Through a variety of fall traditions, the season always brings the community of FHC back home


Members from The Central Singers proudly displaying their carved pumpkins

While she loves jumping into leaf piles and running through corn mazes, sophomore Autumn VanSolkema’s favorite fall tradition is visiting the Fallsburg Arts Festival—specifically, coloring tiny pumpkins. 

“It’s a great experience to walk around with your family and see all the art booths and look through all the art,” Autumn said. “Every year, there’s always this booth by the playground. There’s this table with little mini pumpkins that you get to color with Sharpies. I did a cityscape on mine this year.”

With local art businesses featuring pumpkins and light switch panels, Fallasburg is Autumn’s highlight of the season. Unfortunately, Autumn’s favorite season is, unironically, the summer, as it shines above the rest; nonetheless, Autumn still celebrates the traditions of her namesake with fall’s special spark of changing colors and festival traditions. 

There’s also just something about this season as the temperatures change, and you start moving into winter that’s just thrilling, especially in a place like Michigan where you can actually feel the change of season.

— Sean Ivory

Junior Mahta Poostizadeh loves an entirely different aspect of the pumpkin traditions: the flavor. To Mahta, nothing can compare to the flawless sugary combination of coffee, pumpkin, cinnamon, and whipped cream, along with everything else pumpkin flavored. 

“I like hanging out with friends, getting drinks, walking around, and getting a pumpkin spice latte,” Mahta said. “Pumpkin spice lattes are so good, and pumpkin spice pretzels are so underrated; they’re really good.”

In addition to the tastes that surround the season, the fall aesthetic of watching movies while bundled up indoors provides an irreplaceable feeling of warmth and comfort. 

“Ever since fourth grade when I finished the Harry Potter series [around] fall, I started watching the movies [the next year], and then, it kept going on and on,” Mahta said. “I [also] like to watch Gilmore Girls and Dead Poets Society.

Throughout sweater weather, these movies will remain a staple custom for Mahta. While the outside world continues to change for better or worse,  the wizarding world of Harry Potter will always be a comforting constant to come back to. 

On the other hand, choir teacher Sean Ivory uses music to commemorate the time of the year. Specifically, a song that portrays failed love through a series of dreams.

“Every year for a while now, I have done a listening exercise with all my classes with this piece of music called ‘Symphonie Fantastique’ by Hector Berlioz,” Ivory said. “[It’s] a very spooky story . . . there are no words; it’s all done with tone painting. I’ll probably bring that out one of these days, and then we’ll spend a couple of days delving into it a little bit, and that always gets me in a nice Halloween spooky mood.”

To further bring the Halloween spirit to life within FHC’s vocalists, Ivory suggested a get-together for his zero-hour choir—the Central Singers—revolving around fall activities. Combining the power of spooky music and professional pumpkin carving techniques, the gathering was a major success. 

In addition to carving pumpkins, Ivory holds incredible respect for the flavor of the famous orange fruit—disregarding pumpkin spice lattes as standard black coffee will always be Ivory’s go-to. For example, the flavoring greatly complements the soup-making traditions of the Ivory household. 

“I love the taste of just pumpkin,” Ivory said. “[One] soup we make is called pumpkin corn chowder, and that takes an entire can of plain pumpkin filling; it’s really delicious, so I do like the flavor of pumpkin, and roasted pumpkin seeds are great.”

With music, soup, and pumpkins galore, the essence of fall comes alive in and out of the classroom. 

Although the unpredictable temperature shifts are a common annoyance for many Michiganders, one benefit is the true experience of all four seasons, and for Ivory, the nostalgia of autumn never gets old. 

“In some ways, [the fall] hasn’t changed because I still get the same feelings I got when I was ten as a 53-year-old,” Ivory said, “so there’s a lot of nostalgia, but like it’s not only nostalgia for my childhood; it’s from my kids’ childhoods. There’s also just something about this season as the temperatures change and you start moving into winter that’s just thrilling, especially in a place like Michigan where you can actually feel the change of season.”

To top off the month of October, Halloween boasts the favorite holiday title for many. Trick-or-treating and the eerie glow of a brisk October night is a lively experience for all ages. Whether it’s a child wandering through the spooky thrill for the first time, a high-schooler tasting their first chance at freedom, or a parent reminiscing through the eyes of their children, the holidays that come with fall never lack excitement. 

In regards to trick-or-treating, Autumn refuses to let the magic die now that she’s a high schooler, pulling out the costumes of Mario characters for an epic night with her friends. 

“I definitely like to dress up,” Autumn said. “Some people say that I’m too old to go trick or treating, but I think it’s just fun. Now that I [have] my license, I’m [going to] go where I want to, get some candy, and go home.”