By Laura Sliker |

Fall is an awkward time of year for me, to say the least. When all my friends are rushing to get their first pumpkin spice latte of the season, I’m preparing for two months of not eating anything I don’t make unless I know exactly what’s in it. You see, I am allergic to pumpkins. My only solace in the month of October is that there are so many other wonderful ways to enjoy fall. So, if you’re pumpkin-averse like me, or just looking for something different to do this October, here is a countdown of some things I love about fall.

5) New Boots

People talk about sweater weather a lot, but let’s be real: it’s Texas and sweater weather won’t come until winter does. But, boots? It’s always time for boots. Are you wearing jeans and a t-shirt? Pull out your ankle boots. Do you have a date night with a short, bodycon dress? Strap on the knee-high boots. Fall’s arrival means boots are back with a vengeance, bearing new colors and styles. I always buy myself a new pair once the weather dips low enough to at least warrant pants, and to me, it’s the perfect way to say that fall has arrived.

4) Apple picking

Admittedly, I’m pretty sure the nearest orchard is somewhere near Dallas, but it’s seriously worth it. Growing up, apple picking was my parent’s answer to my inability to go to a pumpkin patch with the rest of the kids. I’d get to run around the orchards, ordering my dad to pick whichever apples I wanted. Sometimes, luck was on my side and the apples were delicious, sometimes not so much. However, I promise your apple picking experience will be much luckier than most of mine.

3) Everything Cinnamon

There are no words to describe how excited I get when I walk into H-E-B or Walmart and am hit with a whiff of sweet, spicy air. I follow the scent to the inevitable bin of bagged up pinecones that somehow smell like a cinnamon stick but ten times better. Those cones are my pumpkin spice latte. I have to buy the bagged pine cones every season. They make my small apartment smell like a real home and a bakery all at once. Don’t even get me started on cinnamon spice tea, apple spice cake or snickerdoodles or else I’ll never shut up and begin to bake uncontrollably.

2) State Fair of Texas

While the Texas State Fair truly is the most amazing I’ve ever seen, I guarantee that no matter where you’re spending your fall, you can find a fair close by. The things I love about fairs can be found at each and every one. For example, you can try fried ice cream (and fried ravioli—trust me, it’s good). Then, of course, there’s Ferris wheels and tilt-a-whirls. And, please don’t judge, but there’s usually a petting zoo where I can go pet a sheep.

1) Hot Chocolate

The true joy of cooler weather is being able to put away my iced tea and pull out something both worse for your body and better for your soul: hot chocolate. I love it all, whether it’s a thick, fancy blend from Common Grounds, the Abuelita’s Mexican hot chocolate mix from the store or good old Swiss Miss. Just drinking it makes me so inexplicably happy. Hot chocolate doesn’t just taste good; something about it brings out your inner child, or at least it does for me. Every time I see a friend at Starbucks this time of year, they lament over my inability to enjoy the #PSL. I just smile at them over my snickerdoodle hot chocolate and know that I’m having just as good of a time as they are…maybe even better.