Community Living: Fall Activities in Houston and Dallas, Texas

Community Living: Fall Activities in Houston and Dallas, Texas

As the saying goes, “Everything’s bigger in Texas”, and the amount of community-focused activities is no different. As stewards of homeowners associations in major Texas cities like Dallas and Houston, we want to share opportunities for our residents to explore and experience fun things in and around their city. You may be wondering, “why is our property manager providing such a rundown of nearby events?” Well, we feel that the best association management companies should be adding value however they can. As we see it, a big part of our jobs is to improve the lives of the residents that live in the Texas communities we manage.

Whether you’re a young professional, a growing family, or empty-nesters, these fantastic cities have something for everyone. There are a handful of annual events to start considering since many begin this month and move quickly into November. So get out your datebook and jot down some of these great options. Let’s start with the one that’s a sure crowd-pleaser – football! Before we know it, we’ll be in full holiday mode!

Fall Football

If there’s one sport that will resonate with almost every Texan, it’s football. Whether it’s high school, college, or NFL games, tailgating and watching your favorite team battle it out on the gridiron is something everyone loves. Whether you’re going to Arlington to see the Cowboys, or down to Houston to cheer on the Texans, football is something that brings us all together to enjoy good food, good company, and great games! If you prefer to cheer on your alma mater, check out the Tail Gate Guys that provide professional tailgate packages for multiple Texas colleges and universities.

Fall Marathons

Those in the Dallas area will have two options for partaking in upcoming marathons. The first is the Arlington marathon on 10/31. The second one is the Fort Worth marathon on 11/7, which might be the better choice for those who will be going trick-or-treating. For our residents in the Houston area, the Harvest Marathon Relay is coming up on 10/24.

Haunted Houses

What better way to get into the Halloween spirit than to visit a fright-inducing haunted house? For Dallas residents, look no further than the Cutting Edge Haunted House in Fort Worth, one of Texas’s highest-rated. It will take around an hour to walk through the haunted house located in an old abandoned meat packing plant (just typing that gives me goosebumps).

Houston area residents should consider the aptly named Houston Terror Dome for their local scare. 

Festivals and Events

The annual Autumn at the Arboretum has begun and offers multiple different activities and events for Dallas residents. There’s too much to describe here, but rest assured, there are day and night events, a Fall market, scavenger hunts, and even a fantastic pumpkin village with over 90,000 pumpkins (yes, you read that right!). This year’s theme is “Bugtopia,” so expect hands-on demos of some creepy-crawlies and “bugged-out” pumpkin houses.

Houston residents, you’re in luck, too, because you have one of the ultimate Fall festivals nearby at Dewberry Farm. With over 40 attractions at the farm to try, we can’t list them all. But trust us, this is one destination you won’t want to miss!

There’s a good chance you’ve heard about the wildly popular Van Gogh exhibit that tends to sell out everywhere it goes. This is one event that both Dallas and Houston are fortunate enough to both have in their cities. As described from the exhibit page, “Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience is a 20,000 square foot light and sound spectacular featuring two-story projections of the artist’s most compelling works.” If you’re in search of an activity that allows for easy social distancing and is suitable for people of all ages, then this is it.

If you haven’t already heard, the State Fair of Texas is back after a two-year sabbatical. Hurry up; this larger-than-life celebration of all things Texas ends October 17th! This is the longest-running State Fair in the U.S. and a great way to meet and interact with fellow Texans from across the state.

Visit a Local Farm 

Texans may not get as many Fall colors as the northern states, but its gorgeous fields of sunflowers, seasonal pickings, and of course, pumpkin patches and hayrides sure help make up for it. Texas farms have it all. Fortunately for residents, there are quite a few farms to see the beauty of blooming sunflowers.

For unforgettable hayrides, pumpkin picking, and corn mazes, head over to Hall’s Pumpkin Farm in Grapevine, just west of the DFW airport. This old-fashioned family farm welcomes people of all ages to explore Fall activities. There’s no better place to find that perfect pumpkin.

For Houston residents, look no further than Froberg’s Farm for a fantastic local Fall festival only thirty minutes south. Pick your giant sunflowers, fresh fruit, or just get lost in their vast corn maze! Plan on spending quite a few hours and gettin’ a little dirty!

Dallas Area Activities

Dallas by Chocolate Taste Tours

Want a tour of some decadent treats this Halloween? Well, the folks at Dallas By Chocolate have you covered. Whether you’re a self-proclaimed foodie or just like to eat, they have something for all appetites, including their famous Chocolate tour, a Progressive Halloween Eats tour, Taco and Margarita Tour, BBQ & Brewery tour, and even a Vegan tour! From now and into the holiday season, sign up for one of their highly acclaimed Dallas tours. 

