Fall is finally here and even though COVID has changed some of our seasonal traditions, we have rounded up a 2020 fall bucket list for families. Whether you choose to stay indoors on chillier days and or want to venture out to a pumpkin patch to pick a jack o’lantern-worthy pumpkin to carve, we have you covered with some great activities this season.
If you are planning to stay in NYC, see the changing leaves and go on a family-friendly hike or grab a sweet treat at the newly opened Krispy Kreme in Times Square. And if you are wanting to venture out a little, there is the Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze to see in the Hudson Valley or apple-picking farms where you can enjoy fresh, delicious apples and baked goods.
2020 Fall Bucket List for Families
Head to one of these pumpkin-picking farms in and near New York City to pick from a variety of gourds, munchkins, and other pumpkins. Roam the pumpkin patch, pet farm animals, and pick jack-o’-lantern worthy pumpkins to carve. So find a weekend, and take a trip to one of these pumpkin patches and experience fall to its fullest.
Pick fresh apples and make classic apple cider, pie, and more! Although apple picking is a fall-favorite activity for many families, we are still in the middle of COVID and things will look a little different this year. Many farms are requiring face masks, reservations, and some are not allowing strollers. Make sure to check the farm’s website before visiting and review its safety guidelines.
Trader Joe's Fall Items
Trader Joe’s never fails to surprise us with their latest items that are brought in seasonally to their shelves. And now that we are entering fall, there are tons of nostalgic classics and brand-new Trader Joe’s fall foods that are drawing us to these ship-themed stores. Make sure to try one of these Trader Joe’s fall foods to fully embrace the new season.
The Great Jack O'Lantern Blaze
This fun Halloween activity opened its doors on September 18th and will stay open until mid-November. Set against the backdrop of Van Cortlandt manor, this event will feature over seven thousand hand-carved, glowing jack o’ lanterns. It’s a great chance for you and your family to get outside and enjoy the spirit of Halloween. The event will have strict social distancing guidelines and advanced reservations are required.
Easy and Kid-Friendly Fall Hikes
Go for a kid-friendly hike with the family near NYC! It’s starting to feel like fall and the leaves are even beginning to change colors. Although this fall season will be very different from the rest, there is still much to see and do this time of the year. That is why we have rounded up some nearby kid-friendly fall hikes that anyone at any skill level can achieve!
Make a DIY Halloween Face Mask
Photographer: Charles M. Zizzo
Crafter and teacher extraordinaire Bee Zizzo designed this mask specially for New York Family readers. Use a mask you already have in a fun color or use white like our bat mask. Instructions below!
- kid size face mask (we used the Japanese Seamless Comfort mask)
- black wool felt
- HeatnBond Ultrahold iron-on adhesive
- craft scissors
- place adhesive on backside of felt (paper liner should face up)
- hold medium heat iron on paper liner for two seconds, repeat until the surface of felt is bonded
- allow to cool
- draw outlines of bat shapes onto the paper liner
- cut out the outlines of the bats, peel off paper liners (use craft or household scissors, the adhesive could ruin your fabric scissors)
- place felt bats (adhesive side down) on top of the mask
- press and hold iron for 10 seconds on each bat until the entire bat is bonded to the mask
(best to hand wash and air dry)
Fall Reading Books for Adults
Fall is the ultimate reading season, and there has never been a better time to escape from our current reality and curl up with a great book. We’ve rounded up five notable recent and upcoming fiction releases, including the highly-anticipated Cobble Hill by the author of the Gossip Girl series, Cecily von Ziegesar, from a diverse group of authors.
Take a look at our roundup of the 5 Best Fall Books for Parents!
Fall Reading Books for Kids
Looking to sneak in some extra fall reading in between remote and in-person classes? Maybe you want your kiddos to brush up on their reading skills? Well, we have the go-to fall reading list for you! We scoped out the latest in children’s books to round up new releases (and some throwbacks) for all reading levels, from early readers to young adults. We’re really loving some of the reads centered around diversity & inclusion, and we were sure to include a lot in our guide for fall reading. Browse our list of Fall Books for Kids.
Krispy Kreme Shop in Times Square
Stop by Times Square to explore the new Krispy Kreme 24/7 shop for an immersive experience. Sit in their doughnut box, see the Glazed Waterfall with digital projection and try their fall flavored doughnuts like Pumpkin Spice Original Glaze, Pumpkin Spice Cake, and Pumpkin Spice Original Filled Cheesecake. Be sure to make a reservation online before visiting.
Boo at the Zoo
Boo at the Zoo is back and they have tons of family-friendly experiences to get in the Halloween spirit. Make sure to participate in classic events like watching expert artists carve exceptional pumpkins, search for your favorite “masked” and “costumed” animals in a scavenger hunt, and more! Thursdays – Sundays, October 1- November 1 (including October 12). Make sure to grab your tickets online!
Hot chocolate is the perfect remedy for these chillier days, it’s a hand-warmer and yummy drink all in one! With so many varieties, flavors, toppings and chocolaty twists, there’s a perfect cup of cocoa for everyone. As the chilly, crisp weather swiftly approaches, warm things up with a cozy cup of this iconic hot beverage.