Seven cheap or free things to do this autumn


When the nights start drawing in for the Autumn I love to have a few fun, mood-boosting activities planned, ideally ones that are easy, free or low cost. This year is no different, and here are seven of my favourite autumn things to do that I’ve been up to recently or have in the diary to do soon.

Have you tried any of these seasonal treats yet for October 2022, November and beyond?


1. Walk in the falling leaves

Beautiful fallen Autumn leaves

There’s always something magical about the changing of the seasons, especially when the leaves start changing to different shades of red, yellow and brown, and drifting down from the deciduous trees. It’s free, and you can stay local or go further afield. Extra points for bringing a few leaves home for decorations, or finding some conkers.


2. Make a fruit crumble

Apple crumble individual serving

It’s the start of UK apple and pear season, so I like to make a filling, hearty dessert with the best of the new fresh fruit and a few other cheap ingredients. As I’m trying to use the oven less at the moment, I part-microwave the fruit to reduce cooking time and bake the crumble on a lower shelf at the same time as a main course.

If you need a reliable recipe, you might like this Easy Apple Crumble one on the Tesco website (I make mine with a good shake of ground cinnamon added to the apples for extra deliciousness). Meanwhile, the debate still rages here: custard, cream or ice cream on top? Which one’s your favourite?


3. Embrace all things spooky

halloween decorations jack o lantern scary carved pumpkin

Halloween time! Go all in and decorate the house, bob for apples, carve a pumpkin (and remember to cook it afterwards), put together homemade fancy dress outfits, or go trick or treating.

Alternatively, keep it simple and watch a scary movie or spooky TV show, or read some new or classic ghost stories. We’re getting stuck into Guillermo del Toro’s ‘Cabinet of Curiosities’ on Netflix this week, but I’m also looking forward to Tim Burton’s ‘Wednesday’ (yes, that sweet, sweet girl of Addams Family fame) which starts streaming on the same platform on the 23rd of November.

If you’re the sort who gets nightmares, keep it lighthearted with family friendly/age appropriate cartoons or off-kilter comedies instead. Woooohhhhhhh!


4. Wardrobe changeover & maintenance

Before the weather gets cooler I always try to haul out those warmer knits, coats, scarves and boots from storage. I like to give them the once-over to check for loose threads and buttons, fix anything that’s not quite right and give everything a good ole clean and freshen up. It’s also time for me to polish and waterproof my walking boots and use a little fabric or suede protector elsewhere if needed.

Dyed suede boots before and after

This month I’ve been doing some upcycling and repurposing too, including customising a cotton blend cardigan and a pair of baseball boots with Dylon Hand Dye to match more of my other clothes, and using some TRG Suede & Nubuck Dye (various colours) – handiwork as seen in the photo above – to give my favourite boots a new lease of life in a deeper, darker shade.


5. Get sweet and spicy

Hot coffee Autumn jumper and a good book

Yes, it’s very much the time of year to embrace those ubiquitous pumpkin spice lattes, but I’m a bigger fan of Bird & Blend’s bestselling Spiced Pumpkin Pie tea and especially their caffeine-free Baby Spice tea with dried pumpkin and apple.

I’ve also recently discovered the Simply range of sugar-free syrups which I love, and they’re doing 1 litre of sugar-free Pumpkin Spice Syrup for £12.68 with free delivery right now, plus there are regular offers. A little goes a long way so a litre should last aaaages, right? Pumpkin spice is also tasty on porridge, in a cheesecake, and in various other cakes and pies, as well as in coffees.

Not into PSLs? Bake a batch of cinnamon rolls instead, or treat yourself to a cinnamon swirl or pastry in a coffee shop or bakery for another line of sweet and spicy seasonal goodness.


6. Fireworks for Guy Fawkes’ Day

bonfire night fireworks on Guy Fawkes Day

Unfortunately our local council is one of the ones that’s had to cancel the usual free Bonfire Night celebrations due to budget cuts, which is fair enough given the financial strain on services at the moment. We’re still going to try to find a safe, free event to watch, but if there’s nothing fairly nearby then we might have to try to find something online.

One thing we won’t be doing is setting off cheap ones in our own back garden because I’ve seen too many amateur hour accidents with gunpowder for my liking. Remember, remember, safety first on the 5th of November – treason and plot not included, which is probably just as well.


7. Enjoy the arts

Yes culture vultures, rejoice for ’tis the season for all the major book launches and juicy new entertainment schedules, whatever you’re into. Take your pick from theatre, exhibitions, music, comedy and so much more, maybe snagging an earlybird discount while you’re at it.

If you’re completely skint, as so many of us are right now, keep your eyes peeled for the latest Freeview TV and films and Freeview Play on demand coming up, free entry museums and art galleries, and all the latest magazines, books, ebooks and audiobooks available from your local library (even if you don’t live that near a library, you can still sign up for goodies to borrow via the Libby app from OverDrive, as long as you’ve registered for library card).


Let me know if you try any of these suggestions, or have interesting plans of your own.


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  1. I LOVE that suede dye! I’ve got a pair of lovely suede shoes I’ve had for months but only worn once because I wasn’t sure of the colour. This is going to change that situation – I’m ordering some dye immediately!! Thanks Penny! ?

    1. Hi Jackie, it gave me very professional looking results, and comes with a brush in the packet that’s exactly the right size and shape. One thing I will say is that you definitely need to protect work surfaces, your clothes and your skin very carefully because it stains.

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