April 25, 2019 | 54° F

Top 10 fall adventures to get you pumped for pumpkins

Photo by Michelle Klejmont |

The Giamarese Farm in East Brunswick offers a variety of pumpkin patches to pick from, as well as a corn maze to roam through.

The weather may be cooling down, but culture in the good old 08901 is only heating up, as we head into October. Don’t let the dwindling daylight hours or intensifying classroom pressures get you down because there is so much to look forward to throughout this wonderful month of pumpkins, mischief and full moons. Here are the top 10 autumn activities to make this month of harvest your best at Rutgers yet. 

1. Howl at the moon 

One of the coolest resources here at the University is also one of the most underappreciated: the Robert A. Schommer Astronomical Observatory on Busch campus. It is open to students every Thursday night from 8:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., and we are lucky enough to have a full moon fall on Oct. 9. Check it out and keep your eyes peeled for any flying broomsticks up there.

2. Fire up the foliage

Though all five of our campuses wear fall particularly well, Rutgers Gardens deserves this seasons’ best-dressed award. Open year round from dawn until dusk at 112 Ryder’s Lane, this gorgeous little hidden gem is well worth the quick car ride. Offering botanical gardens and hidden trails, escape from your daily struggles by taking a walk and absorbing the picturesque scenery. The best part is that nobody will make you rake! 

3. Groceries go home-grown 

Think global, act local and support a good cause, when you patronize the farmer’s markets this fall for all your produce needs. No matter what your schedule looks like on Thursdays and Saturdays, the New Brunswick Farmer’s Market has a location for you! Set up on the College Avenue campus at Kilmer Square Park Courtyard or on Nichol Avenue on Cook campus in the early afternoons, there is no easier or more communally conscientious way to access fresh fruits and vegetables while you’re away at school. Apples, celery, cranberries, eggplant and grapes are in season in New Jersey this month, so make sure to stock up before the Halloween candy craze hits.

4. Remember the soldiers in scarlet  

Tailgaters can take it easy this month as the Scarlet Knights are set to play only one home game in October. The blackout-themed merrymaking will commence under the lights at High Point Solutions stadium and the stands will be roaring with excitement tomorrow evening at 7 p.m. as we face Michigan in this season’s second Big Ten conference. With high temperatures and humidity for the last two games, enjoy the fall weather with family and friends before the Knights travel to their next two away games. Don’t forget to root the team on as they face Ohio on Oct. 18 at 3:30 p.m. and Nebraska on Oct. 25.

5. It’s ‘bout that time to spike the punch: Proceed with caution

In the midst of exams piling up, weekends in October are the perfect excuse for one thing: parties. For those 21 and over, it’s time to step up those hosting skills. Get creative with drink choices by serving guests spooky Halloween-inspired cocktails with gummy worms and black licorice. Use those test tube shot glasses rather than traditional Solo cups and dry ice for that ultimate wow factor.

6. Extra pumpkin, please! 

Pumpkin donuts, pumpkin soup, pumpkin bread and pumpkin pie — the fruit that saved Cinderella can save you, too, from a month of a boring platter. Stay tuned at the dining halls and coffee shops for deliciously innovative ways to enjoy the season’s classic flavor while you can. Consider Au Bon Pain’s new Pumpkin CroisBun — part croissant, part bread, pure yum. 

7) Don’t let your brain get cobwebby

Hard to believe, I know, maybe because it’s still sunny outside or possibly due to some summer saltwater pumping in your bloodstream, but October is arguably the core academic month of the fall semester, and it’s game time for good grades. Keep your eye on the prize and take advantage of drop-in tutoring or academic tutoring at the learning centers available on every campus. The first round of papers, chapter quizzes and midterms may not seem significant, but you’ll be thankful in the gray of November that you aced them!

8) Cozy up with a spooky flick 

They say college kids and preschoolers have a lot in common, and you know that’s true when it comes to the love for ABC Family’s annual “13 Nights of Halloween.” Beginning Oct. 19, you can catch classic flicks like “Hocus Pocus” or the “Nightmare before Christmas.”

9) Fun gets freaky 

No calendar is complete without a trip to Six Flag’s Fright Fest in Jackson, New Jersey, or Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia. The month of spirits and souls makes for the perfect time to push beyond your comfort zone and visit one of these haunts, whether you’re a returning ghoul or a new visitor. Plan ahead and make the most of your student status for discounted tickets or group passes. 

10) Escape and unwind

What’s autumn without agriculture? Just down the road in East Brunswick, the family-owned and operated Giamarese Farm has some of the best apple, greens and pumpkin picking around. Detox after a long week of classes by taking a mini road trip with friends on a Friday afternoon to reconnect with nature and enjoy a change of scenery from the collegiate bubble. Use your newfound treasures to decorate your residence hall, apartment or house and culminate your fall celebrations. You’ll be so glad you did. 

Janine Puhak

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