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Fall in Connecticut: Foliage, pumpkins, and hauntings

For many, it's the most wonderful time of the year but this fall may look different than others due to the pandmemic.
Fall foliage is big business in Connecticut

HARTFORD, Conn — If there's just one thing that's quintessential New England, it's the frenzy of activity with the arrival of fall. 

We embrace it in this region, and especially in Connecticut. 

If you want to hike through mountains of fall foliage, we have that. If you want to take a tour of the state's most haunted spots to prepare for Halloween, we have that. If you want to get the best apple cider and pumpkins--well you know where we're going with this. 

Before we go further, please head to the Connecticut Tourism Board, DEEP's website, and to the Travel Advisory website for COVID-19 requirements and restrictions. Also, be sure to keep tabs on Governor Ned Lamont's executive orders surrounding group activities and other restrictions.

Here's what you can do this fall in Connecticut during the pandemic:


Let's get to the basics first. Connecticut is the gateway to the Berkshires and has rolling hills throughout the state. Once fall comes, those hills and mountains are painted red, orange, and brown.

So when will the trees start to turn?

According to the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), foliage season begins in late September and extends through early November. 

Click here for a foliage tracker.

Peak color is estimated to be between October 5 and November 8. However, depending on the weather in the coming weeks, the peak date may be adjusted a few days earlier or later as the season progresses. But, said DEEP, don't worry about missing "peak" color. You will still be able to enjoy a full array of colors that can be found before "peak".

RELATED: Halloween candy showing up on store shelves early this year

How can we best enjoy the foliage and do some leaf-peeping? 

DEEP also has you covered there. You can hike Connecticut's trails or do some driving loops around the state for good vantage points. There's also the option of heading down to the shoreline. Be mindful of DEEP's restrictions due to COVID-19. You can also learn more here.

Out of state drivers will have to pay a fee to access the state parks once more. The fee was suspended during the summer except for three out of four beaches along the shoreline. Learn more here.

Head here for the driving map. 

Head here for the best state parks and where to go on the shoreline.

Pumpkin picking (and other activities)

What's fall without pumpkin pie? What's Halloween without a jack-o-lantern?

We love pumpkin picking. We love corn mazes. We love apple cider and apple picking and really anything else you can get on your local farm to help celebrate the season. 

This year may look different due to COVID-19, to be sure to check their websites or call them to see if they are open and what restrictions may be in place. 

The Connecticut Tourism Board has assembled a list of all the places you can visit! Check them out here.

Spooky Popcorn

The City of Hartford is hosting scary movie events! 

The series, which takes place on Constitution Plaza, will run for five consecutive nights and will feature such classic films as Beetlejuice, Night of the Living Dead, Us, and The Thing. The series will open on Tuesday, October 20 with a showing of the locally-made, independent film Ten Minutes to Midnight. 

Each screening will have limited capacity and tickets must be purchased in advance. Each ticket entitles the attendee to a section of the physically-distanced seating grid, and each square can accommodate up to four people. Proceeds from ticket sales will go to benefit the Hartford Business Improvement District’s clean and safe program.

All attendees are encouraged to bring their own blankets and chairs. Outside food and nonalcoholic beverages will be permitted. Children aged 17 and under must be accompanied by an adult. 

You can learn more here! 

East Hartford's Not-So-Haunted Happenings’ During the Month of October

East Hartford Parks and Recreation has some fun new family-friendly programs and activities coming up during the month of October! All activities will follow strict social distancing guidelines and masks will be required.  All registered participants, pumpkin hunt winners and those who upload fall photos will be entered into a drawing for some fantastic prizes at the end of the month.

You can learn more here!

A Haunting Tour

Alright, time for the spooky things! 

Before we go on, remember to call all the places listed or head to their websites to see COVID-19 restrictions that may be in place.

Connecticut has a strong paranormal history between old, haunted homes and hotels... and being the home to famous paranormal investigators. 

If you want a more traditional glance at the ghostly world Connecticut is said to be host to, head to the Connecticut Tourism Board. There, they list all the places you can go to take a tour or walk around to learn the history and, maybe, even see a ghost! Check them all out here! 

RELATED: 'Hocus Pocus' to air 14 times during Freeform's 31 Nights of Halloween: See the full 2020 schedule

Are hayrides more your speed? Hayrides.com has listed hayrides and other trails that are available in Connecticut.

Want something that'll scare your socks off?

Sadly, due to COVID-19, places that usually helped you get into the Halloween mood like Lake Compunce had to cancel their events this year do to COVID-19. 

However, other well-known places like the Trail of Terror in Wallingford say they are working to open safely. Legends of Fear in Shelton also appears to be opening for the season. 

Head to the trails' websites to confirm if they will be opening this season and for their contact information. This list will continue to update as information comes in:

Trail of Terror

Nightmare Acres (confirmed canceled until 2021)

Haunt on Eden

Rails to the Darkside

Legends of Fear 

Fright Haven

Harrybrooke Haunted Trail (confirmed canceled until 2021)

Evidence of Evil (confirmed canceled until 2021)

Lake Compounce (confirmed canceled until 2021)

The Dark Manor

The Haunted Isle