Ask Gen Z

We Asked Gen Z If Fall Is Cool Or Cringe

TikToker Anna Sitar is in favor of adult Halloween parties and pumpkin picking.

Gen Zer Anna Sitar explains why fall activities for adults can be cool and not cringe.
Courtesy Anna Sitar

In Ask Gen Z, youngs answer our burning millennial questions about internet culture, dating, and what's actually cool right now. Here, TikToker Anna Sitar explains how to live your best pumpkin-spiced life this fall.

Leaves crunch beneath your Chelsea boots as you walk down the street. There’s a chill in the air that merits an oversized sweater. Pumpkin spice tempts you on every specials menu. It’s peak fall, Millennial’s most on-brand season. But with the proliferation of Christian Girl Autumn memes, the 2021 season’s starting to give off majorly cheugy red flags. This has the Olds on the internet wondering: does Gen Z think it’s cringe to love fall?

Anna Sitar, aka Anna Starbies, has made her For You page career based on her unbridled appreciation for Starbucks, particularly the seasonal bevs. She’s amassed over 10 million TikTok followers, largely thanks to her enthusiasm for, well, everything. The 24-year-old Midwesterner-turned-Californian, who squeals with joy over Starbucks drinks that hit the spot, would like to correct the haters who say fall activities for adult are passé.

“Acting like you’re too cool for something makes you miss out,” Sitar tells Bustle, adding that accordingly, she “really commit[s] to Halloween.” While the self-described scaredy cat might not be the person to roll up to a Monster Mash with bloody fangs, she will be ready to party — and she says we millennials can, too.

Here’s Sitar’s guide to a Gen Z-approved fall.

When you say fall, I think of leafy photoshoots with vintage filters and hats and sweaters — is this cool or cringe?

Instagram is starting to be more personal again instead of so professional. People like to see photo dumps and the more candid photos, instead of more staged things, like going to a pumpkin patch. That said, you'll probably catch me going to a pumpkin patch and doing a photoshoot, but I will balance it out with a lot of casual posts on Instagram.

What about fall festivities? Is the pumpkin patch a good time?

I grew up in Michigan going to pumpkin patches and corn mazes, getting caramel apples. I really like going with a big group of friends. It’s also a cute date. If you have nothing else to do, just go pick up some pumpkins and carve them in your front yard. I think it's fun and cool.

Let’s talk about fall décor — like when people have pumpkins on their stoop or make tablescapes with gourds and pinecones.

You can't tell me tiny pumpkins aren’t the cutest things you've ever seen. But I think you draw the line at fake big leaves or Styrofoam pumpkins around the house — that kind of decoration might be aging out a little bit.

I think I know the answer to this, Anna Starbies, but how do you feel about fall-themed Starbucks drinks?

Oh, they will get a Starbie scream until the end of time. I love iced chai tea lattes with the new brown sugar syrup — it’s honestly an unmatched combination. It’s really good when you add vanilla sweet cream cold foam or pumpkin cream cold foam. The PSL itself is the ultimate icon of all fall drinks and should be made available year-round. That flavor in any capacity, like the pumpkin cream cold foam, is what makes a drink a fall drink.

How do you think Gen Z approaches fall differently than Millennials?

Spontaneity and documenting life is a Gen Z thing. I have 37,000 photos on my phone; I take pictures of my life because I love to look back and see them. Gen Z is more likely to see a video on TikTok of a cool spot — like a pumpkin patch or harvest festival — and hop in the car and make a trip out of it. Using social media to find places to go to and things to do is also very Gen Z. We even make impulse purchases this way: I’ll see something in a TikTok video and buy it immediately. There are a few creators who are posting new Halloween costumes every day and I will probably order mine like that.

What will you be for Halloween this year?

I am such a chicken. I like bubbles and happiness and love stories. So, I won’t dress up as something scary. This year I’m thinking of being a witch. I’ve seen a lot of cool ideas on TikTok, little black dresses with a witch hat and gloves. So, not a spooky witch, a stylish witch. I was in a relationship for a long time, so I did a lot of couples costumes over the years, which were fun. But I’m looking forward to doing my own thing this year!

Do you think Gen Zers partake in cuffing season and partner up before the holidays?

My sense is it’s the opposite. In college, people broke up right before Thanksgiving, so you didn't have to bring somebody home for the holidays, decide whose house they were going to go to, or buy Christmas presents. Everybody came back from Thanksgiving break single.

Speaking of breakups, why is Taylor Swift so synonymous with fall?

When I think of Taylor Swift, I think of flannels. She has such a cozy vibe to me and the remakes feel nostalgic — and fall is nostalgic. Especially with her bringing back remakes of her songs, there’s a subconscious line drawn between her music and the season.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.