Pumpkin Nights at Howell Farms, Now through Halloween

If there was a “holy land” of pumpkins, this just might be it. Bring your family and friends to stroll down a half-mile walking path highlighting over 3,000 hand-carved pumpkins! See larger-than-life Jack-o-Lanterns, the world’s largest pumpkin guitar (who knew!), and even a pumpkin pirate ship! If you’re not all pumpkin-out after that, then stick around for fire dancers, pumpkin carving, pumpkin games, and a bevy of delicious treats. 

Wings Over Dallas Airshow, 10/29 – 31 

This one-of-a-kind Airshow features over 40 aircraft from WWII, including bombers, fighters, and support airplanes. This year’s theme, “Texas Goes to War,” will highlight the Lone Star State’s significant contributions to support America’s victory.

Houston Area Activities

Although we’re based in Dallas, we have exceptional communities that we manage for our neighbors in Houston to the south. Houston is the largest city in Texas with roughly 1,000,000 more residents than Dallas; no wonder there’s plenty to do! As an easy overnight trip, or even a day trip, here are some significant events for residents to consider attending this Fall.

Oktoberfest in Houston, 10/22 – 23

Have a hankering for some good beer, hearty food, and polka music? Well, you’re in luck! Houston’s annual beer festival is an excellent opportunity to experience some German culture, try out some tasty varieties of beer, and play some games. 

The Texas Renaissance Festival, every weekend starting 10/9 through 11/28

You’ll have nine different weekends to choose from if you want to go back in time to an English village of the 16th century. These themed weekends in Plantersville feature magicians, jugglers, minstrels, troubadours, and comedians on six stages! The unique Renaissance festival is sure to make some lasting memories for people of all ages. 

The Nutcracker Market, 11/11 – 14

Kick-off the holiday season in style with Houston’s Ballet Guild’s Nutcracker Market. This annual event has TONS of shopping options and features holiday decorations, food, clothing, jewelry, and even furniture.

Planning an Event in Your Community 

Now that we’ve reviewed some notable local events outside of the community, let’s check what it takes to plan an event within the community. Many homeowners associations host events throughout the year to celebrate the changing of seasons, holidays, and well, just because! However, properly planning an event of scale can be a tall order. Homeowners can’t assume that the HOA board members will be able to handle the planning and execution of social events in addition to their regular duties. Creating a social committee dedicated to filling out a calendar of community-friendly events is a great way to keep residents involved and drive engagement.

When brainstorming events for your community, try to develop ones that reflect who the residents are. If the population in the community varies quite a bit in age, then plan different events to appeal to different tastes. For instance, adults may be interested in a Fall wine tasting, whereas young families may want an outdoor party with games and live music. Offer a mix of annual, monthly, or even bi-monthly events. And remember, lean on your association management company to help come up with some events ideas, gather input from residents, and help corral volunteers in the community.

One aspect of planning an event that can quickly put a damper on things is the budget. To minimize expenses, consider getting sponsorships from local businesses, having a raffle, or include a “suggested” donation for the event. If someone in the community is affiliated with party planning or event planning, consider asking for their advice. Depending on the size of the community and the approved budget, working with a 3rd party event planning service may be something to look into for some extra assistance.

Before your event:

  1. Make sure and have a promotion plan, so you get the word out to as many people in the community as possible.
  2. Use every channel of communication you can think of; signs, social media posts, email, and newsletters, to name a few.
  3. During the event, make sure and take lots of pictures to post after so people can relive the fun and entice those who missed out.
  4. Remember to generously thank all those involved and talk up whatever event is next up to try and keep the momentum going.

Always keep your association management company in the loop to help with logistics and ensure everything is covered, from permits, adequate insurance, and approved vendors. They can also help in the communications mentioned above, which there will be a lot of, and collecting feedback from attendees. The best community association management companies have the experience that will be a huge benefit throughout the process.

Lastly, don’t get discouraged if one or two events are successful as you hoped. Fostering community engagement takes time and effort, especially after living through Covid. Keep the calendar filled with a mix of events, and eventually, residents will start coming in droves.

The Value of Community

All of the activities we’ve shared have one core thing in common: community. It’s bringing people together, building and growing relationships, and of course, having fun! Our team works tirelessly to make all of the communities we manage feel like home. Worth Ross is one of the few association management companies in Texas that holds the Accredited Association Management Company (AAMC) designation granted by the Community Association Institute (CAI). This helps ensure that our community managers have, and maintain, the experience, education, and integrity to guide and advise our communities. But, it’s genuinely caring about the people in those communities and the community at large that truly sets our dedicated staff apart.

Even though there are fantastic events around both Dallas and Houston to look forward to, don’t forget to watch for personalized events within the association. Take advantage of any community-based clubs, seasonal events, upcoming holiday parties, or common area meet-ups. Reach out to the Social Committee, see what’s on the calendar, and see if they need any volunteers for upcoming events. Involvement and engagement from residents are what shape the community into what it is. You can only get out of it what you put in, so dive on in!