11 Cheap Date Ideas For The Fall

11 Cheap Date Ideas For The Fall

Pumpkin patches, Haunted Houses, Fall photoshoots and more!
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Fall is here finally, but this season there's more than leaves just falling. Love is lingering in the air and the best way to win someone's heart over is taking them on a fun fall date. So much to do, in just one month here’s a few ideas to fill your October with that won’t break your budget.

1. Pumpkin patch/ Pumpkin carving

Pumpkins are the face of fall and luckily, they’re just about everywhere. The perfect inexpensive date this fall is to go and pick out your perfect pumpkin with the perfect person or pick each other’s.

2. Apple picking

Luckily most apple orchards have pumpkins as well, pick up your favorite fall fruits and make a day out of it.

3. Hayrides

From haunted to family fun, hayrides in the fall are a fun and quick getaway.

4. Haunted house

The scarier the better. Haunted houses are the perfect time to grab someone close and be scared together, or just laugh at the ridiculous actors.

5. Scary movie night in

Apple cider, "The Goonies" and chill? Grab some festive snacks and cuddle up to some good old Halloween themed movies.

6. Fall cooking

From caramelizing your apples to baking a good old fashioned pie, check out Pinterest for some amazing recopies and spend some quality time in the kitchen, then spend some time enjoying your masterpiece of course.

7. Goodwill/ costume hunting

Nothing’s better than a homemade costume, why not turn your costume shopping into a date? Find out what looks good on your partner, or what’s just flat out goofy on them.

8. "Boo" someone

Create a basket of Halloween goodies and ding dong ditch one of your friends with the surprise for them, leave them a sheet with a ghost on it that tells them they got booed and tell them to continue the tradition on.

9. Target dollar section

You can’t go wrong with visiting the Target dollar section if you’re a Halloween fan. The fun never stops between plastic pumpkins to Halloween candies and really anything spooky you can think of for just a dollar.

10. Rake leaves

Doing labor work on a date sounds boring? Nah raking leaves can easily be turned into a ton of fun. Create piles, jump in, throw leaves at each other and take pictures. Easy fun.

11. Fall photoshoot

This one’s easy and costs nothing. Take your girl or man to a place with lots of colorful leaves and snap some pics or surround yourself with bright orange pumpkins and make your partner take pictures for you. There are so many opportunities for nature to be your backdrop.

Cover Image Credit: Sierra Gardner

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Here's Why You Shouldn't Donate to The Salvation Army This Holiday Season (Or Ever)

No, I’m not a grinch or a scrooge. I’m just a member of the LGBT+ community that is tired of seeing my community suffer at the hands of organizations that are supposed to help us.
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The holiday season is upon us, bringing mall Santas, twinkling lights, and the well-known bell ringers with their red buckets stationed outside busy department stores. The Salvation Army is a mainstay in the memories of our childhood holidays. I remember a number of years where my parents would give each of my sisters and I a handful of change to put in the shiny red bucket as we walked into Wal-Mart to shop for our family Christmas dinner. On the surface, the Salvation Army is an organization with good intentions of helping the less fortunate, especially during the holiday season. However, a quick Google search exposes the organization’s discriminatory practices.

The Salvation Army is a Protestant Christian denomination and an international charitable organization. Their mission statement, as stated on their website, reads: “The Salvation Army, an international movement, is an evangelical part of the universal Christian Church. Its message is based on the Bible. Its ministry is motivated by the love of God. Its mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination.”

Despite their insistence of nondiscriminatory practices, however, there have been several instances of discrimination, specifically against members of the LGBT+ community. In July 2017, a Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Center in Brooklyn, New York, was found by the New York City Commission on Human Rights (NYCCHR) to be discriminating. Three other centers in New York City were also cited as being discriminatory. Violations within the four centers included refusing to accept transgender people as patients or tenants, assigning trans people rooms based on their sex assigned at birth instead of their lived gender identity, unwarranted physical examinations to determine if trans people are on hormone therapy or have had surgery, and segregating transgender patients into separate rooms. The NYCCHR had been tipped off about the mistreatment, and testers from the commission went to the cited centers and found clear evidence of the mistreatment. One of the clinics told the testers outright, “No, we don’t [accept transgender patients].” Another clinic’s representative said, “People with moving male parts would be housed with men.”

