home.

Sure, it’s nice to get dressed up and go out for dinner. But sometimes it’s even nicer to stay in and attempt restaurant menu favorites at home. Restaurants such as Olive Garden and Panera Bread have recipes for menu items online, so it’s possible to stock the refrigerator for the price of just one meal out, said Taylor Gordon, a freelance blogger at TrendyCheapo. By whipping meals up at home, you can also make them healthier and substitute in cheaper ingredients.

Take a train ride.

A train ride through the mountains or woods, available in many states, can be a good date if it’s kept to a one- to three-hour range round trip, said Rosalind Sedacca, author of “99 Things Women Wish They Knew Before Dating After 40, 50 and Yes, 60!”. Daytime travel shows off fall landscapes and vistas while offering comfortable seats for uninterrupted conversation, and there are often dining cars for drinks, snacks, or meals. Travelers should be able to get in a short stroll through their destination’s shops and sights.

Build a bonfire.

At the beach or in your backyard, a bonfire can take the chill off a crisp fall night. Gather around a fire with the fixings for s’mores and settle in for an evening of storytelling.

Go tailgating.

Sports tickets can be expensive. Opt for the next best thing: Attend a tailgating party. Bring an inexpensive snack and a six-pack of beer or beverage of choice and enjoy game-day festivities without spending a fortune.

Go on a haunted hayride.

Get your date’s heart thumping on a haunted hayride. Cuddle up close and when you get scared, hold each other tight. It’s the perfect excuse to steal a kiss.

Go apple picking.

Tap your inner kid with a trip to the local apple orchard. Gather a basket of apples, then bake a pie together. Go later in the day — think closer to sundown — to avoid peak family time.

Pick and carve pumpkins.

Take your date pumpkin picking. It’s tons of fun to search for the perfect pumpkin, then take it home and carve.

Visit a local brewery for seasonal brews.

There’s a slew of seasonal fall and winter beers arriving — think pumpkin, ginger, and cardamon flavored. Visit a local brewery and see what they have for sampling.

Visit a winery.

Fall is a choice time to visit a winery. Crush, the time of year for harvesting and processing grapes, is wrapping up and summer crowds have waned. Take a walk in a vineyard, then sip and sample wine to serve over the holidays.

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