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Socially distanced dates for pandemic cuffing season

Fall marks the unofficial start to cuffing season! If you're going to go on dates, a few socially distanced ones include drive-in movie theaters and Rutgers Gardens.  – Photo by Flickr

Hello, calling all basic B’s! It’s that time of year again.

Grab your pumpkin spice lattes and scarves because it’s getting nippy. That’s right, you read correctly.

It’s officially cuffing season and although we’ve been trapped in this crummy living situation for six-plus months, some things never change. Just matched with that cutie on Hinge or Bumble, but not feeling safe about Netflix and chill just yet?

Here are the best socially distanced date ideas for fall!

Pumpkin and apple picking

Right now, nothing could be cuter than getting festive pictures for the gram-holding pumpkins. Head to your local pumpkin patch, with your mask of course, and hand sanitizer on standby. As of September, my recommendations are Giamarese Farm & Orchards in East Brunswick, Cheesequake Farms in Old Bridge and Snyder’s Farm in Somerset, New Jersey.

Pumpkin and apple picking are the perfect festivity to get out of the house right now while having something delicious to bring home after your date! Bring your pumpkin back to your backyard or apartment and paint it or carve a jack-o-lantern with your boo (pun intended).

I recently went apple picking at Battleview Orchards in Freehold and then made an apple pie from the apples I picked. This is such a cute activity to do and will get you forgetting all about the trying times we’ve all been experiencing.

Most pumpkin patches even have stores where you can buy jams, honey and other fresh products for fall desserts and fun recipes. It’s the perfect time for pumpkin and apple picking and to take cute pictures while getting your flannel and boots out of the closet. This can be a cheap and active date idea too. 

Haunted houses

Haunted houses are another cute date idea perfect for the spooky season. Many haunted houses just opened this past weekend and are socially-distanced.

Scary Rotten Farms in Brick, New Jersey, is rated number four out of all the haunted houses in New Jersey, and admission is $18 a ticket per event. You can purchase tickets online at for a choice of three different haunted house themes that are outdoors and pandemic friendly.

What better way to get into the spooky mood than screaming in a terrifying haunted house or staying close to one another when the actors jump out at you? I recently went to the Sinister Sneed’s Chaotic Carnival of Chaos-themed haunted house here and it was an adrenaline rush!

Some other socially distanced haunted house recommendations are: Field of Terror in East Windsor, Scare Farm in Somerset County and C. Casola Farms in Marlboro. Scare farm, Field of Terror and C. Casola Farms are 25 minutes from New Brunswick, and tickets are sold online.

Rutgers Gardens

Rutgers Gardens are open Saturday through Thursday all day from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Cook’s Market is open Fridays 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. There are coronavirus disease (COVID-19) safety precautions currently in place.

This is a fun date to walk around and enjoy a romantic change of scenery, while still being close to campus. Rutgers Gardens is located a few minutes from campus at 112 Log Cabin Road in North Brunswick Township.

There are 18 different gardens and beautiful nature sceneries to choose from for a romantic, socially distanced date. This date is perfect for alone time and cute pictures and is an active date away from Netflix or Disney+. This is perfect for a weekend picnic or grocery shopping at the farmer’s market.

This date can be really cute and Rutgers gardens is free for entry. It is a perfect date to not get exposed to too many people while allowing you to be adventurous. You can explore places like Rutgers’ Bamboo Forest, Succulent Garden and Shade Tree Collection with your date at no cost.

For more fun, set up a cute picnic at Voorhees Hall on the College Avenue campus or on Cook campus near Passion Puddle after visiting Rutgers Gardens and exploring. 

Drive-In movies

Marty, what year is it? Go back to the future with a cute date at your local drive-in movie theater! This date will really make you feel special — you can order dinner and snacks through an online menu and get cozy in the car while watching the big screen.

This has been a really popular date idea and more drive-in theaters have been popping up. Enjoy this novelty date with the 1950’s vintage vibes. There are drive-in pop-up theaters in Linden, Neptune and Newark, New Jersey.

Closest to Rutgers, the Woodbridge Center is doing pop-up drive-in movies and currently selling tickets online for movies like "Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory." It’s located at 250 Woodbridge Center Drive in Woodbridge, New Jersey.

This cinema pop up is perfect for a romantic date that has a classic spin on movie and dinner. It offers online ordering and tickets are sold online for $25-$40 per vehicle depending on the event. On Oct. 10, there will be a movie night giving away car prizes that begin at 6:30 p.m. Tickets can be bought online here.

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