To some people, the beginning of fall means gazing at the vibrant colors of the changing foliage or breathing in the cool, crisp autumn air.

OK, not people in Charleston. We’re spoiled with a few more weeks of continued warm weather and outdoor activities.

Forget that the calendar marks Sept. 22, 2016, as the first official day of autumn. Here are 7 Ways to Tell it’s Fall in Charleston:


Pumpkin Spice

1. Your Electricity Bill Drops

Remember that air conditioner that has been dutifully chugging along since early May? Good news. It now gets a slight break. Instead of running it on high as you have the past few months, you can crank it down to low.

2. Shorter Drives to the Beach

With many of the tourists gone, it now takes a lot less than three hours to drive from downtown Charleston to Folly Beach. Of course, the time you save getting there is now spent trying to find parking.

3. Creepy Stores Pop up

Former Blockbuster video stores in Lowcountry strip malls metamorphosize into huge, creepy Halloween shops.

4. Pumpkin Spice, Spice, Baby

Your favorite Starbucks becomes a pumpkin-flavored wonderland. Pumpkin latte, pumpkin spice crème, pumpkin Frappuccino, pumpkin hot chocolate and other pumpkin beverages dominate the drink board. You don’t fully appreciate how many ways a barista can make a pumpkin-inspired drink until the 19 people ahead of you order every conceivable combination. Looks like your venti black coffee will have to wait.


See the change in color?

5. Bloodsuckers Abound

Forget vampires for Halloween. No-see-ums (AKA Flying Teeth) are the real bloodsuckers in the Lowcountry this time of year. Don’t know what a no-see-um is or how to recognize one? Just walk outside in Charleston around sunset, and they’ll be glad to introduce themselves.

6. Ugh! Time for Uggs.

The first time the temperature drops below 60 degrees, you are faced with the Southern dilemma: Do you tolerate being cold or do you risk being the first person on campus to break out the Uggs? For surfers, it’s a question of whether to put on a wetsuit.

7. Changes in the Trees

The fronds on the Palmetto trees in Cougar Mall magically turn from dark green to a subtler shade of dark green. Don’t blink or you’ll miss it.