While some of us have already started donning our rain shells and indulging in all things pumpkin, others have clung tightly to the final days of summer. With the autumn equinox arriving Wednesday, fall is finally here — and begging us to embrace it.

So go on! Light up those gingerbread, spiced apple and cinnamon candles — but maybe not all at the same time.

The autumn equinox arrives Wednesday at 3:20 p.m. EDT and 12:20 p.m. PDT for those living in the Northern Hemisphere, when the sun crosses the equator, according to The Old Farmer’s Almanac.

Here are five ways to welcome the official start of fall.

Enjoy fall flavors

For some, the true marker of fall is not the equinox, but the return of all things pumpkin spice. The designated fall flavor has infiltrated coffees, candies, desserts and just about everything else.

The name might fool you, but pumpkin spice flavoring typically doesn’t contain any pumpkin. The flavor is actually a spice blend of fall favorites — often some combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice and clove.


Celebrate the start of the season with some pies and pumpkin spice lattes, or try adding pumpkin spice to a savory dish. While it is often used in sweet recipes, the spice mix can also complement savory dishes, like soups or pork.

Cozy up inside

With the Seattle area having seen its first storm of the season this past weekend, fall weather has certainly arrived.

When inevitable gray skies and rainy days arrive, cozy up with a hot beverage and throw on a movie that embraces the beauty of autumn.

Arts critic Moira Macdonald says that though fall-themed movies are not as easily marketable as Christmas movies or Valentine’s Day romance movies, they are out there.

The only marker pointing to the movie as autumn-themed might be the scenery, but that can be enough to still bring out your fall spirit. For a vibrant autumn moment, Macdonald recommends checking out Zhang Yimou’s “Hero” and its fight scene between Flying Snow (Maggie Cheung) and Moon (Zhang Ziyi). 


Revisit a wildly popular quarantine hobby

As the U.S. entered lockdowns in 2020, many turned to the comfort of baking. Now, as temperatures drop, you might consider revisiting that hobby. Maybe you never got your sourdough loaf just right. Or maybe you’re new to baking bread and want to try a no-knead recipe. Either way, the season welcomes any hobby that involves heating up your kitchen and ends with freshly baked bread.

Get crafty

Burnt orange, burgundy, mustard yellow, or golden — the list is long when it comes to choosing a fall color palette for fall crafts. Maybe you take up knitting just in time for sweater weather.

Or try pressing fall leaves to preserve some autumn beauty.

While you enjoy strolling in some brisk autumn weather, you can collect a few pine cones and make a pine cone wreath.

Or start planning for something a little more frightening. As October approaches, fall décor can fade into Halloween decorations. Look to Pinterest for inspiration for glitter skulls, or cut gravestones out of cardboard to make your front yard look like a spooky cemetery.

Mark your calendar for fall outings

Though it might still be too early to spot the red and golden foliage falling from Washington’s trees, it might be time to start planning outings to see the seasonal colors.


The Evergreen State is understandably not known for dramatic displays of fall color, but the Washington Park Arboretum boasts many trees with colorful deciduous leaves. Plan a trip to the 230-acre arboretum for a grand display of nature’s changing face.

If you aren’t eager to bundle up for a walk through the arboretum, plan a day trip to admire some of Washington’s fall scenery. Consider a drive to the top of Mount Walker for a view of a picturesque autumn landscape, or drive along the North Cascades Highway to spot larches turning gold on mountainsides at Washington Pass and elsewhere.

Correction: A previous version of this story stated that days would begin to grow shorter after the fall equinox. Days began growing shorter after the summer solstice, and will continue shortening until the winter solstice.