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Fall is officially here and I could not be more excited! Y'all, I have been waiting for this moment all year, especially since 2020 has been full of stress, depression, anxiety, and all sorts of other not fun things to deal with.
And even though the world is not back to normal yet, I can at least throw on a sweater and pretend my problems don't exist while sipping on some hot chamomile tea surrounded by pumpkins and all the pretty fall colors.
That all being said, fall this year looks different. Places still aren't open, there are a lot of guidelines still in place, and trying to figure out safe but fun fall activities seems like a huge challenge none of us asked for.
I've put together some of my favorite fall activities that are pandemic friendly! These are things that you can do by yourself, with a partner, or a small group of friends you hang out with consistently.
Just note that here in America, we are still dealing with Corona and the pandemic guidelines vary from state to state and country to country. The activities below are stuff I would recommend doing during a pandemic, but they may not be something you feel safe doing or your area does not allow. Please be courteous of the people around you, wear a mask, and enjoy the fall season safely!
Visit a Pumpkin Patch
I feel like this is a pretty standard fall activity. It's perfect for families, couples, or even just groups of friends looking to get some good pumpkins for decorating and carving. When I was growing up, all the pumpkin patches we went to had photo ops, corn mazes, petting zoos, and all sorts other fun stuff to do besides pick out pumpkins.
Fall is the perfect time of the year to go hiking. It's not too hot and not too cold for all of that walking. There are a lot of great places in Virginia to go hiking if you're from here: Spy Rock, Humpback Rock, Old Rag, Ivy Creek, and so many more.
Camping is a great outdoor mini getaway you can take with your partner or a group of friends! I would recommend doing this during the warmer parts of fall because I don't know about you, but I don't want to sleep outside when it's freezing. You can build a campfire, make s'mores, tell ghost stories, go fishing, etc.
I live like right around the corner from Carter's Mountain here in Charlottesville, while I've been there for a couple events/photoshoots/friend hang outs, I've never been apple picking there. I'm trying to convince my husband to take me for my birthday in a couple weeks. Not only do you get to pick apples for enjoying and baking, but they also have apple butter and apple cider donuts and all sorts of fun and yummy stuff you can buy while you're up there.
Go to the Beach
I know what you're thinking, "The beach? Really? That's a summer activity." Yes and no. Going to the beach during the summer is typical, but it's so much better to go in like October and early November. It's not as hot, it's not as crowded, you can spend more time walking around on the boardwalk because it's not unbearable to be outside, you can still get a little bit of tan if you go on a sunnier day.
Carving pumpkins is another classic fall Halloween activity, but nowadays a lot of people are opting to paint their pumpkins instead of carving them. I've also seen people buying those plastic pumpkins from Micheals and decorating them with stickers and fun tapes too. Honestly, if you need any ideas on what to do to your pumpkin, spend like 30 minutes on Pinterest and I'm sure you will find something.
Have a Craft Night
Who doesn't love arts and crafts? There are so many fun fall things you can make to give away or decorate your house with. You can cut out a bunch of paper bats and tape them to your wall to look like a swarm of bats are flying across your ceiling. You can knit or crochet a scarf or some socks. You can paint a canvas. The world is your oyster. Get some wine and snacks, set up a crafting area, invite some friends over, put on a fall movie like Halloweentown or Corpse Bride or whatever you want to watch, and have fun!
Throw a Mini Fall Festival
Now with the pandemic and everything, I don't know if there will any actual fall festivals going on, but because they're always super super fun, there's a way you can experience them without having to be surrounded by a million people. Fall festivals are known for their good food, exciting rides, fun games to play, competitions like chili cook offs and "Who grew the biggest pumpkin or has the biggest pig?", and just good times in general waiting to happen.
For your home fall festival, you can still have good food and chili cook offs; that's the easy part. Other things might require some tweaking; for example, biggest animal competition? Everyone bring a stuffed animal or a picture of your actual pet with their stats. Give the biggest one a prize in their category. Play Mario Party or Smash Bros or other video games where theres a clear winner. You can still enjoy the things you normally would, it just takes a little extra effort this year.
Host a Potluck/Dinner Party
Need an excuse to try out that new soup or casserole or cocktail recipe? Invite a couple friends over for a potluck dinner party. It can be fancy, everyone can dress up, and you can have things like wine and a charcuterie board, or it can be super casual and just have a bunch of fun dishes to snack on. Pick what vibe works for you and your friends!
