Ways to safely continue hanging with friends as the weather gets cold

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Noah Mauriello, Staff Writer

Usually during the chilly fall and winter months, most people are accustomed to making plans with friends indoors.  This year, however, the COVID-19 pandemic has made such plans more complicated.  Although many may be concerned, there are still ways to make the most of the colder conditions. 

First, hanging out outdoors will still be possible because of the heating options currently on the market.  Patio heaters are perfect for this situation, as they are used to warm the area in which  people are socializing.  

According to Captain Patio, an outdoor product review site, “expect a freestanding patio heater to cover a 20-foot diameter,” which means that four friends can easily sit or stand around the heater while socially distancing and staying warm.  Even if the patio heater is too costly an option, there are other opportunities to hang out outdoors. 

Other than the obvious similar choice, which would be a bonfire, there are a multitude of ways to have fun in the snow.  Socializing in the snow has never been an activity where friends are within six feet, so going sledding on the closest hill, making snowmen, having snowball fights, or participating in other snowy activities will be available as long as there is snow on the ground. 

“My friends and I plan on having snowball fights and wiffle ball tournaments every snow day we get,” said sophomore Owen Schindler.  

On chilly days when there is no snow, options such as biking, taking a walk or hike, or having a picnic with friends can suffice. 

Despite the fact that it isn’t really possible right now to make plans with friends in an indoor setting, there are still many ways to hang out inside as the winter months draw near.  For example, indoor rock climbing gyms are open and safe, as long as all participants are wearing a mask for the entirety of their visit.  Furthermore, indoor ice skating rinks will be a perfect alternative to a friend’s house during the holiday season. 

“An ideal Saturday for me consists of going to an indoor go-kart place with friends and following up with a batting cage session,” said sophomore Sean Agin when asked about his plans for a winter weekend day. 

Along with these great indoor options, there are still ways to enjoy time with friends indoors while staying home.  It may seem that watching movies can only be done alone right now, but there is a Chrome extension called Netflix Party which synchronizes multiple devices at once, making it possible for people in different houses to watch Netflix together while on FaceTime or Houseparty.  In addition, video games are a fun option.  Whether it’s on a console, computer, or phone, relaxing with friends on games ranging from Among Us to Minecraft to Animal Crossing will be a perfect way to still spend time safely with others when other alternatives aren’t available. 

“Many of the same qualities of hanging out with friends exist in video games because of the hilarious conversations that take place.  I’ll be sure to play a bunch of video games with my friends online and without a risk of catching COVID,” said sophomore James D’Antonio. 

While it is easy to jump to the conclusion that this winter will be miserable, there are still a lot of great ways to hang out safely, and they’ll make for new and exciting memories.