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Angela Wei / Staff Illustrator

It’s officially spooky season. Brightly colored leaves, Halloween movies, and pumpkin spice reign supreme for the month of October, which might leave you craving fall fun with friends and family. While you can’t host any Halloween parties this year, there are still plenty of outdoor fall group activities you can do while maintaining a safe social distance. For those in the New York City area, Spectrum put together a guide to help you celebrate the season with your go-to group of friends.

Outdoor movie screenings

Governor Cuomo allowed for the opening of drive-in movie theaters in May, causing attendance at outdoor cinemas to surge. Even for those without a car, most drive-in theaters have space for outside seating as well. Make sure you go early to get a good spot, and bring blankets, snacks, and anything else you need for a comfortable Halloween movie marathon. For a list of nearby outdoor theaters, check out this article by NYMetroParents.

New York Botanical Garden

The New York Botanical Garden is open with extra precautions to ensure social distancing, such as timed entries and heightened sanitation measures. For New York City residents, access to the grounds is free on Wednesdays, but make sure you buy your tickets ahead of time.

The NYBG has several outdoor events going on in October, including a pumpkin display and a harvest-themed scavenger hunt. Once you’re done there, take a stroll along the Seasonal Walk to see the fall plants in their full glory.

Bike trails

Trying to stay fit during quarantine? See the beauty of a New York City autumn on a bike trail. Pop in your headphones while you ride and jam out to playlists on Spectrum’s upcoming Spotify account. There are plenty of places to enjoy the fall weather while staying active, including the Hudson River Greenway, Fort Washington Park Greenway, East River Greenway, and one of the Central Park loops.

Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze

What better way to celebrate Halloween than a grand display of jack-o'-lanterns? Get tickets for the Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze in Hudson Valley or Long Island, New York this October. Seeing the thousands of pumpkins carved into artistic creation is perfect for a fun and wholesome night out to get into the spooky spirit, and tickets are only $24.

Beer Gardens

Oktoberfest might have been canceled this year, but that doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate the beer festival with a couple drinks among your quarantine pod. New York City has a ton of outdoor beer gardens that allow for social distancing. For a list of a few places to celebrate Oktoberfest, check out this article from 6sqft.

Queens County Farm Museum

If you’re looking for a quick getaway from the city this season, visit Queens County Farm Museum. A jump from the hustle and bustle of the city, this farm hosts all kinds of Halloween activities. You can go pumpkin picking, get lost in a corn maze, or take a hayride. Make sure to stock up on apple cider desserts for hibernation!

As always, take precautions when going out with friends. These activities allow you to be six feet apart from anyone outside your “family unit” while still having fun this fall. If you’re not living in the New York City area, try searching for similar options in your town.

Staff writer Ariana Novo is stuck in New Jersey, feeling nostalgic for both fall activities and the city. This article has inspired her to go pumpkin picking this weekend. She can be contacted at ariana.novo@columbiaspectator.com. Follow Spectator on Twitter @ColumbiaSpec.

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