Fall is finally here, but COVID-19 may interfere with some favorite activities. But it’s still possible to enjoy the cooler weather.
The temperatures are dropping and the leaves are changing colors. Crisp morning air, pumpkin spice lattes and apple cider mean one thing: It’s fall. However, many people may be wondering how the COVID-19 pandemic, social distancing guidelines and mask mandates will affect their favorite fall activities. There’s no need to worry—you can still enjoy the beautiful weather and stay safe and healthy this autumn. Try one (or all!) of these fun activities with your family.
- Go apple-picking. Many apple orchards are still open for guests and visitors—just call before you head that way. Grab a basket and look out for apples that are firm, unbruised and insect-free. An apple is ripe if you can easily pull it off the tree with just one twist or tug. If you’re gathering apples for baking or cooking, look for overripe apples—oftentimes, they’ll already be on the ground. Take your kids or grandkids along for the trip—it can be an educational experience about where produce comes from and how it is grown!
- Carve pumpkins. Pick up pumpkins at your local gardening store, a pumpkin patch or big-box store like Home Depot or Lowe’s. Make it a contest with the family to see who can make the most creative, funniest or scariest pumpkin. Have young kids? Lay an old sheet outside on the grass, get washable paints, and let them use paintbrushes or their fingers to decorate their pumpkins.
- Go for a hike. Grab your camera and head out on a hike to see the leaves change colors. Be sure to pack a mask in your bag in case you’re in areas on the trails where social distancing is not possible. Want to find a new trail to explore? Visit www.alltrails.com to find one near you.
- Catch a movie at the drive-in theater. Have you missed family nights or dates at the movie theater? Catch a flick instead at a drive-in theater—the perfect place to social distance and still enjoy a movie. Click here to locate a drive-in movie theater near you. No drive-in nearby? Rent a new release, pop some popcorn and fix some apple cider or hot chocolate for a special movie night treat.
- Bake a favorite fall dessert. Quarantine may technically be over and the days of baking sourdough and banana bread are behind us—but there’s no reason not to enjoy some classic autumn desserts. Pumpkin pie, apple crisp and pecan pie are some of our favorites. Visit websites like Pinterest for baking inspiration and to find a new recipe!
- Go on a mural scavenger hunt. Visit almost any major city—or even small town—and you’re bound to find colorful, hand-painted murals adorning the sides of buildings. Grab your camera (or your smartphone!), and strike a pose in front of your favorites.
- Have a Halloween-themed family photoshoot. Even if trick-or-treating isn’t possible this year, make costumes for the family and plan a fun photoshoot. If kids are sad about missing out on Halloween fun this year, create a scavenger hunt in the house or the backyard to find Halloween treats.
- Boo! your neighbors. Leave “Boo! Bags” on your neighbors’ front porches with Halloween-themed treats and family activities.
- Participate in a virtual 5K. Although fun runs and races aren’t happening in person this year, you can still register as a runner in many races and log the miles in your neighborhood or community—or even your treadmill! For a fall-themed race, try Gourdy’s Pumpkin Run—the national charity partner this year is Girls on the Run, an organization dedicated to inspiring girls to boldly pursue their dreams.
No matter what you decide to do this fall, it’s important to stay active. Being outdoors, getting fresh air and moving your body isn’t just beneficial for your physical health—it’s good for your emotional and mental health, too. Remember, if you feel sick or were recently exposed to someone with COVID-19, stay home. Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds on a regular basis, and practice social distancing by staying at least 6 feet from others when participating in fall activities this year.