Once the heat slowly fades away and the cold starts nipping at my nose, I know that autumn has begun, despite what the calendar might say. Even when the weather doesn’t come soon enough, September comes and we all break out our jeans and leggings. (Unless you’re the kind of person who ignores all seasons and wears shorts into winter, you do you.)
With the warm clothing and feeling of the debatably best holiday (Halloween) nearing, dark fall colors come out too. Bright summer colors and florals fade into black and maroon layers and dark lipsticks. Here’s the season to express a darker aesthetic without your parents thinking you’re starting a goth phase in college.
Faux-goth aesthetics are also perfect for farms and fall festivals, day and night. For me, autumn isn’t complete without the fall festival at Fairfax’s Cox Farms. Pumpkins outnumber the crowds of people, from huge orange beasts to cute tiny ones. In the day, kids run across the colorful leaves and fallen hay, racing to feed the goats and other farm animals. The smell of homemade BBQ and fresh caramel corn wafts around the corn fields, slides, and country bands.
When the family hay rides and BBQ end, the sun goes down, the bonfires are lit, and the farm becomes its own Halloween paradise. Festive teens and adults fill the now “haunted” trails and corn mazes. Peaceful hayrides now swerve around the fields to avoid sprinting zombies in the dark.
After letting volunteers scare and stalk people around the farm, each bonfire is surrounded by people taking shelter from the chilly air. The festival also isn’t complete before we fill up on the warm fall-fuel of fresh cider and at least a dozen apple cider donuts. Once we’re warm enough, my friends and I take advantage of the silly photo-opps and dance to Cotton Eye Jo on the lit-up dance floor.
At the end of the night, my friends drag me out of the peak of my favorite season, but not before I grab as many apple cider donuts, bags of caramel corn, and tiny pumpkins as my arms can hold.