You can get really amazing ideas of what to do in the new season when you write down your list and ask your family members to do the same. It’s a fun way to see what they’re thinking, especially to see what’s inside kids’ heads — and maybe even try to get to 50 things. You can also be inspired by our list.
Here are 50 things to do in fall regardless of the pandemic.
1. It’s time to pick apples. Apples are in season over the next few weeks, and there are delicious varieties like Gala and Golden Delicious to be picked. We eat some right out of the bag and make applesauce and apple butter for the year ahead.
2. Get lost in a corn maze. Gather your bubble mates, pack some masks, visit a farm and do a corn maze. Have hot drinks and doughnuts after.
3. Hike through the woods. I know plenty of people have been hiking through the summer, but it can be too hot for that activity in the US South. Fall is the time to put on those hiking pants and explore nature preparing for winter, which leads us to the next fun event.
5. Build a bonfire. That way you can roast marshmallows and make s’mores. If your local fire codes don’t allow it, local campsites have been known to rent out their fire pits.
Halloween and Dia de Los Muertos
6. Make your own costume. I usually end up with reindeer horns on my head for Halloween and call it a night. (Kids are much more creative.) This year, I have loads of cardboard in my house, markers, paint and tape and several ideas I am planning to discuss with my crew. (The First Amendment and an absentee ballot are running neck and neck.)
7. Make your own candy. I’m not talking about my usual combination of peanut butter and chocolate chips (highly recommended, however). Make fudge or peanut brittle or caramel apples. If you do it in advance, you can share the treats with neighbors and friends.
8. Halloween at home. Speaking of Halloween, trick-or-treating doesn’t sound so safe this year, which is a huge bummer in my Halloween-destination neighborhood. Why not have a Halloween movie night with popcorn and already-made or purchased candy?
9. Host a best costume contest. Have an extended-family Zoom contest on who can make the best Halloween costume, and get extended family on Facebook to vote for the winner.
Look up into the night sky
11. Spot the meteor showers. Three showers will occur when the moon is only a crescent, offering the best chance to view them. The Orionids will peak on the night of Oct 20 into 21, the Northern Taurids on the night of Nov 11 into 12, and the Leonids on the night of Nov 16 into 17.
12. Once in a blue moon! October has two full moons, which makes this the year of 13 full moons. Normally, there are 12 full moons in a year — one each month — but October will have one on October 1 and another on October 31, aka Halloween! Two full moons in the same month is known as a blue moon. But don’t expect the moon to be blue, because it won’t be.
23. Feed the birds. Make a bird feeder and turn your yard into one that’s more bird-friendly. (Note to self: It involves not raking the leaves.)
25. Create a fall advent calendar. This calendar is for your family or quaranteam, with one fall-themed activity each day through Thanksgiving: Try a new recipe, read odes to fall, bob for apples or watch a horror movie.
Connect with people you love
26. A weekly Zoom date. Set up a regular video call with friends or family (or both). My partner set up a regular weekly call with her extended family, and I did the same. My setup with my California-based mother is to invite special guests to join us. Last week: my best friend in LA. This week: my cousin in Miami.
27. Set up a regular card game. This may seem like a repeat of the video call, but it’s not. Features Editorial Director David Allan plays Hearts with his dad and siblings every week, and they plan to keep going after the pandemic.
28. Collect recipes. Since the pandemic has likely thrown your Thanksgiving plans up into the air anyway, why not try some new traditions? Ask your friends and family for their favorite holiday recipes, share your own, update your Turkey Day menus and make a family recipe book. Everyone will love that memento.
29. Write a letter. People love getting mail, and letters can be short and include something nice you want to say to them.
30. Send a postcard. It’s easy and it’s short (and you can make them if you want). Postcards always feel sweet to me, mostly because I had a childhood friend who sent them all the time. She passed away a few years ago, and every time I send one, I think of her. It’s a good memory.
Make one healthy change
32. Get more exercise. It doesn’t have to be a huge change. The Mayo Clinic diet suggests starting with any moment 30 minutes a day (bonus points for 60 minutes a day). That’s less time than many people’s commutes.
38. Try family night charades. Even if it requires Zoom to get a big enough group together, you can have junior-level categories for the young ones and separate topics for the adults.
39. Pick a kids’ game. Pick any game your kids love and learn to play it enthusiastically. (Mine has chosen Monopoly — again, Bang, Yahtzee and Clue.)
Why is the world blowing up?
41. This isn’t our first pandemic. To learn more about the 1918 flu pandemic, what we’ve learned and what we haven’t, read “The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History” by John M. Barry, “Pale Rider: The Spanish Flu of 1918 and How It Changed the World” by Laura Spinney or “Flu: The Story of the Great Influenza Pandemic of 1918 and the Search for the Virus That Caused It” by Gina Kolata.
42. This isn’t our last pandemic. David Quammen warned us in his 2012 page-turner, “Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic.” He also covered “Ebola: The Natural and Human History of a Deadly Virus” and “The Chimp and the River: How AIDS Emerged from an African Forest.”
43. These aren’t our first protests. Works by best-selling authors Isabel Wilkerson, Ibram X. Kendi, Ijeoma Oluo and more tackle the insidious racism that infects this country (and others) and give people knowledge and tools to fight against it.
More Netflix, please
50. How you doin’? We don’t care if it’s sunny England masquerading as sunny LA. Matt LeBlanc playing the most Hollywood version of himself with English television writers played by Tasmin Greig and Stephen Mangan in “Episodes” is hilarious.
Contributors: Ashley Strickland, Megan Thomas, David Allan, Faye Chiu, Katie Hunt, Sandee LaMotte, Kristen Rogers, Nicole Chavez, Verlin Henderson, Amanda Jackson and Rachel Rodriguez.