Yes, You Can Still Enjoy Your Family's Favorite Fall Activities During the Shutdown!
Fall is my favorite season — the pumpkins, the crisp air, the coffee, the amazing-smelling candles! But this year, many autumn activities will either be modified (face masks don't make for great photo shoots) or completely canceled due to staying safe with the ongoing pandemic. Don't worry, you can still re-create the best parts of fall at home!
Carving pumpkins, taking pictures of fall foliage, buying and wearing new boots, and watching classic fall movies at home are all safe things to do in your house. You can even do pumpkin crafts with the kids or bake a fall treat with them. It's still a beautiful season — even if it does look a little different this year. Ahead, you'll find 11 tips for enjoying fall activities with your loved ones while staying safe at the same time.
Going to the pumpkin patch is such a special memory, but the best part is when you get to carve your pumpkin at home! If there isn't an open patch near you, simply take the little ones to pick out a pumpkin at a farmers' market or grocery store. When you get home, let them be creative with their pumpkins, then display them for all the neighbors to see!
Admire Fall Foliage
Walk around your neighborhood or drive around your city to admire the fall foliage. You don't have to go far — trust me, even in Texas, the leaves still turn pretty colors — to see fantastic displays of red, gold, and orange trees. Don't forget to take pictures!
Decorate For Fall
One of the greatest parts of the season is actually decorating your own home for fall! Hang up an autumn wreath on your front door, add faux pumpkins to your mantel, and bring out your favorite "harvest" or "gather" signs to hang on your walls. This is also your excuse to stock up on so-good-you-wish-you-could-eat-them pumpkin candles and hand soaps, and replace your hand towels and throw blankets with fall versions. Go all out!
Make a Pineapple Jack-o’-Lantern
This year's the perfect time to try something new. Hop on the pineapple-carving train and make a pineapple jack-o'-lantern this year! Not only is this less messy, but it's also creepy and cool, and you can eat the leftovers later for a sweet snack.
Get a Fog Machine
Nothing turns a regular family game night into a spooky haunted adventure like a fog machine! These are relatively inexpensive (like this JDR fog machine on Amazon) and provide tons of eerie fun. Turn off all the lights and play hide-and-seek with flashlights or turn it on while you watch a scary movie. The possibilities are endless.
Drink Pumpkin Spice Lattes
Sipping on a pumpkin spice anything is one of the best traditions — and Starbucks is already selling PSLs this year! If you don't feel like going out, make one at home using flavored creamer and plenty of whipped cream. Another option is to make fall's other best drink: hot apple cider.
Do Fall-Themed Crafts
When I was little, I made a Thanksgiving turkey shirt with my handprint and some fabric paint — and wore it all the time! Take this opportunity of more time at home to do some fall-themed crafts, as they are so much fun for kids. Toddlers can finger-paint on pumpkins while older kids create funny faces or works of art. You could also help little kids color pumpkins on paper plates, then hang them on the wall. Or, draw a tree stump with many branches on a white sheet of paper, then have kids cut and glue colorful pieces of tissue paper to make autumn leaves. Older kids can help you make your own wreath or see who can create the coolest pumpkin carvings.
Cooking dinner, baking cookies, sampling batter — it's all more fun when you do it together! Have older kids help you plan a menu (Thanksgiving-style? Pasta night?) and help you out in the kitchen. Be sure to use plenty of in-season produce, like squash, apples, cranberries, garlic, broccoli, pears, radishes, and sweet potatoes. Younger kids and toddlers can help with dessert — chocolate chip pumpkin bread is always a hit in my house!
Camp in Your Backyard
Stargazing on a chilly fall night is one of my favorite things to do. Set up a tent in your backyard, or just bring sleeping bags, a heavy quilt, and pillows outside and admire the twinkling stars up above. You can even light a firepit and roast marshmallows, tell ghost stories, or spend the night inside a tent.
Watch a Classic Fall Movie
Cozy up with a warm blanket and a classic fall movie, like Sleepless in Seattle or anything from the Harry Potter series. This is a great way to unwind, spend some family time, and enjoy the season — especially if you usually go to the theater this time of year.
Take Pictures of Your Family
Who says your annual family photos have to be put on hold? Dress up the entire family in plaid button-down shirts and cute new boots, and take pictures in your house or during a walk around your neighborhood. You can buy hay bales and pumpkins for a more authentic look, or simply capture moments doing fun fall activities like raking leaves (and jumping in them!) or carving pumpkins. The captured memories will still be special, even if they aren't professionally done this year.