Students share their fall starter packs

Above an orange rug is a bowl of candy corn, a pumpkin-embroidered cushion, a Pepperdine SWAB mug, and two small stuffed pumpkins. As fall approaches, students said they looking forward to celebrating Halloween, Thanksgiving and other fall festivities. Pictures of Sammie Wuensche

The last weeks of summer before fall allow students to prepare for the start of the new school year and to acclimatise to the return to class. Now that midterms are slowly moving forward, students said they were eager to ditch swimwear and shorts for chilly nights in cozy cardigans.

“Fall is my favorite season of the year, so I’m very, very excited that it’s getting colder and the leaves are getting different bright colors,” said sophomore Fatima Reyes. “Love the constant smell of pumpkin and cinnamon all around.”

Fall Flowers at Costco
Various bouquets of colorful flowers in the colors of autumn are placed on a beautiful display. The fall foliage accompanying the fall season inspired festivities among the students. Photo credit: Sammie Wuensche

Senior Aubrey Henrie said she loves the cozy atmosphere of fall and all the anticipation of fall vacation.

For me, fall is all about comfortable and cozy vibes,” Henrie said.

Junior Courtney Wisniewski also said she loves fall and her favorite holiday is Thanksgiving. Wisniewski said she loves the color orange to be everywhere during the season and appreciates all of the vibrant changes in nature that fall brings.

“I grew up in the south where the seasons are very pronounced,” Wisniewski said. “People are starting to get ‘in shape’, the air smells fresher and fun fall foods are coming out. I especially like it when Trader Joe’s moves towards its down line.

Although many students are excited about fall, the season is not everyone’s cup of tea. Senior Samantha Ortega said she has mixed feelings about the fall season.

“Fall is not my favorite or favorite season, however, I always enjoy it,” Ortega said. “I love how it’s the start of a colder season where we can get cozy inside, start wearing more layers and drink hot chocolate.”

Halloween candy at Costco
Large containers filled with colorful bags of bite-sized Halloween candy are sold at Costco in Woodland Hills, California on September 22. Every year, millions of children across the country dress up in costumes and participate in the tradition of trick-or-treating on Halloween night. Photo credit: Sammie Wuensche

Despite conflicting feelings about the changing seasons, many students recognize the importance of the beloved Pumpkin Spice Latte. The seasonal flavor is a favorite among students like Reyes and Wisniewski.

“I always have to drink a steady amount of frozen pumpkin spice lattes in the fall before they take away the pumpkin flavor,” Reyes says.

For those who don’t drink coffee, Henrie said she recommends an iced chai with pumpkin syrup — her favorite order for fall. Henrie also said she enjoys baking seasonal desserts like Pillsbury Pumpkin Sugar Cookies and Pumpkin Bread.

“I love chai tea or pumpkin spice,” Wisniewski said. “If pumpkin spice was served year-round, I’d be happier than ever.”

Student Alyssa Hornback's PSL September 23rd
PSL student Alyssa Hornback on September 23 Photo credit: Sammie Wuensche

As pumpkin permeates students’ fall favorites lists, some are gearing up for fall with their favorite shows and movies. Ortega said she loves watching classic kids’ Halloween movies like “The Nightmare Before Christmas” and “Monster House.”

Other students said they like movies that remind them of past fall seasons. Henrie recommends the “Twilight” and “Harry Potter” series for the fall — and Reyes said her favorite show for the fall was “Gilmore Girls.”

“‘Gilmore Girls’ is the first fall for me and I always feel very nostalgic,” Reyes said. “I also love watching all the ‘Halloweentown’ movies because it harkens back to the early days of Disney.”

fall leaves on campus september 23
The leaves of the trees found on the main campus turn brown slowly in the Southern California climate. Autumn leaves ushered in the start of fall activities. Photo credit: Sammie Wuensche

The students said they look forward to local fall festivities like the Calabasas Pumpkin Festival and the annual Malibu City Halloween Carnival at Malibu Bluffs Park. Students said they take advantage of many horror-filled opportunities in Southern California to celebrate Halloween, such as the Oogie Boogie Bash at Disneyland’s California Adventure and Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Hollywood.

“I’m not one to like scary things, but since my friend works there, I hope to go to Horror Nights at some point,” Ortega said.

Senior Aubrey Henrie puts on a flannel and enjoys candy corn in her apartment.
Senior Aubrey Henrie puts on a flannel and enjoys candy corn in her apartment. Photo credit: Sammie Wuensche

Others prefer to keep the scares to a minimum and celebrate the season in their own way. Henrie and Wisniewski said they can’t wait to decorate their apartments for the spooky season and plan to host fall movie marathons for Halloween.

The students said music can also set the mood for any fall activity. Playlists are key to cultivating the ultimate, cozy fall aesthetic, and some songs sound like fall, Ortega said.

Here are the top five student songs that get them into the spirit of fall:


Taylor Swift’s “Cardigan”

“505” by Arctic Monkeys

“Dark Red” by Steve Lacy

“Projector Pluto” by Rex Orange County

“Beige” by Yoke Lore

Cover of alternative artist Steve Lacy for his album,
Alternative artist Steve Lacy’s cover for his album, “Steve Lacy’s Demo,” shows Lacy kneeling with an electric guitar in a red flannel. Lacy’s song “Dark Red” is about the singer’s infatuation with someone they think will break his heart. Photo courtesy of RCA Records


“Kiss Me” by Sixpence None the Richer.

“Betty” by Taylor Swift

“Daydreams Cigarette” by Cage the Elephant

Cherry Wine by Hozier

Taylor Swift’s “Red”

Alternative artist Hozier's album cover for
Alternative artist Hozier’s album cover for “Hozier” shows an artistic rendition of the Irish singer’s silhouette with a dream house landscape. Hozier’s “Cherry Wine” deals with the sweet and painful aspects of an abusive relationship. Photo courtesy of Columbia Records


“Sweet Creature” by Harry Styles

Taylor Swift’s “Ivy”

From Eden by Hozier

“For Emma” by Bon Iver

“Sunrise” by Norah Jones

Alternative artist Bon Iver's album cover for
Alternative artist Bon Iver’s album cover for “For Emma, ​​Forever Ago” shows a hazy, unclear take on an image from the woods. Bon Iver’s song, “For Emma”, looks back on the singer’s past and evokes the end of a relationship. Photo courtesy of Jagjaguwar Records


“Drunk on Halloween” van Wallows

“First Love / Late Spring” by Mitski

“The Ghosts of Beverly Drive” by Death Cab for Cutie

“Can I Believe You” door Fleet Foxes

Hallucinogenics by Matt Maeson

Cover of the inde-alternative band Wallow for their EP
Indie-alternative band Wallow’s cover for their EP “Drunk on Halloween” features a cloudy sky with a vignette filter. This single describes a high school heartbreak story. Photo courtesy of Atlantic Records

Autumn shows itself more subtly in Malibu than in most places — main campus leaves rotate brown and the sun sets earlier. Students said they look forward to days of warm sweaters and cooler weather and celebrate the season as much or as little as they want.

“Fall has always been my favorite season,” Wisniewski said. “I love when the leaves start to change all the beautiful colors and when the mountains go from greens and blues to reds and oranges. I love the pumpkin decor, the pumpkin patches and the spice flavors to Pumpkin You can’t tell me fall isn’t the best season.


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Email Emma Ibarra: [email protected]

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