Photo: Chris Dunmire
Fall Writing Activities
By Chris Dunmire | Updated October 3, 2018
Going back to school. Harvest time. Colorful falling leaves. Corn mazes, acorns, pumpkins, scarecrows, Halloween and Thanksgiving. In the Midwest, fall (or autumn) is the time of the year when cooler temperatures sweep in over summer's waning heat and the growing season comes to full fruition before winding down to dormancy. Fall officially begins in September and runs through October, November, and into December, when the seasonal change next morphs into winter.
The following fall-themed writing prompts, photo inspiration, and printable projects will help you (or your students) to reflect on the meaning of the season and capture the transforming magic in the air for this colorful, transitioning space in the year. Don't miss the printable activities embedded within the prompts including my printable autumn cards and Thanksgiving 'Thankful Four' Writing project.
Fall Photo Inspiration: The Colors of Autumn. Against a deep blue sky you notice leaves in shades of hot red, glowing orange, vibrant yellow, and earthy brown. When the colors of autumn are in full splendor, do you notice an electrifying feeling in the air? Do the colors saturating the atmosphere have an impact on your mood or outlook? If so, how would you describe it?
Write about one of the five senses (related to your autumn experience):
The poetry of fall (autumn card project): Use the inspiration of the fall season to write a greeting card with a seasonal collage and/or a thoughtful quote or poem for someone else. You may download and print my free Blank Fall / Autumn Cards from the Creativity Portal Be Creative! section to use for this activity if you need some inspiration.
What is your favorite fall memory? How old were you when it happened? For 10 minutes relive that memory through writing about it as if you were right there recording it in real time. If you have a photo of yourself taken at the time, use it as a source for visual journaling.
September and October conjures up images of yellow school busses, colorful leaves, cool and crisp air, and rainy Halloween. Write a poem or few paragraphs of prose that captures autumn's essence in feelings and smells, sights and sounds.
The transformation of nature. If a picture of these trees was snapped only a month or two earlier, it would show the trees blending into the landscape in full green-ness. Isn't it interesting how when you learn about the scientific reasons why leaves change colors, that built in to the intention of life is a beautiful transformation that literally changes the way we perceive our environment?
Can you think of other natural transformations that occur around us during nature's life cycles that are also artful or beautiful to our eyes?
What are three experiences that you enjoy most about the fall season? Is it the colors? Cooler temperatures? Kids going back to school? Pick three random things and write about them. If that gets you going and you want to write about more, have at it.
What if pumpkins grew on trees? The subconscious mind works wonders in your sleep. One morning I woke up with an important question running through my brain: What if pumpkins really did grow on trees? Instantly, a collage of thoughts related to the political, emotional, and spiritual state of the world begged to be released, so I went on to write a richly symbolic piece that surprised me.
Sometimes it's latching onto the "silly" that shifts our logical thinking into a new mode that allows our creativity to flow such deep and free expression of thoughts and emotions that have been percolating within us for years. Try it. Get out your crayons or other favorite art media and think of something silly to create through visual journaling (like my pumpkins growing on trees). Then see how that process prompts something much deeper and meaningful within you that begs to be released.
Imagine the weather gods suddenly decided that the fall season would be no more. Seasons would go from Spring to Summer to Winter. What does that prospect invoke in you? Are you happy? Sad? Glad? Mad?
What do you think the symbolism of fall is in relation to the human life span?
Fall Photo Inspiration:
A picture is worth more than a thousand words. Write a funny, scary, mysterious, or dramatic story that uses the 'pumpkin in the wagon' imagery above.
Go with the flow: Choose a prompting word from the following list and write about whatever comes to mind for five minutes without stopping.
Prompting Words List: Season, seasonal, fall, autumn, acorns, leaves, leaf, colors, red, yellow, orange, red, green, brown, branches, twigs, aroma, burning leaves, crunch leaves, pressing leaves, smells, sights, sounds, color, vibrant, energy, beauty, beautiful, pumpkins, Halloween, ghosts, gourds, ghouls, vampires, costumes, dressing up, candy, treats, tricks, trick-or-treat, turkey, Thanksgiving, family, dinner, pilgrims, Mayflower, Indians, feathers, corn, popcorn, arts and crafts, gifts, pumpkin pie, whip cream, apples, orchard, cranberry sauce, potatoes, cornbread, stuffing, green beans, applesauce, cooking, warm, aroma, cinnamon, apple pie, vanilla ice cream, ham, food, abundance, thankful, cold, frost, snow, football, snowflakes, raking, rake, leaf piles, campfires, hiking, nature, forest, woods
The thankfulness of Thanksgiving (hand-tracing writing project): As kids we learned how to make a turkey by tracing around our hands. This activity is similar, but takes it a step further by facilitating a sense of "thankfulness" you can write about as you visual journal and reflect on thoughts of gratitude with the four symbolic fingers ("thankful four") aimed high toward the sky.
To do this project, download and print my free Thankful Four Writing Activity kit and follow the instructions on the sheet.