Children Play in a Pile of Autumn Leaves, Rockland County, New York, 1953.

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I couldn’t help but feel a strong twinge of nostalgia when coming across this photo from the LIFE archives. As we get older our memories from childhood fade and are replaced with new memories from adulthood. There are sensations, however, like a giant pile of leaves for me, that bring me right back to childhood. I, in fact, call October “leaf kicking month” to anyone who’ll bother to listen to my maddening ramblings. The author of this LIFE archives passage says it best when he mentions, “for those of us who grew up in places where autumn meant crisp days, cold nights, falling leaves and the slight but unmistakable change in both the feel and the look of sunlight, one activity brings it all back home: playing around in a big pile of leaves.” What kind of fun is more pure than that? Autumn is upon us! It’s time for apple picking, pumpkin carving, fresh cider, hockey, basketball, football, and fun times with family and friends.

Autumn will be here before we know it!

A boy playing in a pile of autumn leaves.
A girl three leaves from a low hanging branch for silent scrutiny.
Boy ducking the falling leaves, enduring a shower which he had tossed into the air.
A lazy boatman’s lot is a daydream of a little boy piloting a magnolia leaf across a pond.
Kids dragging their feet through a pile of leaves.
Children playing in a pile of autumn leaves. Rockland County, NY
Flight for fallen leaves is engineered by three boys who use them as gliders.
Leaves floating on the water.
A boy combining play and seasonal chore, stirring a pile of burning leaves.
A little boy covering his sister with leaves.


[Photos courtesy of Allan Grant—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images]