Roll over each image to see the text and picture go from fall fantasy to FALL NIGHTMARE.
By Hallie Cantor
Going Back to School
A new year. A clean slate. No one remembers that time last year when you accidentally referred to Hawaii as a country. This time, you’re going to come back from the summer all tan and aloof and everyone will be like “who is THAT” and something will finally happen between you and that attractive person you like. This is definitely gonna be that year.
Turns out that attractive person has transferred schools, no one cares what you did this summer, and everyone still thinks you’re an idiot. Luckily, there will be homework and classes and tests and papers for the next ten months to take your mind off your unpopularity. Hooray.
Good TV Is Back
Oh, thank God. You no longer have to pretend that you enjoy watching foreign films on Netflix. Now there are enough quality sitcoms pumping out new episodes every week that at any given moment, you can watch something that makes you feel like you’re hanging out with friends. But without all the pressure of actually, you know, hanging out with friends.
Because it’s not enough to have actual homework, you also need to have a million shows to catch up on every week before someone on the Internet spoils it for you. Pretty soon you’re going to forget how to even interact with other people in a way that doesn’t have a punchline. (The punchline is you. Because you’re so bad at being a human.)
Like Britney Spears during a VMA performance in the early 2000s, fall finds the trees ripping off their snooze-worthy green coats to reveal the sexy multi-colored outfit beneath. You’d have to be some kind of monster not to appreciate a horizon ablaze with fiery reds, vibrant orange and golden yellow. It’s like a drug trip, but all-natural.
Let’s all calm down a little bit about the color orange. Leaves changing color is not some kind of hallucinatory cinemascape, it’s merely the chemical reaction of decay. It’s the tree’s way of telling us that its leaves are growing older, becoming incapable of feeding themselves, and dying. Just like all of us will die one day.
Say goodbye to uncomfortably revealing cotton and hello to lovely cozy cable-knit, flannel, corduroy and tweed. Fall clothes are universally flattering without being bulky, and as a bonus they tend to make you feel like a wholesome, scholarly model on the cover of a college brochure. Who’s that in the fair-isle sweater, throwing a Frisbee while reciting the quadratic equation to a rapt co-ed? It’s you!
Oh, we forgot to mention that the day after spending a hundred dollars on that new lightweight fall jacket, you’re going to spill black coffee all over it. You know, the coffee you needed to stay warm after the weather decided to be unexpectedly freezing on a day that you only wore your new lightweight fall jacket.
It always looks great on other people’s Facebook albums. Why not you? Who says you can’t be the kind of person who goes apple picking? You’ll wear that great plaid shirt that you have, and get a picture of yourself up in a tree. It’ll be so picturesque. And apple pie! Apple crisp! Applesauce!
How did Americans get tricked into thinking this was fun? First, you have to drive at least a few hours out of civilization, and then you get to pay way too much for the privilege of doing your own menial labor. And applesauce takes SO LONG to make. Like, hours. Also, what are you, 80? Who has functional teeth and still eats applesauce?
Daylight Savings Time
All the bitching you did back in March about losing your precious 2am-3am hour is finally paying off with a sweet, sweet extra hour of sleep. That’s a full hour of dreaming about making out with your elementary school crush in a submarine run by midget pirates. You might even get to second dream-base. (Dreaming about boobs.)
Aside from the fact that you’ll be an hour early for everything on Sunday morning because you’re definitely going to forget to set your watch back, the only thing this means is that it starts getting dark way earlier. Pretty soon all you’ll want to do after class is go home, get under all your covers because it’s dark in there too so what’s the difference, and call your mom to complain about how Seasonal Affective Disorder is a real thing that goes undiagnosed in millions of Americans so can she please buy you one of those light therapy boxes already?
Screw baseball. America’s national pastime should definitely be the sport that yields at minimum three concussions per hour. Even if you don’t care about the game, it’s a great reason to invite people over to eat hot wings and pizza and stare at cheerleaders who are basically glorified porn stars with a tiny amount of fabric on.
Well, I guess this is what Sundays are going to be now. Just sitting in a room listening to your friends whine at each other about their fantasy teams, and occasionally asking them what a “safety” is and why these guys are kicking it now even though the other team just had it a second ago. Awesome.
Oh, man, you really feel your creative juices flowing this year. Your jack o’lantern is gonna be so spooky, it will straight-up TERRIFY the children of the neighborhood when they see its angry face with that eerie candlelight glowing through it. Plus you get to put a buttload of salt on the seeds afterward and roast them, which is delicious. All activities should come with a built-in snack.
