Falling into Autumn

North Carolina’s fall weather and beautiful foliage promises a wonderful season


OGB Archives

Autumn leaves on campus can be quite beautiful.

Emma Shuford, Contributing Writer

Sweater weather has arrived at last. Time for pumpkin spice lattes, planning group costumes, spooky decorations, oversized fluffy sweatshirts, Panera Bread pumpkin cookies and nights huddled around the fire pits on Manchester Plaza. While this is likely not the last of North Carolina’s warm weather offerings, the crunchy leaves littering the trail to Reynolda Village leaves an unmistakable message — fall is officially here at Wake Forest.
Nothing is better than the drinks and food of fall, the season of everything pumpkin and apple. On Sept. 10, Wake Forest’s Asian Student Interest Association hosted a Harvest Moon Festival celebration featuring music, dancing and delicious mooncakes to usher in the autumn season.
Caffeine options are expanding for coffee lovers — Starbucks, of course, sells its signature pumpkin spice drinks, and Camino in ZSR offers a complete fall-themed menu of coffees and teas. Even Benson Center’s Chick-fil-A is getting in the fall mood with its autumn spice milkshake. In Reynolda Village, you will find pumpkin-flavored pastries at Dough-Joe’s Donuts & Coffee. However, nothing can beat caramel apples or Mallomars dunked in a steaming cup of hot chocolate and tiny marshmallows.
The highlight of fall is its conclusion — Halloween. Spooky season, though, is not just one night. Before donning group costumes and setting out candy bowls, at least a month of decoration and preparation is in order. Spider webs, pumpkins, ghosts, witches, skeletons and spiders themselves should cover everything.
“My favorite thing about Halloween is probably the feeling of comfort you get when you are all dressed up and you are with your friends. You’re having a good time, and it is just cozy,” freshman Caroline Mederos said.
Spooky season is the perfect time to encourage your timid friends to venture into the vast world of scary cinema.
“I’m a big fan of horror movies, and I love the Halloween season, so I always look forward to this time of the year,” freshman Josh DeMontigny said. “I’d say some of my favorites are ‘Halloween’ (1978), ‘The Thing’ (1982), ‘The Shining’, ‘Get Out’ and ‘Ghostbusters’.
For the truly faint of heart, there is still a cinematic option — Bill Melendez’s “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown”. This heartwarming, timeless film is enjoyable for all ages, offering a soundtrack by the acclaimed musician Vince Guaraldi and beloved characters like Charlie Brown, Snoopy and — of course — Linus and his blanket. The 1966 film will transport you back to your childhood, and luckily it doesn’t end there. You can follow Charlie Brown all the way through winter with “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” and the classic “A Charlie Brown Christmas”.
For some more southern and international freshmen, this is their first real fall season, like Jali Gill, an international student from Jamaica.
“I am excited for the fall, but I am having a hard time adjusting to the change in the weather because it happened so rapidly,” Gill said. “I do not like how cold it is during the morning and the night, but I like the weather during the day. I think I overestimated how intense the rain was going to be. I do love crunching on the leaves as I walk. Overall, I am excited to see how I get adjusted to fall and how the season goes on.”
Wake Forest’s campus is truly beautiful, and there is no better time to be in North Carolina than early fall.
“I think the seniors have a unique perspective going into our final fall at Wake because those who went abroad haven’t had a normal football season or fall semester at Wake in three years,” junior Strode Blanchard said. “COVID-19 threw off our college experience, but it has made my friends and me take advantage of all the experiences my class missed out on in the years prior.”
The best part of fall for me is nature’s gradual transition from summer to winter. I watch as the trees slowly turn to crimson and honey and leaves swirl to the ground. For anyone searching for a boost of serotonin on the way to an early morning biology lab or midterm exam, I have found the most satisfying fall activity — stepping on the perfect crunchy leaf. This may seem trivial, but as I walk to class searching for the ideal leaf, I find myself actually noticing the scenery around me. In the midst of midterms, labs and papers — whether crunching fallen leaves underfoot, sipping a pumpkin spice latte in Camino or huddling with friends during a scary movie, moments like these can offer a valuable respite and bring us joy this fall season.