In some circles, September 1 marks the first day of fall. In others, it comes a little further into the month, on September 22. In Texas, you have to laugh. 

Regardless of whether you prefer the meteorological calendar, which is based on temperature cycling and marks the turn of seasons on the first of the month, or the astronomical calendar, which goes by the tilt of the Earth and kicks off fall with the autumnal equinox, it’s still mostly just hot in Texas. And, really, no number of pumpkin-adjacent candles burned or orange-tinged coffee drinks chugged is going to change that. 

But there is a stretch of time, maybe not unique to but felt deeply by Texans, when the yearning for fall and all that it brings constitutes its own sort of seasonal change and comes with its own special brand of nostalgia. We can’t will a 30-degree temperature drop or autumnal foliage, but we can lean real hard into some of the landmark signs that Texas’s notoriously delayed start to fall isn’t far off. 

Welcomed, bone-chilling temps in the mid-80s

Many Texans spent an entire summer in places that just couldn’t seem to resist setting daily heat records. Texas Monthly’s Forrest Wilder reported last month that: “Summer 2022, June through August, could be the hottest on record for many parts of Texas. Austin and San Antonio, for example, are in the middle of the hottest summer on record by quite a bit. That’s right—hotter than 2011, the summer from hell that many supposed was a black swan event. Each city’s average high is more than a degree hotter than its second-warmest summer on record.”

The last two weeks, however, have seen temperatures across the state regularly in the 80s, with nights often (grab your sweater) dipping into the mid to low 70s. Some West Texas cities are even clocking temps in the 60s. The cooldown can likely be attributed to recent rainfall seen across our drought-stricken state. Despite this coming week’s stormy forecast, whether we’ve seen the last of this year’s 100-degree days is still up in the air. In Dallas, the last triple-digit temperature day is, on average, August 26, WFAA reports. In Austin, KVUE reports it’s the first of September. Precedents aside, most major Texas cities set a 100-degree-day record of some kind this summer, and the possibility of the last triple-digit day keeping to the theme weighs sweatily on my heart.

You accidentally purchased Hatch green chile . . . coffee creamer?

Hatch chiles have been called the “pumpkin spice of the Southwest.” And like with pumpkin spice, we’ve found enough enticing and bizarre ways to incorporate them into things you can buy at a grocery store to stock entire shelves. Now is the time to get your hands on not only a bag of waffle-cut garlic Hatch potato chips, but also a Hatch dark chocolate bar or a box of Hatch chile–and–sweet lime sandwich cookies. If the mood strikes, you can pair your morning eggs with a few slices of uncured Hatch turkey bacon or a link of Hatch chorizo. I guess you could also eat a Hatch green chile? But remember, sometimes when we feel limited, we come to find that we’ve placed those limits on ourselves. 

For the curious, Hatch green chile season is often thought to start in early August and last through the end of September, though some growers harvest as early as mid-July and into October. Texas retailer H-E-B celebrates the season in August and September and keeps an updated map of store locations that offer freshly roasted Hatch chiles. For the extremely dedicated, the annual Hatch Chile Festival will be held this coming weekend in Hatch, New Mexico, and will feature, naturally, a chile queen, a chile-eating contest, and mariachi music. 

Friday night is alight

Weather aside, there’s nothing cozier than driving past your nearest high school stadium on a Friday night and seeing a full parking lot, a glowing stadium, and throngs of people decked out in competing colorways yelling at a group of young athletes. Texas football is back, baby. 

High schools across the state have kicked off their season, and this coming weekend will see the return of college football. Horns up, wreck ’em, sic ’em, thanks, and gig ’em—no matter where you land, the team needs your support. 

And if the team is Texas, seriously, it really needs your support

Seasonal varieties flow aplenty at breweries across the state

We’re still a few weeks away from most Texas pumpkin patches and apple orchards opening their gates to carvers and pickers, but if you can’t beat the urge to pluck something seasonal, put it in a basket, and cart it home, enter: seasonal Texas beers.

Although Shiner currently seems to be focusing promotion efforts on a new Hatch chile IPA (this is a callback), the Spoetzl Brewery’s Oktoberfest has made a return to shelves. So has Houston’s Saint Arnold Brewing’s “full-bodied and malty with a nice toffee note” seasonal Oktoberfest and Karbach’s Karbachtoberfest.

So, sure, our sweaters remain folded and the thought of being caught on a sunny afternoon in a pair of jeans still doesn’t sit quite right, but with an Oktoberfest in hand, a football game on TV, and a trip outdoors feeling progressively less suffocating, fall in Texas is coming soon. Until then, we’re all practiced in playing along.