Falling for Fall Family Traditions in South Mississippi
In the classic novel The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote: “Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.”
The air is bracing, and the sun’s shadows are longer as the fall season approaches. Sweater weather returns, along with fall decorations and family traditions.
Lucedale residents Sandy and Steve Lott are parents to thirteen-year-old Ella Dean. A few weeks before Halloween, the Lotts paint pumpkins. On Halloween eve, they personalize carved pumpkins while watching “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.”
“We decorate our home inside and out,” Sandy Lott said. “Nothing too scary, but a touch of haunt for good fun.”
For this family, costumes for Halloween are also a must.
“Each year, I add a new picture of Ella in her costume on a clothesline that is displayed on the wall,” she said. “It’s my favorite decoration. I love looking at her costumes throughout the years. I’ve never been able to choose my favorite, because I love them all.”
The photographs bring back happy memories. On Halloween night, they get together with family and take the little ones trick-or-treating and to parade around local nursing homes. The family eats, laughs and jokes around about the past and the present. Campfires and roasting marshmallows are big things at the Lott house.
Ella said her favorite costume was from her sixth year. She dressed as a peacock, and enjoyed flaunting her feathers. She said she loves the cooler weather, the leaves falling, and pumpkin spice. She likes that her mom burns pumpkin-scented candles that make their home smell great.
She also has fond memories of Seward Farms (Sewardfarms.com — 10836 Tanner Williams Road, Lucedale — 228-641-3933), where she explored the corn maze with family and friends.
She won the fall dog show three years ago at Lucedale’s downtown Second Saturday. Inspired by The Wizard of Oz, Ella dressed as Dorothy. Her dog Copper was the Cowardly Lion, and her other dog, Rosie, was Toto.
Consider creating new fall family traditions for your own family. Do it like the Lotts have done for years, or create a fall celebration perfect for your own family.
At the Buzzard Ranch, in Lucedale, a family does something quite unique. The farmstead is owned by Sarah and David Dancsisin, parents of six-year-old Harper and three-year-old Hadley.
“On the ranch, we do a Halloween party and a mounted trunk or treat,” Sarah Dancsisin said. In their hayfield, parents and friends come and set up their car trunks. Kids and horses are decked out, and the whole group rides from trunk to trunk and to the neighbors, trick-or-treating for candy. Hot dogs are roasted on a bonfire.
One of the Dancsisin girls’ favorite fall activities is going to Williams Family Farms (Williamsfamilyfarms-ms.com — 98 B and W Road, Wiggins — 601-716-7698). Harper and Hadley go on a hayride and select their own pumpkin from the vine in a pumpkin patch.
Tiffany and Daniel Fairley are parents of Emma, who is six years old. They love church festivals, and especially enjoy going to Refuge United Methodist Church (Refugeumc.org — 6187 MS-63, Lucedale — 601-530-9027).
“All the games are related to the Bible,” Tiffany Fairley said, about her family’s personal preference.
“We love traveling to the mountains in the fall,” she added. The family rents a cabin. This year will be Emma’s second trip, and she is excited. The family is packing blankets to spread for picnicking when they visit Cade’s Cove in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. They delight in mountain views and wildlife.
Emma likes to help her mom decorate their home for fall, and loves seeing the leaves change colors.
Let these family traditions inspire you to create your own.
Freelance writer Mary C. Fairley lives with her husband, Buddy, in Lucedale. She’s a graduate of USM and is a mother and a grandmother. In addition to Parents & Kids, her work has been featured in Mississippi Magazine and other publications. Mary volunteers at the fall festival at First Baptist Church of Lucedale and prepares Beef Taco Chili to enter in the chili contest.