If you're like me and not super into camping, but still enjoy the perks of camping like s'mores, curling up in a cozy blanket next to a fire, and drinking with your friends, then have a campfire or a bonfire instead! These are super popular in Virginia and it is not uncommon to see a giant fire going once we start having colder nights.
With Your Partner
Go to a Swing Dance Class
I don't know why, but swing dancing just seems like a fall thing to do. If you don't know how to dance, don't worry, it's a pretty simple dance to pick up on. It's a lot of fun and if you get enough people you know to learn how to do it, you can do it at the bonfires and fall parties you're having.
See a Drive In Movie
This is a great social distancing activity! You never have to leave your car and you get to spend time with someone you really care about. Bring a bunch of blankets, pillows, and snacks, and make your space super comfy cozy so you can snuggle up and enjoy the movie with your partner.
Do a Fall Photoshoot
Love fall fashion? Love getting to dance in leaves and hug pumpkins? Book a fall photoshoot with your partner or a group of friends! If you got married in the fall, do an anniversary shoot to commemorate the occasion. Get dressed in your fall finest and take selfies with your best friends. There are so many photographers right now doing fall minis that even if you can't afford a full blown photoshoot, there are some affordable options out there right now.
Visit a Winery/Brewery
This is a great excuse to get dressed up, go sit outside in the nice fall weather, get some cute photos taken, and feel super fancy while you sip on a Pinot Grigio or a Cabernet Sauvignon or a nice seasonal IPA or whatever else you want to drink. I personally love a good excuse to look cute and drink good wine.
Have a Picnic in a Park
This is a super romantic, intimate, and inexpensive fall date idea you can do with your partner. Pack some sandwiches, a bottle of wine, some chips or cookies too, maybe a Bluetooth speaker for some background music and then go to a cute park, lake, riverside or the beach and just hang out and enjoy each other's company.
Get Your Holiday Shopping Done
I'm a planner. I like to make my holiday gift list early so I can plan out what I'm going to make, bake, or buy each person on my list. I'm usually ready to go for Christmas by Thanksgiving. If you do it early, you have more time to figure out what you're getting each person and you can make it a whole thing; get some coffee, meet up with a friend who also is doing their holiday shopping early, grab lunch, etc.
Go to a Drive Through Farmer's Market
Coronavirus closed everything and farmer's markets were no exception. Due to all the heavy restrictions placed on states, they needed to find a way to readjust so they could continue to operate. Thus, drive through farmer's markets were born.
Granted, it's not the same as going to a regular one, but it's a lot safer and you can still support local businesses that don't have a storefront to sell their goods. You just look up a farmer's market near you, order what you want online, and go pick it up! Super easy and a great way to give back to the community.
Read a Book
I love to read; it's always been one of my most favorite things to do and I am a HUGE believer that fall is the best season to read anything. You can read outside in a comfy blanket, and it not suck because it's too hot. Also, fall usually comes with a decent amount of rainy days and I don't know what it is, but rainy days are perfect for book reading. If you're not a huge reader, download Audible and listen to an audiobook.
Bake Yummy Fall Treats
I've said it before and I'll say it again. Fall has the best flavors of the whole year: apple cinnamon, pumpkin spice, maple sugar, chai, pecan, etc. I've been baking fall snacks for about three weeks now. So far I've made snickerdoodles, toasted pecans, apple turnovers, apple cinnamon crumble muffins, almond cinnamon cookies, and more. I usually end up giving them to my coworkers, but you can do whatever you want with them.
Run a 5k
Hello all of my active people, this one is for you. Again, best time of the year to do outside stuff because it's not insanely hot. Most fall 5k's usually support a good cause like breast cancer, Toys for Tots, holiday meals for low-income families, food pantries, etc. so you can get in your running while supporting our communities!
I hope you found something on this list that will make your fall a fun time amidst all the craziness. Like I said before, fall is my favorite seasons so I've got lots of great stuff planned for the next couple months, both in my personal life and here on the blog so stay tuned for all the stuff coming your way! Take a shot for everything we've been through this year so far and toast to hopefully the rest of it turning around and being better,