And so the monthly Tips for Transplants series comes full circle: In October of 2016, we ran the first monthly rules list, all about the unwritten suggestions for surviving and thriving in Denver like you had a NATIVE bumper sticker on your Outback. And we've kept it going, every thirty days or so, to the amusement of some and the extreme indifference of others. But still, we persisted.
The biggest thing to hit Denver every September is undoubtedly the Broncos, so we're going to stipulate that the Broncos are going to be the biggest dang thing in town for most of September and, Elway willing, on through January. But we could write a list about the Broncos all by its lonesome (we have, and we will again). So what else needs be said about the finale of summer and the first flourish of fall? Without further ado, here's the final installment of Westword's Tips for Transplants, September style.
10. Don’t Use the Phrase “Indian Summer”
Does this go without saying yet? (Trump is still in office, so we’re going to guess that it doesn't.) It doesn’t matter if the phrase refers to skin color, or the traditional hunting season, or some archaic notion that Native Americans are untrustworthy and so a false summer in the early fall was named for them. The term is racist, and people shouldn’t use it. This isn’t an issue with two sides — or if there are two sides, it’s a pretty simple dichotomy: right and completely wrong.
9. Pay Attention to the Upcoming Election
No, there aren’t any major races in 2017, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t an election. There are municipal decisions to make every November, even when we’re not arguing over state or national representation — and that includes things like a near-billion-dollar set of bond issues that Denver voters will have to face, deciding whether to support things like transportation, libraries and hospitals. You know — the everyday stuff we use and value and often take for granted.
8. It’s Time to Layer Again
Temps during the days will start to cool off quickly in September — we’ll still have a few scorchers, but not many. More important, we’ll have far more jacket days in Denver — or at least jacket moments, which is to say that you’ll be sweating in the heat of the day and then freezing by five or so. By the end of September, after it’s officially fall, you’ll definitely be feeling it and once again worshipping at the North Face altar, which is primarily made from fleece and condescension.
7. Take in the Aspens
Load up the Subaru and take to the mountains in late September, the last couple of weeks of which mark the start of the peak viewing time for seeing the foliage turn from green to gold and red and Broncos orange. There’s no way to specifically target the best time — it came early in 2016, and has sometimes not really kicked in until October, but the last week of September is generally a good week to pencil in on the road-trip calendar.
6. Don’t Trust the Peaches
Face it: The produce of summer has officially passed you by at this point, smoothie king. It was nice while it lasted — Western Slope peaches, especially — but what you can find by September will make you (and everyone in your household, when you fill the fruit bowl with brown, leaky peaches) plum sad. Speaking of plums, they’re out, too. It’s all apples and pears and bananas, unless you go with frozen or get used to disappointment.
5. Yes, You Still Have to Mow
Don’t put away that John Deere riding mower that looked like so much fun in the showroom but that you now admit was probably not the best investment for your fifteen-by-twenty-foot back yard in Stapleton. The grass still grows in September, if not quite as fast as in the previous months, and if you stow all your yard-care gear too early, you’ll be “that house” until the spring. On the bright side, once you’ve gained “that house” status, you’re relatively free from other restraints, so leave your Christmas lights up all year, and go ahead and put that late-’70s Mercury Zephyr up on blocks in the front yard.
4. Face It: You’ve Forgotten Math
If you’re a parent, September is your annual reminder that, yes, you’ve forgotten all the mathematics you learned from middle school forward. Polynomials? The distributive property? Yes, those were things. You might remember that the Scarecrow on The Wizard of Oz knew the Pythagorean theorem (though he was sort of wrong, new brain and all), but you just recognize the name. You don’t remember what a cosine is, but you know that tangents are things your sister goes off on all the time. It’s not so much that you’ve lost knowledge: You’ve just made room for more important stuff, like the family genealogies on Game of Thrones.
3. Gear Up for the Great Indoors
While there’s still some time left to enjoy the outdoors — especially if you’re a skier and your favorite season is just around the corner — there’s no doubt that Denverites tend to spend more time inside than out starting every fall. So prep for that: Make sure your fireplace is ready for use, invest in a small stack of good books (start with this list, if you want solid state-centered options), stock up on hot chocolate and mini-marshmallows and creamy soups and whatever you’re going to want when it’s snowy and cold outside and you just can’t deal. The couch will be calling; prep for the inevitable.
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2. Start Deciding on Your Halloween Costume
When the pop-up Halloween stores arrive in the shells of old Circuit City stores in strip malls across Denver, you know it’s almost time for the season of tricks and treats. And you also know that all the good costumes are going to be snapped up by the first week in October, and you’ll be left with the dregs. Do you really want to be a hobo? A banana? A random hodge-podge of angel wings and devil horns and a nun’s habit and a plastic ax and a mask that you think is supposed to be either an old George W. Bush leftover, or possibly the second Darren from Bewitched? Of course you don’t.
1. But Don’t Buy a Pumpkin Yet
Pumpkins purchased in September don’t generally turn into Jack-o-Lanterns. They turn into mush. Happy fall!