The 10 Best Ways to Celebrate Fall on Campus

The 10 Best Ways to Celebrate Fall on Campus

Written by Angele Latham

Ah, fall in Tennessee. It’s a wonderful idea, even if the weather doesn’t cooperate and it really just feels like an extended summer. But even though it may feel miserably hot, we can still celebrate fall in other ways.  Campus is full of activities to help you cozy up and get in the festive autumn mood. So break out your sweaters, pumpkins and hot cocoa mugs: here are 10 ways to celebrate fall on campus.

Forget winter – fall is Coming.

1) Get cozy with Starbucks

Starbucks Fall Beverage selections

Photo: Starbucks

Trying to schedule group meetings? Stressing about upcoming mid-terms? Your solution is obvious: Starbucks. Everyone’s favorite fix-it-all, Starbucks has everything you could possibly want: coffee, tea, iced coffee and teas, sandwiches, snacks, and more. And especially for fall, they have the annual drink tradition of Pumpkin Spice Lattes, Salted Caramel Macchiatos, as well as new additions such as the Teavana Pumpkin Spice Chai Latte. And to sweeten the deal even more, every Wednesday from 6 to 8 p.m. (excluding Nov. 30) is Open Mic Night, where you can come see local artists perform music, comedy, spoken word poetry, or improv! So don your sweaters, grab your autumn drinks, and get your indie fix at our favorite Starbucks, located in the left front corner of the James E. Walker Library.

2) Get ready to scream with the October ScareFest

Dancing Michael Myers from Halloween

Cute sweaters and cozy drinks not quite your thing for fall? Need something more hardcore? Well, we’ve got that covered too. Throughout the month of October in the Student Union Theater, come join other scare-junkies and watch an array of horror films put on for free by SPARE (Student Programming and Raider Entertainment). Check out the schedule for the fall movies below!

Friday the 13th

Oct. 12 at 6 p.m. and 9 p.m., and Oct. 13 at 6 p.m. only.

Annabelle: Creation

Oct. 19 through Oct. 21 at 6 p.m. and 9 p.m.

For full listings, check out the SPARE webpage on

3) McCallie’s  and Raider Zone’s Fall Food Specials

As many of you all know, McCallie and the Raider Zone are always blessing us with special monthly meal events, like Taco Tuesdays, Smores Night, Smoothie bars, etc. Well have they got a line up for you this month! October is stuffed to the brim with amazing specials and events to bring us cheer and autumn fun. From candy apples to pumpkin carving, there are endless treats for you to explore. Here is the full fall schedule:

Monday, Oct. 9 – Candy Apple Day

Raider Zone Dining Hall – Lunch

Featuring traditional red candied apples and a dipping station for sliced apples with caramel, chocolate and assorted toppings.

Tuesday, Oct. 10 – Tailgate Meal

McCallie Dining Hall – Lunch

Join us as we serve up tailgating favorites chicken tenders and BBQ sandwiches with sides.

Wednesday, Oct. 11 – Fall Festival

McCallie Dining Hall – Lunch

Autumn is in the air for this festival, featuring games, giveaways and carnival fare!

Oct. 23 – 27

Dining Services Customer Appreciation Week – A week of Spooktacular deals at campus dining locations!

Wednesday, Oct. 25 – October McCallie Meet-up

McCallie Dining Hall, 5-7 p.m.

Halloween Party Meet & Greet at McCallie.  Come hang out and meet new people, or just hang with your friends!  Feel free to dress up (no masks, please) and enjoy treats and games.

Monday, Oct. 30 – Dining Services Pumpkin Carving Contest

McCallie Dining Hall & Raider Zone Dining Hall

Carve pumpkins to be displayed in the dining halls.  Guests will vote on their favorites on Halloween and there will be one winner from each location that will receive FREE FlexBucks!

Tuesday, Oct. 31 – Halloween Spooktacular

Raider Zone Dining Hall, Lunch

McCallie Dining Hall, Dinner

The Sweet Shoppe will turn into a spooky sight… with desserts sure to spark a fright!

