7 Ways to Make the Most of the Coming Fall Weekend

1. Put fall leaves to good use. Spy some beautiful fall foliage outside your door? Before you rake and bag it, consider other uses for the leaves. They would make good mulch for your lawn or garden. Or, if the leaves are still more on the trees than on the ground, cut a bundle and bring it inside for a long-lasting display.

2. Plan a winter trip. Let the chill in the air be a reminder to book that winter getaway you’ve been thinking of. Lodging in popular destinations fills up early for holiday travel, so it pays to book early.

Not planning any big trips? Make a date with your calendar and a mug of hot cider to plan some fun weekend jaunts instead.

3. Get inspired with a new design book. Peruse the shelves of your local bookstore and bring home a new tome for your coffee table. Looking for a recommendation? Just released on Oct. 10, The New Bohemians Handbook: Come Home to Good Vibes, by designer and blogger Justina Blakeney, sounds like just the thing to curl up with on a chilly fall afternoon

4. Add warm, cozy layers and flickering light. Bring autumnal warmth and coziness to your living room with candlelight, extra-soft blankets and cushy pillows galore. Layer beds with thicker quilts, turn on the twinkle lights, and set out bowls of apples and nuts in the shell. It doesn’t take much effort, and your home will instantly feel more fall-like.

5. Help storm victims in the Caribbean. Hearing news reports of natural disasters can leave those not in harm’s way feeling powerless to help. But the truth is, even small amounts of aid are very much needed and appreciated. If you decide to donate money, just be sure you are giving to a legitimate relief organization — sites like Charity Navigator and the Better Business Bureau’s Give.org can help.

6. Say hello to migrating monarchs. Every fall, monarch butterflies make their way back to the same overwintering grounds — monarchs from the eastern coast of the United States migrate to Mexico, and butterflies from west of the Rocky Mountains return to coastal California. This month, those along the migratory paths may be able to spot monarchs on their way to warmer climates.

And if you’re lucky enough to live within driving distance of Santa Cruz, California, you can visit the monarchs at Natural Bridges State Beach. Guided tours of the habitat are available on weekends starting in mid-October.

7. Prep for Halloween. Candy corn? Fake spider webs? Check and check. If you plan to pass out candy or host a party on Halloween night, this weekend is a good time to stock up on supplies.