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Beyond Halloween: Mark October with these festive and weird holidays

October 19, 2018

Welcome to October, where all things scary reign supreme and horror flicks get their dues on MaxxSouth TV. This month of ghouls, ghosts, and goblins share the calendar with other quirky holidays and celebrations. Sure, you won’t find them on a calendar, but the themed days are meant to bring family and friends together before the holiday craziness begins. Here are a few zany holidays observed in October.

Squirrel Awareness Month

The Squirrel Lovers Club was started by Gregg Bassett in 1995 to celebrate the dancing squirrel Bassett played with as he vacationed in the Grand Canyon. Bassett and his quirky club were featured on national news shows and international magazines until Bassett’s death in October 2008. Bassett’s friends carried on the tradition and remind people every October to enjoy and treasure squirrels.

October 1: Less Than Perfect Day

Quit being a perfectionist and accept that mistakes will be made. People are asked to try something new such as juggling or singing at the top of their lungs with the car window down. The aim of this day is to channel self-criticism and manage unrealistic expectations into a healthy acceptance of life.

October 8: National Pierogi Day

Pierogies are dumplings stuffed with cheese, potatoes, meats, sauerkraut or vegetables. The dumpling is boiled then fried and topped with butter and cooked onions. Pierogi surged in popularity after World War II and were often found on deli and diner menus. Enjoyed sweet or in a savory variation, the European comfort food is celebrated at the Pittsburgh Pirates baseball game with a race. Four runners run toward a finish line while dressed in pierogi costumes.

October 15th: Global Handwashing Day/The Global Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing with Soap

Many people are alive simply because people practiced washing their hands with soap. Hands are a major carrier of germs that cause stomach and respiratory illness. This advocacy day is founded by the Global Handwashing Partnership. They encourage people to find creative ways to promote and reinforce the safety benefits of handwashing with soap.

October 24th: National Bologna Day

This holiday has a way with b-o-l-o-g-n-a. Fans often celebrate the lunchmeat and all that is bologna-related on this special day by making an insane, multi-layered cake with of the popular sausage. To make a bologna cake, layer cream cheese over bologna slices (the higher the layers, the better it will look), then frost the ‘cake’ with canned cheese. You can use more cream cheese for rosettes or decorate the top with stuffed olives. Slice the cake into thinly-sliced wedges and serve with crackers.

October 28: National Chocolate Day

Chocolate can be traced back 3,000 to 4,000 years to the cultures of Mesoamerica before Christopher Columbus. Then, it was an unsweetened, bitter drink meant for sacred rituals. Now, this decadent treat is one of the world’s most popular foods. No one really needed a special day for chocolate. Although, it is quite nice to enjoy a box of chocolates outside of February.

October 26: National Pumpkin Day

Pumpkins became an integral part of Halloween with the arrival of Scottish and Irish immigrants. Immigrants carved pumpkins and placed candles in them to help illuminate the way of “Stingy Jack.” Irish folklore says Stingy Jack cheated the Devil and was cast out of heaven and hell, leaving Stingy Jack to wander the land with a jack-o’-lantern for light.

October 29: Hermit Day

Saint Coleman was an Irish saint who spent the last seven years of his life living alone in a cave. He died on this day in 632 A.D. Hermit Day encourages everyone to dedicate time to be alone. Use your lightening fast internet and the #NationalHermitDay to celebrate some alone time before logging off and tuning out.

October 29: National Cat Day

The Animal Miracle Foundation founded this day to bring awareness to the number of cats in need of rescue from euthanasia. By the Foundation’s estimate, more than 1 million cats have been saved since its inception in 2005. Rescuing shelter cats is the primary reason for the day’s observance. However, the holiday reminds people to love and cherish all the cats in their lives.

October 30th: Mischief Night

Kids and teens use this night to expend their pre-Halloween energy. On the eve of October 31, they are encouraged to engage in mild mischief and pranks, such as toilet-papering trees or throwing rotten produce through the streets. This socially sanctioned time for mischief has been around for decades, going back to the 1930s. Some cities have their own spin on the day; Detroit residents call the night “Devil’s Night” while Cincinnati calls it “Cabbage Night.”

October 31: UNICEF Day

In observation of this day of awareness, children and adults knock on doors for donations instead of candy for the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF). The fund started shortly after World War II in an effort to provide emergency food and healthcare to children in ravaged countries. The campaign is now one of the longest-running youth initiatives in the U.S and for many, it’s their first foray into supporting a global cause.