This isn’t the first time the Salvation Army has discriminated specifically against transgender people. In 2014, a transgender woman from Paris, Texas fled her home due to death threats she received related to her gender identity. The police told her, “Being the way you are, you should expect that.” She went to Dallas and found emergency shelter at the Carr P. Collins Social Service Center, run by the Salvation Army. The emergency shelter allowed her to stay for 30 days. Towards the end of her 30-day stay, she began looking for other long-term shelter options. One option many of the other women staying in the shelter had recently entered was a two-year housing program also run by the Salvation Army. When the woman interviewed for the program, she was told she was disqualified for the program because she had not had gender reassignment surgery. The counselor for the program later claimed there was a waiting list, but it came out that two women who arrived at the emergency shelter after the transgender woman had already entered the program. The transgender woman filed a complaint with Dallas’s Fair Housing Office, which protects against discrimination on the basis of gender identity. She was able to find other housing through the Shared Housing Project, a project that aims to find transgender people with housing who are willing to support those without.

The Salvation Army’s Christian affiliation drives the organization’s statements and beliefs. The church has a page on its website dedicated to its decided stance on the LGBT+ community that seems to paint a nice picture. Their actions, however, tell a different story. There have been several accounts reporting the Salvation Army’s refusal of service to LGBT+ people unless they renounce their sexuality, end same-sex relationships, or, in some cases, attend services “open to all who confess Christ as Savior and who accept and abide by The Salvation Army’s doctrine and discipline.” The church claims it holds a “positive view of human sexuality,” but then clarifies that “sexual intimacy is understood as a gift of God to be enjoyed within the context of heterosexual marriage.” This belief extends to their staff, asking LGBT+ employees to renounce their beliefs and essentially their identity in order to align with the organization. The Salvation Army believes that “The theological belief regarding sexuality is that God has ordained marriage to be between one man and one woman and sexual activity is restricted to one’s spouse. Non-married individuals would therefore be celibate in the expression of their sexuality.” Essentially, gay people can’t get married. Unmarried people can’t have sex. Therefore, gay people are forbidden from being intimate with one another. This is unfair to ask of any employee, especially considering that one’s relationship status does not interfere with how well anyone can do their job.

If you are still looking to donate to a non-homophobic and transphobic organization this holiday season, here are some great pro-LGBT+ organizations with outreach similar to that of the Salvation Army:

  • Doctors Without Borders: medical and emergency relief
  • Habitat for Humanity: homelessness and housing
  • Local homeless shelters: search the National Coalition for the Homeless’ website for shelters near you!
  • Local food bank: find your local food bank through Feeding America here.
  • The Trevor Project: a leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBT+ young people ages 13-24.
Cover Image Credit: Ed Glen Today

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Living In One Season Just Isn't For Me

Season Greetings aren't really a thing in India

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Seasonal depression or mild Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is an issue I sometimes struggle with, and it has kicked in overdrive since starting school in D.C. Once the city falls back due to daylight savings, everything turns bleak. The sun sets earlier, and the temperature begins to drop. I used to dread the creeping transition between mid-fall and early winter.

While abroad, I have been having an issue with the fact that there aren't really seasons in India. Barring the rainy monsoon season that stems from August to early November, the weather is pretty much the same every single day. You generally expect highs reaching the 90s with humidity of fifty to sixty percent.

I almost feel like time is standing still. I miss being able to transition from shorts to sweaters. Spending Halloween and Thanksgiving here sweating while wearing shorts just felt so strange. It felt especially strange when I would get pictures of snow falling. Now, it is December and I still cannot walk down the street without sweat dripping down my forehead. I am not complaining that it is always sunny in India, but rather I have come to the realization that I need more variety.

From this, I have learned that I need to live somewhere where the seasons change. I want to be able to see leaves fall and shovel snow and fight off spring allergies (this one is typed with a little less enthusiasm, but nonetheless). I am so thrilled to fly back into New Jersey where the weather is quite literally all over the place. I also feel a little better about trudging through the bleak DC winter as long as I get to see the cherry blossoms come spring.

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