So much for scary. Your pumpkin face mostly looks sad and strangely uncertain. Goddamn tiny knife always breaks when you’re halfway through. And ew, you swore you put down enough newspaper, but somehow there’s stringy pumpkin goop all over everything. Oh crap, did we get the kind WITHOUT seeds this year?
Halloween parties are like regular parties but with a guaranteed failsafe non-awkward topic of conversation. You know how during the first week of college you can go up to anyone and ask them where they’re from? Halloween is like that, but better because no one’s hometown is “Honey Boo Boo Radley.”
And just like the first week of college, the pressure to have fun on Halloween is so high that you’re practically guaranteed to end up disappointed. That costume you worked on for a whole ten minutes before coming out? Someone else had the same idea, and he used a sewing machine instead of duct tape and staples.
Jumping in Leaves
There’s no better way to make you feel like a kid again than raking up a big pile of crunchy leaves and jumping in. You forgot how much you love this stuff. In fact, maybe this’ll be the year you get really into nature. Finally go on a camping trip with that Outdoor Exploration Club whose email list you’ve been on since freshman year. Yeah, you’re gonna sign up right now.
There’s no better way to feel incredibly old than getting winded after raking a few mildewy dead leaves. Also, you forgot how disgusting nature is. Who knew “pile of leaves” was actually code for “pile of snails and wet dirt”? Oh god, is that a tick bite? Hold on, you have to check WebMD really quick.
Watching televised debates and belittling the political gaffe of the day are a fantastic way to feel like an intellectual when all you’re technically doing is watching television and reading Facebook posts. Who knew it was so easy to participate in our country’s great tradition of democracy?! You can make a difference! Have your voice heard! Get one of those braggy stickers that say “I Voted!” Power to the people!
Every single one of your annoying Facebook friends is just as excited about taking part in the magic of democracy, and they are all way more vocal about it than you. Also, you have a sneaking suspicion that when you vote for President, the ballot is also going to include a bunch of stuff about local elections. You know, those ones you have no idea about, haven’t researched at all, and have zero interest in.
Fall is the season of hot coffee, apple cider, cocoa and mulled wine. Not coincidentally, it is also the season of feeling all comfy and cozy on a window loveseat while you snuggle under a blankie. It’s scientifically proven that drinking warm things makes you feel warm feelings. Why else would everyone in that coffeeshop on Friends be so happy all the time?
Warm drinks are one of those things that you like in theory, but as soon as you take a sip of one and immediately spit it all over yourself because it’s scalding, you remember how overrated they are in practice. It’s almost impossible to pinpoint the split-second window when a drink is cool enough not to burn your tongue but warm enough to not be disgusting. You feel guilty about it going to waste, but who really wants to drink a giant mug of cloyingly sweet lukewarm chocolate? Sticky children, that’s who.
Thanksgiving: the only holiday that is 100% purely about eating. And also being grateful, or whatever. More importantly: stuffing, pumpkin pie, and oh, what? It’s suddenly considered acceptable to eat potatoes with MARSHMALLOWS baked into them? Okay! I WILL have seconds, Uncle Joel, and now that I’m a grownup, I’ll also tell you to your face that your political opinions are stupid.
Uncle Joel? Can you guys hear me down there? I don’t know why I’m still at the kids’ table. Turkey’s kinda dry, huh, cousin Madison? Yes, I know that Thanksgiving is the celebration of the massacre of an entire indigenous people. I went through a 6th grade goth phase too. You’re not special.
Calling It Autumn
Fall is the only season to have an alternate name for when you feel extra fancy and whimsical. “Fall” might be rainy and boring and cold, but AUTUMN is going to be a goddamn romantic paradise wonderland of long walks and golden sunsets. Set to an all-Ella Fitzgerald/Louis Armstrong soundtrack.
Are you William Wordsworth? Seriously, are you? Are you a poet who was born in 1770 and helped define the Romantic Age of English Literature and had a weird borderline-incest relationship with your sister Dorothy? No? Then say “fall” like the rest of us, you pretentious twit.
It’s Almost Winter
Snowmen! Gingerbread! Christmas! Twinkle lights! Frost! Snow days! Getting presents! Boots! Roaring fires! Sledding!
Slush! Ice! Winter coats! Cold! Your annual family fight! Buying presents! Holiday weight! Disgusting eggnog! Bad Christmas movies! More cold!