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Festive fall activities for the broke college student

Though it's 90 degrees out, there are plenty of nearby fall festivities for college students

A woman paints a skeleton face on a young visitor at the 2015 Dia de los Metros at the Mesa Arts Center.

A woman paints a skeleton face on a young visitor at the 2015 Dia de los Metros at the Mesa Arts Center.

The leaves are changing colors, pumpkin spice is in everything and students are cramming for midterms — which means that fall is in full swing. Whether it's hot-air balloon rides or celebrating the dead, October is filled with actives that students with limited time and money can partake in.

Love pumpkins, hay and corn mazes?


What's fall without pumpkin patches? They are a staple of the fall season and a top destination for anyone looking for that insta-worthy picture.

With a few spots scattered around the Tempe and Phoenix area, students can pop into them and pay practically nothing to relive some childhood memories from their hometown patch.

Nursing sophomore Ashlee Thomason said that visiting local patches in Tempe with her friends reminded her of her days back home in Texas. 

"We'd go to this cute little country side pumpkin patch with corn mazes in the middle-of-nowhere Texas on the side of the road," Thomason said. "For years this was one of my favorite things to do with my family on a holiday. There's just something really special about getting to go with your family to a pumpkin patch that has a fall and Halloween feel to it."

MacDonald's Ranch will cost $10 Monday through Friday and $12 Saturdays and Sundays and Vertuccio Farms is $9 Monday through Sunday. Check out their websites for more info.

Fan of spooky poetry?


Thought Edgar Allen Poe's work was scary when reading it in high school English? Now his famous pieces of literature come to life at the eighth annual Poefest in Downtown Phoenix.

This isn't a dull and dark reading of Poe's work. The readers who put on the performances emerge themselves in his work and bring the audience with them too.

Posing as inmates in an insane asylum, they recite Poe's darkest fables to a more than creeped out audience. If that isn't spooky enough, one can participate in Poefest's séance show, made especially for those who want to connect with the spirit world or just want to be on a whole new level of eeriness.

With performances continuing every Friday and Saturday until Halloween, students can nab a ticket for $22, while general admission is $26. For more info, visit their website.

Want to be carried away in a balloon?


The Salt River Fields Balloon Spooktacular has over 20 balloons on display with different lights and designs displayed across the huge grass field in Scottsdale. The sixth annual festival occurs Oct. 28 and 29 with plenty of food, drinks and activities for everyone to enjoy.

Though the event has many things for children, Vice President of Aerial Solutions Vanessa Clifton said that college students can still find a lot of entertainment at the festival.

"We have found that no matter what age you are, there is a certain element of wonder that hot air balloons hold for people," Clifton said. "While the trick-or-treating at the hot air balloons is geared for children, the opportunity to get up close and personal with the balloons, pilots and crews has a draw for all ages."

There is a charge to get into the festival but it does offer some free amenities, like a free haunted zone for those who seek even more scares. For those who shell out another $25, they can get a ride in a hot air balloon and overlook the valley of Scottsdale from high in the sky.

Adult tickets are $15. Visit the festival's website to learn more.

Interested in the Day of the Dead?


El Dia de los Muertos, or The Day of the Dead, is one of the biggest celebrations in Mexico and lucky for Arizonans, a festival dedicated to it is happening a few miles off campus.

It's an event that honors those who have passed away and seeks to remember their lives. The festival is located at the Mesa Arts Center and is free for everyone. It has an assortment of food, art, music and much more.

Casey Blake, Director of Public Relations of the center, said the festival brings all types of people, especially college students interested in the concept of Dia de los Muertos.

"The festival offers a nonstop lineup of entertainment, from traditional to more present day," said Blake. "We truly see people of all ages at this event every year. It's a big party with something for everyone."

The festival is only for two days, Oct. 22 and 23 and is a perfect opportunity for those who attend to learn more about Mexican culture and this celebration of life.

Admission is free, but be sure to check their website for entertainment line-ups, food vendors and much more.

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