4) The Annual Rutledge Haunted House

Every year, RAs and residents on campus put on the terrifying Rutledge Haunted House, where students can go and walk the haunted halls of the Rutledge Dorm. If you need a scare fix and are up for a fright, stop by! The event takes place on Oct. 30 at 6-10 p.m. Organizers are asking that each student bring a canned good, clothing item, or $1 to donate, which will all go to the food pantry on campus.

5) Time Warp: The Rocky Horror Picture Show is Back

One of MTSU’s most hallowed traditions, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, is back and ready for action! Probably the oddest, most off-the-wall cult film ever made, this kinky rock’n’roll science fiction horror satire is everybody’s favorite midnight show.  Join your fellow Raiders in the KUC Theater on Friday, Oct. 20, or Saturday, Oct. 21, for the experience of a lifetime. Online tickets are on sale from Oct. 6 until 4 p.m. on Oct. 20 and door sales are first-come, first-served only. (This is an 18+ or College ID event, and organizers ask that you do not bring squirt guns or candles. For a full list of allowed props, check here.) This event fills up fast, so hurry!

6) Fall Dance Concert

Rocky Horror a little too much for you? There are other fall performances you might enjoy. The MTSU Dance Theatre puts on the wonderful Fall Dance Concert annually, featuring students from across all fields of MTSU. Pop into Tucker Theatre on Thursday, Nov. 30 – Saturday, Dec. 2 to see a gorgeous display of ballet, jazz, tap, West African and contemporary dances. The show, featuring guest artist Windship Boyd, a renowned dancer, will include seven acts covering a variety of dance genres. 

7) Meet Autumn on its own turf with MTOP

There is no better way to experience autumn than going head first into it, and no better way to do that than with MTOP (Middle Tennessee Outdoor Pursuits)! MTOP takes students on amazing outdoor adventures around Tennessee and sometimes around the country. The excursions are for every skill level, and upcoming events range from backpacking to caving, to kayaking. Fall is the perfect weather for hiking and camping! Prices vary depending on the event, but every dollar is worth it! This semester’s events are listed here on the Campus Recreation page along with more helpful information.

    • Backpacking, Appalachian Trail — Fall Break, $50
    • Cave Kayaking, Snail Shell Cave — Oct. 21, $25
    • Hiking and Waterfall Tour in South Cumberland, Tennessee — Oct. 28, $15
    • Caving, Howard’s Waterfall Cave — Nov. 4, $15
    • Ski Trip, Winter Park, Colorado — January 2018, Prices TBD

8) Fall in love with our Autumn leaves

While this may seem like a pretty basic thing to list, MTSU really does have some of the most beautiful fall foliage in Middle Tennessee. This is all due to the fact that we are actually a registered Level 1 Arboretum — meaning we have so many species of trees from all over Tennessee that we are a driving force of conservation. Even the Grove is a historic piece of nature — it’s full name is the Walnut Grove, and is planted from walnuts straight from Mount Vernon. So dust off your hammock, picnic basket, and favorite book, because you have the perfect scenery for your perfect afternoon. (Just don’t trip on the walnuts — we all know they’re plotting against us.)

9) Star Viewing Parties

Night image of MTSU Star Viewing Party

MTSU Star Party hosted by MTSU Department of Physics & Astronomy. Photo:

Honestly, who doesn’t love a good, cozy, stargazing night? Every first Friday of each month, the Astronomy and Physics Department puts on a Star Party for MTSU students and the general public. Fall is the perfect stargazing weather, and they’ll make it even easier on you by giving a short lecture on stargazing, and then giving you access to top-notch telescopes. The entire event is free, and if you’re interested, pop into the SCI 1006 room at 6:30 p.m. for the lecture, and then head down to the Observatory to use the telescopes. This is an event you do not want to miss!

10) Raiders in costume

And, finally, our last item, though arguably one of the most important: dressing up for Halloween! Costumes on campus are encouraged — what better way to celebrate even if you’re in classes? Wear crazy costumes, wear subtle costumes: it doesn’t matter, as long as it puts you in the Halloween spirit. (Just make sure you have no weapons, masks, or extensive face paint.)

Student dressed up as zombie at MTSU Halloween Party

Photo: Eventbrite