By Grace Mersch
September 25, 2020
Because of COVID-19, fall fun looks remarkably different this year. There are a multitude of questions people all across the world are asking themselves — will there be trick-or-treating this year? Will haunted houses be open? Will we be able to meet with friends and family for Halloween parties?
Even though these questions remain unanswered, there are still some ways to have fun during the fall season while complying with COVID guidelines.
For one, small gatherings with close friends or family are still permitted. According to CDC guidelines, events with low- to moderate-risk include small gatherings where people from different households maintain six-feet distance, wear masks, reduce the sharing of objects and come from the same area (community). If you gather with people living outside of your household, it would be best to have an outdoor gathering where you can have a bonfire, watch movies outdoors or just hang out.
If you gather with people living in your household, more opportunities open up. In this case, it is safe to gather for an indoor party, where you can watch movies or make fall-themed treats.
Besides hanging out at a house, select haunted houses remain open this year. Spookoree, a haunted house in Cincinnati, is opening this season. For this year only, their display will be a one-mile drive-thru display.
The Dent Schoolhouse is also planning to open this year through online reservations only. At this time, their guidelines have not been announced, but they plan to post them soon on their website. For a complete list of haunted houses in Ohio, along with each building’s 2020 plans, click here.
Outside activities are ideal during the fall season this year. Shaw Farms, which is known for its pumpkin patch, hayrides and corn maze, are opening this year with social distancing guidelines, a mask mandate and a capacity. Disinfecting and maintaining cleanliness are of top priority to staff this year. Tickets can be purchased online.
Outside movies are also a great fall activity. Drive-ins have seen an increase in customers this year, and some local drive-ins may be showing Halloween movies come October. Drive-ins are especially favorable due to the ease of social distancing. Holiday Auto Theatre in Hamilton is showing Halloween movies this season.
If you are unable to leave your house or have people over for any reason, all is not lost: fall activities can be done at home and on your own! You can try some new fall recipes, buy some fall-themed clothes or candles or make some fall decorations of your own. Senior Marnei Gray and her family are planning some of these activities this year.
Gray says, “… due to COVID my family and I will stick to decorations and staying inside for any fall traditions. But the things we will do safely are things like carving jack-o-lanterns, eating apple-themed food, and walking around admiring the trees are a part of our traditions.”
Besides at-home activities by yourself, you can watch movies with friends while remaining distant by downloading an app called Netflix Party. This app allows you to have a watch party with your friends without ever leaving the house.
There are many ways to celebrate the fall season while remaining safe. No matter what activities you plan on doing, the general guidelines are to stay socially distant when possible, wear a mask in public and refrain from sharing food, drinks or materials with others.