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5 Classic Fall Activities That Will Be Different This Year

Fall is coming, and it's going to look quite different than in past years. Will we be able to celebrate the season or be forced to jump into winter early?

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Fall is coming

Like every year before it, the summer of 2020 will be over before you know it. Students are already going back to school, some offices are reopening, and the days are starting to get a little colder. While this summer certainly hasn’t been what anyone expected, the fall season is a whole new can of worms. Fall spells leaves changing, apple picking, pumpkin pie, and cozy sweaters. What happens to our beloved fall traditions during a worldwide pandemic? Will our world ever go back to normal?

While we know Halloween will look incredibly different this year, is there still hope for one of the most universally-beloved seasons and its festivities? These activities are hopefully not canceled, but you might be surprised.

Ripe apples on apple tree in an orchardRory McDonald/Getty Images

Apple picking

Apple picking is a staple activity for children, families, and dates each fall. The classic activity combines a fun process with a delicious end result. One benefit? By definition, apple picking is outside. The open air of the orchid will help groups space out and, if everyone wears their mask and obeys other regulations, apple picking will still be on the market.

On the other hand, apple picking won’t be exactly the same. You likely won’t be able to pick any tree and any apple (touching all the others along the way). Also, you won’t be able to take that tempting juicy bite until you make it back to your own space. The good news is that pie, apple cider donuts, and hot cider are still on the menu! Speaking of food, take a peek at these things you won’t see in grocery stores anymore.

Running into October harvestvernonwiley/Getty Images

Corn mazes

My memories of corn mazes are equal parts traumatic and enjoyable. The high walls of corn and hay keep kids (and sometimes even adults) occupied for hours on end. What’s the verdict on corn mazes during a pandemic? Spaced out groups and rigorous cleaning. While half of the fun of a corn maze is racing your friends to the finish, there’s still something fun about bumbling around a man-made rat trap! Plus, if salad bars can reinvent themselves, what’s stopping corn mazes?

Family HayrideKen Redding/Getty Images

Hay rides

If your allergies are up for it, hay rides can be a blast. There’s nothing quite like being pulled along a road by a tractor. This season, however, you might not be able to pile in with all your friends. On the bright side, it is not one of the places you’re most likely to catch the coronavirus.

Hay rides are still a great way to get from place to place, but they’re also difficult to properly sanitize. Still, if you’re masked and distanced, a little air and a lot of straw in weird places might do you good!

Pumpkin Patch Funjin chu ferrer/Getty Images

Fairs and harvest festivals

Everyone loves a fair which, unfortunately, is where we run into problems. It’s difficult to have these sort of events be profitable if you can’t cram as many people as possible into a small time frame. While all the typical summer fairs came to a grinding halt due to high-density touch points and other concerns, fall fairs still have a fighting chance. While you likely won’t get the signature bobbing for apples and potato sack races, you’ll likely still get to enjoy great food, decorations, and company. Fairs and events might go on for longer to allow waves of guests and sanitation in between each group.

HalloweenCapture The World/Getty Images

Haunted houses

The fall season also means spooky season. While last year was filled with scary, funny, or just downright impressive haunted houses, this year can’t compete. Haunted houses rely on tight spaces, dark corners, and jump scares—all of which are not recommended by health experts at the moment. Haunted houses might have to take the lead of theme parks and bring the party outside to allow proper distance. These tweaks might alter the vibe, but you can still definitely get your ghoul on in the dark of night.  On the other end of the spectrum, try to imagine how different city life might be post-COVID-19.

Smiling African American little girl lying among autumn leaves.skynesher/Getty Images

The bottom line

While many of these events will have to undergo some necessary changes, fall is not lost. Summer activities suffered a harsh blow, but fall has more time to prepare. As the months get colder, outside events will become slightly less feasible, but fall is all about gathering with family (safely, if possible) and enjoying the beautiful changing nature (still good to go on that front). Next, check out the other ways we already know the holidays will look different this year.