Football, pumpkins, piles of leaves, shorter days, crisper nights, the sights and smells of summer turning the corner into autumn. We asked some of the hottest personalities of the fall television season what makes this time of year so special.
Det. Jake Peralta/Brooklyn Nine-Nine
What comes to mind is carving pumpkins. Growing up in Berkeley, [Calif.]… I guess in every city pumpkin patches pop up where there never was one before. It’s a seasonal thing. We would go down to that parking lot and pick them out as a family. I have two older sisters, so we would each get our own. I would make dorky pumpkins. I would always do buck-toothed pumpkins because my favorite cartoon characters had buckteeth.
Host/Dancing with the Stars
I am a New Englander; I grew up in Massachusetts. My favorite season is autumn. Last year, I was asked to be a judge at the New Hampshire Film Festival, so I took a red-eye after the Dancing with the Stars [taping], got to our house in Connecticut, got a few hours sleep, and took a leisurely drive up to New Hampshire, pulling over every time a stand of trees made me breathless. I took pictures and stopped at little farm stands. I am a sucker for autumn in New England.
Alan de la Garza
I love Halloween. Dressing my 1-year-old as a pirate with a wig down to his knees and seeing him toddle around was one of my favorite Halloween memories. Once I dressed as Pippi Longstocking and my mom braided a hanger through my hair, and I actually went to school like that. Luckily, I didn’t pop somebody’s eye out.
Erin Lindsay/Chicago Fire
Every Thanksgiving, I used to bake pies with my mom. We don’t do traditional apple pies. We do really tart raspberry pies, and they are so, so good. Even now, whenever I come home from location, my mom will sometimes surprise me with a pie, and it’s really nice.
Capt. Sharon Raydor/Major Crimes
Thanksgiving is without a doubt the biggest holiday at my home in Los Angeles. Every year we host what we call Thanksgiving for the “orphans”—people in L.A. who don’t have family here, and we have all raised our children together. We’ve been doing it for 10 to 15 years, so we have a stable group of about 22, more or less. It is the holiday for us. After dinner, everyone pulls out the music, because everyone plays guitar or piano.
Host/The Meredith Vieira Show
It’s my favorite season. When I was a little kid, that day when you could walk through leaves and they would crunch under your feet, that to me was a magical day. You would put on a thick, wool sweater and go outside. Also, I have always loved Halloween. When I was doing The View and we would have elaborate costumes, I wouldn’t take them off afterwards, which would embarrass my children.
The Halloween story I always tell is I was about 12 and I went out as the Hunchback [of Notre Dame], and I had the ripped-up clothing, makeup on my eye, and I put a pillow at the top of my shirt. As I trick-or-treated, it slowly but surely drifted lower and lower down my back. One of the last houses I got to, the guy said, “What are you supposed to be?” I said, “I’m a hunchback.” He said, “It looks more like a hunchbum.” I was a big horror movie guy, so I was big into horror makeup. I knew who Lon Chaney was, so it mattered to me that I got the costumes right for Halloween.
My birthday is in October, so those were always pretty great right near Halloween! But my favorite Halloween costume would probably be when my parents would bandage me up and say I was a mummy every time. One year my dad built a shower around me with a rod and curtain and everything, so I was just walking roundabout in a shower.
Elizabeth Mccord/Madam Secretary
It’s trick or treat, are you kidding? It is the best part of the fall. I am an ambassador for UNICEF, so I actually dress up as a big, orange UNICEF box and I carry the boxes with me. I see kids who don’t have boxes, and I do like an origami thing and hand out UNICEF boxes. It is one of my favorite days of the year. I take my kids out with me, but they don’t do boxes. My daughter may be a box with me this year. [Son] Miller does some kind of freakish amoeba thing that I don’t understand. It has something to do with hip hop.
Det. Harvey Bullock/Gotham
My favorite fall memory would have to be Thanksgiving in 1989 in Truro, Mass. If you were there when the Mayflower first pulled up on the horizon, that is exactly what you would see from the window of my friend’s house.
Director/The Roosevelts: An Intimate History
I think the biggest thing for me when I grew up from ages 9 to 18 in Ann Arbor, Mich., were football Saturdays in the fall, which were spent kicking leaves down the sidewalks and listening to all the talk of everything happening with the football season. I loved the pageantry of it and participating in that with my family.
Special Agent Dwayne Pride/NCIS: NOLA
I’m from St. Louis, so we have a serious fall there. We have beautiful, changing leaves. We lived on a place that had 50 to 60 trees that all dropped their leaves every year, so we did a lot of raking at our house. But the big joy of raking was you had a big pile of leaves that was five or six feet deep and ten feet across, and then you would get up in a tree or on a ladder and jump into the leaves. We did that a lot while in the distance on Saturday afternoons, you could hear the football games and the band playing at the high school football stadium. That later became my high school when I was older.
D.B. Russell/CSI: Crime Scene Investigation
Growing up in Flagstaff, Arizona, we would go up to the San Francisco peaks and there were groves of aspen, and we would watch the leaves change and do that beautiful autumn thing. Because it was Arizona, that was our only shot at autumn leaves, so [my favorite thing about fall was] playing around the aspen groves as a little boy in the fall.
Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs/NCIS
As a kid, fall was always about the smell of cut grass and football. As a player, those were extended workout days and you were always having to deal with freshly cut grass on the field that had a particular smell—and it stuck to you. Everything itched!