Running away from a soft bombardment of leaves thrown at him by playmates, Stewart Blickman scampers out of a leaf pile to momentary safety.
Caption from LIFE. Running away from a soft bombardment of leaves thrown at him by playmates, Stewart Blickman scampers out of a leaf pile to momentary safety.Allan Grant—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
Running away from a soft bombardment of leaves thrown at him by playmates, Stewart Blickman scampers out of a leaf pile to momentary safety.
From a low-hanging branch still carrying its leaves Heather Heid picks three for silent scrutiny.
Ducking the falling leaves, Royal Heid endures a shower which he had tossed into the air.
Confident of her brother Vernon's care, Mary Eagle submits expectantly to afternoon burial.
A lazy boatman's lot is daydream of Paul Fry, piloting a magnolia leaf across a pond.
Dragging their feet, Raymond Burghardt and Ellen Bassett scuff through a window blown against a fence.
A disintegrating crown of leaves is about to be dumped by Vicky Blickman on unsuspecting Paul Bassett.
Fighting for fallen leaves is engineered by Leonard and Michael Sullivan and Edward Coates, who use them as gliders.
Autumn leaves floating on the water.
Combining play and seasonal chore, Doyce Waddell stirs a pile of burning leaves, and the smoke and gentle wind almost smother the slanting sunlight of autumn.
Caption from LIFE. Running away from a soft bombardment of leaves thrown at him by playmates, Stewart Blickman scampers
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Allan Grant—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
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Relive Your Childhood With These Photos of Kids Frolicking in Autumn Leaves

Sep 29, 2015

Any child who grows up with a backyard overhung with deciduous trees will be familiar with a certain seasonal ritual. It goes something like this: spend five minutes raking brittle brown leaves into a pile, spend 15 minutes rolling around in said pile until it no longer resembles a pile, and repeat until the lawn is (eventually) cleared and ready for the next season’s first snow.

LIFE magazine took seriously its mission to cover all aspects of life, from major world events to the everyday joys of children. In keeping with the spirit of the latter category, Allan Grant—who could more often be found photographing the likes of Grace Kelly and Paul Newman—spent a fall day in 1953 in Rockland County, N.Y., preserving this autumnal pastime for future generations.

Liz Ronk, who edited this gallery, is the Photo Editor for LIFE.com. Follow her on Twitter @lizabethronk.

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