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Oct. 21, 2014

Capturing fall before it's too late

by Ellie Struewing, Online Features Editor
We're nearly halfway through October, which means we are right in the midst of fall. Fall is an exciting season, with the piles of colorful leaves, the cool but not too cool weather and, of course, Halloween. Often fall seems to go by too fast, so to try to capture its spirit before it's too late, here are some fun activities for you and your friends.

Haunted House
Haunted houses are a great way to get in a spooky mood around Halloween. Once when I was younger, all of the kids on my street got together to help build a haunted house, and it created lots of great memories. Some people like to be very elaborate, but with a little time and teamwork, anyone's basement or garage can become a haunted house. Start off by planning the layout and designing what kinds of things will be in your haunted house. Next, work on building the atmosphere. This can be done through lighting, music and sound effects. Maybe the sounds effects of creaking doors or thunder could help create the desired mood. Fog machines are another great way to increase the scary factor. Finally, think about what the guests and volunteers are going to do. An example of an activity is making guests bob for apples carved to look like skulls. To make your haunted house even better, have your friends volunteer to jump out at guests or tap them on the shoulder. A volunteer could even stand with a group of guests and follow them around until they realize she is there. As long as you remember to be creative, your haunted house will be a success.

<i>Psycho</i>, made in 1960, is one of Alfred Hitchcock's most famous movies. Courtesy of Etsy
Psycho, made in 1960, is one of Alfred Hitchcock's most famous movies.
Scary Movie Marathon
If a haunted house isn't enough to sufficiently spook, movies can bring out the wimpy side in anyone. Older horror movies are slightly less scary because they were made at a time when the quality of special effects and graphics were not as impressive as they are today. But you can bet that even after watching an oldie like Psycho, you will be a little more cautious when taking a shower. A couple more modern horror movies that will have you hiding beneath blankets are Paranormal Activity and The Blair Witch Project. Watching these movies with friends might make them easier to handle, but more importantly, you will get to see even your most stoic friends cower in fear. After spending a night watching horror movies with friends, you might be terrified for a little while. But after a few hours, reality begins to return, at least for me. It's just a movie, it didnít really happen, there is probably nobody hiding in my closet waiting to attack me in the night, etc. Sometimes, watching scary movies can actually make me feel pretty lucky about my life. After all, there is no ghost haunting my house or creepy doll following me around! Here is a list of Entertainment Weekly's scariest movies to help with planning a marathon.

Apples ready for the picking at Butler's Orchard. Courtesy of Butler's Orchard
Apples ready for the picking at Butler's Orchard.
Apple Picking
On the other hand, apple picking is a great activity that isnít scary at all. There are many places to go apple picking in various parts of Maryland, including Butler's Orchard in Germantown, Homestead Farm in Poolesville and Rock Hill Orchard in Mount Airy. Searching for the perfect apples is like a scavenger hunt, and while spending the day out and walking around may be exhausting, the amount of delicious fruit that you get to take home will make it worthwhile. Make a competition to see who can pick the most fruit. Winner doesn't have to carry his or her apples to the car! If you like to cook, you can use the freshly picked apples in a pie, or even try making applesauce.



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