It’s Not Fall in My Apartment Until I Light This $5 Target Candle

published Sep 13, 2023
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Credit: Esteban Cortez

There’s something so special about curating a personal ritual. Whether it’s carefully layering on skincare at night, taking a stretch break during the day, or having a treat-yourself day, realizing that I’ve developed a new practice fills me with self-love. Sometimes the rituals are happy accidents, but other times they’re an intentional way to make an otherwise mundane moment feel notable.

One of my favorite autumnal habits started as the former, and has slowly evolved into the latter. When the air starts to smell less like mowed grass and subway sweat and more like crisp air and spiced drinks, I always know it’s time for a certain fall ritual I’ve developed: It’s time to light my bourbon pumpkin candle.

It began a few years ago, when my sister surprised me with the candle out of the blue one day. She’d bought the same one for herself, which she told me didn’t break the bank, as they were just $5 each! (That is, for the one-wick version. You can take home the 15-ounce edition for $10, which is still a great price). I happily burned the candle into the start of the winter. The next year, if memory serves, I found myself at Target near the start of the season and picked up two of the same Opalhouse candles — one to keep and one to gift to my sister. We both went home and lit them in our apartments to signal the start of fall. 

This is the third year now, and I can’t wait to walk to my nearest Target to pick one of these up. I’ve moved to a different city away from my family since last year, so knowing that I can continue this small, cozy ritual is so comforting. It’s a $5 treat that lasts all season long and fills my home with the sweetest spiced pumpkin aroma — not at all groundbreaking for fall, but it reliably makes my home smell like a coffee shop in autumn.

If you’re looking for an inexpensive and simple new autumn tradition, join me! Toss a $5 candle in your cart and ignite the season by lighting a wick, filling your home with that sweet pumpkin smell, and signaling a fall reset.

Buy: Opalhouse Lidded Glass Jar Bourbon Pumpkin Candle, $5