Spooky season has officially started which means cute fall Instagram photos are back, but that doesn’t mean the cheesy, overused captions should return with them.

Over the last several years, I’ve had to cringe when scrolling through my feed during the autumn months. The pictures are not the cause of my pain; it’s the captions that are killing me. Too many people are settling for the same puns and overused “ironic” lines such as “channel the flannel,” and “Hey pumpkin.” To save you from committing this capital social media crime and myself from having to see “pumpkin spice and everything nice,” one more time, I’ve come up with some do’s and don’ts to consider before you post your fabulous fall photos. 

Don’t use any captions you could find in the fall decor aisle at T.J. Maxx

Don’t get me wrong, I love fall decor and T.J. Maxx just as much as the next girl, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good source of inspiration for your captions. In fact, you should pay a visit to this section before posting so you know exactly what quotes you shouldn’t pair with your pictures. 

While phrases such as “Autumn leaves and pumpkins please,” or “Hello fall,” may look good on a throw pillow, it doesn’t have the same appeal on a social media post. Your followers will thank you for sparing them if you stay away from these cliche slogans.

Don’t use a caption that your mother would copy and paste to her fall Facebook post

Mothers do two things really well on Facebook: overshare and use cheesy, worn out lines from Pinterest. 

While I don’t mind seeing a long paragraph about how much a mother of three enjoys fall festivities with her family, I have little forgiveness for teenagers and college students that do the same. If you want to captivate your followers, writing a novel isn’t the way to go. 

Additionally, I would expect a parent or grandparent to use expressions such as “Happy fall ya’ll,” or “Keep calm and stay cozy.” However, I cannot excuse this behavior from anyone between the ages of 14 and 25. If it’s a line from Pinterest, odds are that you can find something more creative elsewhere.

Don’t use any pun or phrase that you’ve seen a lot over the last several years

Year after year I see people making this mistake. The captions themselves are decent, but they’ve been used too many times. People have already seen “Cutest pumpkin in the patch,” and “Sweater weather.” Those were great for a while, but it’s time for something different. 

I know it’s hard to resist the temptation because these expressions are simple and cute, but your posts will never stand out from the rest of the feed unless you get more creative. I have a few suggestions that might help spark some original ideas. 

Do: pull inspiration from your favorite musical artists

Song lyrics often make for great Instagram captions, especially if they are specific to what’s happening in your photo. One way to do this is by using the website AZLyrics. Personally, I like to search specific artists and then click on their songs one at a time, skimming through the words to see if any fit the theme I’m going for. 

One example I came up with for this fall is inspired by the Harry Styles song “Two Ghosts.” First, you and a friend or significant other could dress as ghosts for a photoshoot, which is a trend that started last year and has continued into this year. Then, you could use the lyrics “We’re just two ghosts standing in the place of you and me,” for your caption. Not only does it fit the picture and the fall theme, but it’s creative and will interest your followers.

  1. “We’re just two ghosts standing in the place of you and me” -Harry Styles

  2. “She’s an angel” -Harry Styles This would be good to use if you dress as an angel for Halloween.

  3. “You’re so golden” -Harry Styles This could be used in a photo with lots of yellow leaves.

  4. “I’m FALLing again” -Harry Styles This could be used for any post related to fall activities. 

  5. “It’s been a year since I’ve seen a deer” -Thomas Rhett This would be a good caption for a post about hunting.

  6. “Young girls will dream about the boys of fall” -Kenny Chesney This lyric could be used for football games or a post with your significant other.

  7. “Oh, but here it is October / Oh, the leaves are turning gold / Each night a little bluer / But autumns not that cold” -Lorrie Morgan These lines could be used together or separately. 

  8. “Your Midas touch on the Chevy door / November flush and your flannel cure” -Taylor Swift

  9. “It’s the kind of cold, fogs up windshield glass” -Taylor Swift This could be good to use for November when it gets colder.

  10. “Use my best colors for your portrait” -Taylor Swift This lyric would be good to use in a photo with a lot of fall colors in the background.

  11. “Haunted by the look in my eyes” -Taylor Swift 

  12. “I’ve got some tricks up my sleeve” -Taylor Swift

  13. “No more keepin’ score now / I just keep you warm” -Taylor Swift This would make a great caption for a couple photo.

  14. “The autumn chill that wakes me up” -Taylor Swift

  15. “Autumn leaves falling down like pieces into place / And I can picture it after all these days” -Taylor Swift

Do: throw puns into recent trends

Another way to come up with new, original phrases for your fall photos is to insert puns into recent trends. This one requires a little more thought, but TikTok can be a helpful resource. If you search “fall captions,” there are many videos that have great suggestions for these kinds of phrases and oftentimes the best ones are those with less likes. Some of the gems I’ve found are “Shawty a lil batty,” and “Ghosting szn.”

Be wary of the most popular videos, however, because those suggestions are the ones you’ll see being overused in your feed. 

  1. “Busy watching Halloweentown, don’t text” This caption could be used for a Halloween movie night post.

  2. “On Wednesdays, we wear black”

  3. “If I gotta be a witch, ima be a bad one”

  4. “Not a ghost, just dead inside” 

  5. “Shawty a lil batty”

  6. “Feelin’ spooky, might ghost him”

  7. “Ghosting szn”

Do: make the captions specific to the photos

My final suggestion is to make your captions specific to your photos. If it’s too general, it’s more likely to be one that is already overused or will be after this fall. 

It’s also okay to use new, general fall captions, but the more specific it is to your picture, the more clever it will seem to your followers. People are also less likely to copy it because it’s either harder to recreate or obvious that they used your idea if they choose to do it.