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October outdoor fun! Top three activities in West London

Cold snaps in the morning air and an orange glow to the trees.  Autumn is certainly here now.  Embrace it with my best three fun outdoor activities for October.

Child having October fun in Autumn Leaves Autumn leaves

When the leaves start changing and falling the whole landscape of the woods changes.  It’s hard for kids to resist picking up the golden leaves, so make it part of the fun.  Crunch those leaves, have a leaf fight, collect the best for an autumn collage.

  • Where to do it?  Ruislip woods, Burnham beeches, anywhere with trees!
  • What do you need?  Wellies are wise so you don’t worry if those leaves are hiding a puddle!
  • How to do it  Choose a dry sunny day for the best crunchy leaves, and go on a leaf hunt.    Different trees will change colour at different times, so look at a variety.
  • What next?  There are loads of crafty ways to use autumn leaves.  Make a collage, decorate a lantern, make a leaf pictures, paint them, prints with them, and stick them on the walls.  More ideas here on buzzfeed.

 October fun at halloween - pumpkins and dressing up

Halloween fun

Spooky ghosts on dark nights aren’t the only Halloween activities, and for the very little ones it’s a good idea to make it more fun and less late night horror!  Try dressing up and going for a walk to find broomsticks, spiders webs and creepy crawlies.

  • Where to do it  Anywhere with lots of autumn leaves is even better when running round in dressing up costumes!   Pumpkin picking sounds fun and I’m going to try it this year at Crockford Bridge Farm Shop.
  • What you need  Scary dressing up outfits and glowing lanterns.
  • How to do it Try making your own outfits, starting off with some old clothes makes this quite easy.  Sew, glue or staple paper cutouts of bones, ghosts or scary things on and make your own cardboard mask.  Pumpkins can be bought in most supermarkets throughout October, ready to be scooped out and carved into a face, then lit with a candle (you can now buy led candles for safety if you want to carry the pumpkin around).
  • What next?  Trick or treating!

 

October fun picking sloes

Sloe Gin!

One for the adults to enjoy, but you can still get the kids involved to do all the picking for you!  Sloes are the fruit of the blackthorn bush which thrives on scrubland, they are black round berry sized fruits with a very bitter taste, so you won’t want to eat them.  But they do have a traditional use as flavouring for Sloe gin.

  • Where to do it The blackthorn bush is a native species which thrives on scrubland in sunny areas, locally many are to be found on Ickenham marshes.  Check this link for more details on identifying the blackthorn from the Woodland Trust.
  • What you need  A big bag.
  • How to do it  Sloes are ripe when they feel soft to the touch, usually in October to November, depending on weather.
  • What next?  Pop your sloes in gin and wait 3 months!  There’s a bit more to it than that though:
    • First the sloes should be frozen for a couple of days to rupture the skins and allow the flavours out
    • Choice of gin is important, a really nasty cheap gin may ruin all your hard work
    • Half fill a bottle with sloes and top up with gin – then leave it in the dark for at least 3 months!
    • The result will be bitter, so adding sugar is a must.  Adding sugar syrup after removing the sloes mean you can adjust the amounts for the perfect sweetness.
    • Enjoy responsibly!
    • more detailed instructions from Sipsmiths gin.

 

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