Fall, Special Needs and the Virus

Fall is usually my favorite time of year, with the annual trips to the apple orchard, leaf peeping and pondering Halloween. But like so many things over the past few months, my crystal ball is a bit murky when it comes to showing exactly what fall and Halloween will look like this year.

Will there even be trick-or-treating? Will there be a place to show off the kids’ costumes? What about haunted houses and hayrides? Since things seem to change day to day, we’ll have to wait and see as it gets closer.

What I do know is we can still have plenty of fall fun with the kids. Our area farms and orchards have new rules in place to keep visitors safe and while the photos might look a bit different with masks on, we’ll still get to do many of the things we are all are used to enjoying.

In case you haven’t heard, every month our family fun guru, Managing Editor Hillary Bird, creates a special guide, Let’s Go, filled with all you need to know about what’s open and the rules in play. It’s meant to easily download right to your computer or smartphone to give you easy access to the info when you need it.

As a parent, I’ve found it to be my go-to over the past few months before the family hops in the car for a day out.

This month, she’s rounded up all of the orchards and farms in Chicagoland for you with info on what you can do at each one. Find it at

Inside this issue of Chicago Parent, you’ll find some great tips to help you parent on those days you’re a little stressed or anxious and you’ll even see how other Chicagoland families are making some of the same tough choices you are.

We’ve also created a special section for parents with kids with special needs. When I asked a group of moms what they were most interested in reading, many told me they wanted more information about IEPs in the pandemic. So, writer Dawn Reiss got to work tracking down the info about IEPs and shares with us how much harder the pandemic is making things for parents who already have a very tough job to do.

To all parents, please give yourself some grace for all that you are doing.

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This article also appeared in Chicago Parent’s fall 2020 magazine 

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