Fall is by far my favorite season. Sweaters, cider, leaves, a ridiculously large stockpile of Halloween candy — what’s not to love? This year has been rough for so many reasons, but I am clinging to fall excitement like it’s the last pumpkin spiced latte in the world. Even though a few events and fall festivals have been put on hold for 2020, there are still plenty of ways to celebrate fall in KC during COVID-19.
Here are 31 socially distant ideas to make the most of autumn in Kansas City this October:
- Follow the popular story Cricket in the Thicket as it winds its way through the Heartland Harvest and Children’s Gardens at the Trail Tales exhibit in Powell Gardens.
- Grab a blanket and listen to a Kansas City Symphony pop-up neighborhood performance at an outdoor venue near you.
- Camp under the stars at local campsites like Smithville Lake and Clinton Lake — or simply pitch a tent in your own backyard.
- Spend some time in nature while hiking a few of KC’s family-friendly trails. Don’t forget the trail mix (candy corn is a must)!
- Visit one of Kansas City’s many bike trails or rent a bike at many popular parks.
Visit a KC Fall Staple
- Go on a cider donut pilgrimage and visit one of Kansas City’s best apple-centered attractions, like Louisburg Cider Mill or Dunn’s Cider Mill.
- Take a leisurely stroll among the leaves at the Overland Park Arboretum.
- Visit a local pumpkin patch or family farm, like Johnson Farms in Belton or Carolyn’s in Liberty.
- Research local lore around supposedly haunted places in Kansas City, and then make your own family driving tour to share the metro’s most famous ghost stories.
- Have a scary (or not-so-scary) movie marathon with all your fall film favorites. Make sure stove-popped popcorn is on the menu — and, honestly, make sure Hocus Pocus is in the lineup.
- Decorate a few table tennis balls like eyeballs and set up a kid-friendly “eyeball” pong game. Just set up a regulation beer pong array (sans beer, of course) and toss those homemade peepers.
- Write a few two-sentence horror stories and have a family contest for the spookiest one. Here’s one to start: Call me paranoid, but I make sure I lock all the doors and windows in my bedroom every night. After all, the neighborhood was never the same after the last time I escaped. Stephen King would be proud.
- Grab all the ingredients for your favorite mocktail “potions,” pour them into funky containers, and label them with fun names (think a classic “eye of newt” or trendy “unicorn slobber”) for your kids to create their own Halloween treat.
- Challenge your family to a 30-minute costume contest. Take half an hour to each scavenge the house for the best costume pieces and props, then compare your final ensembles.
- Carve or paint pumpkins as a family.
- Bake some apple crisp. There’s no better way to make your house smell so October-y.
- Make a seasonal leaf garland by tracing the leaves with crayons and then stringing them together.
- October is National Pasta Month. You don’t need an excuse for making your own macaroni and cheese bar at home, but that seems like a pretty solid reason to bust out the elbow noodles.
- Find a few fall crafts on Pinterest and rope your family into creating something fun during a fall crafternoon.
- Go on a pumpkin-spice scavenger hunt at the store (or at your favorite local bakeries/restaurants) to pick up a few pumpkin-flavored foods to sample. Arrange a few on a board and treat yourself to a pumpkin-spice snack tray.
- Combine chocolate pudding, Oreos, and gummy worms for a classic dirt ‘n worms dessert.
Be a Homebody
- Bring out the grill, yard games, and your Chiefs gear for a backyard tailgating experience.
- Buy a few tiny gourds, decorate them like you would Easter eggs, and hide them around your house or yard for a game of “Gourd and Seek” with your kids.
- October is also National Book Month. Make sure the whole family pencils in a few hours with a good book.
- Get fancy with your kiddo’s tea set and have a tea party (subbing hot apple cider for the tea, of course).
- Bring back family game night. Schedule an evening to order pizza and play all of your family’s favorite board games.
- Light a seasonal candle from The Corner Candleshop in Brookside, start a favorite playlist or podcast, and cuddle up under a blanket to take advantage of all the fall hygge.
- Go big on your outdoor Halloween or fall decorations this year. If that sentence exhausts you, take a tour of your over-achieving neighbors’ displays. Or keep it simple, rake the yard and then jump in the leaf pile!
- Create some fall art for Grandma and Grandpa, then take a trip to your local post office to mail it off — or deliver personally if they live in town.
- Make socially distant trick-or-treat plans with your neighbors. The evening might look different this year, but you can always create individual candy bags and leave them on a table for kids.
- Drop off a Halloween treat for your local family members and neighbors. Whether it’s a craft, snack, or just a note, they’ll be so glad you thought of them.