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15 Offbeat Holidays You Can Celebrate in October

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Need a reason to celebrate this month? Look no further than the list below.

October 1st: National Homemade Cookies Day



Take a knee, Little Debbie, today we only want our tasty circular treats fresh from the oven. If you aren’t a master of the chocolate chip, take the day to make a little mess in the kitchen and give yourself a lesson in “from scratch.” Or for the less motivated set, make sure to butter up that special baker in your life to make some holiday treats for the both of you.

October 2nd: National Name Your Car Day

Or as KITT from Knight Rider calls it: National Me Day. In case you have not bestowed your wheels with a pet name yet, on this holiday you have no excuses. Don’t let the tiny detail of not owning an automobile stop you from celebrating. Since there’s no real origin story to Name Your Car Day, there are no rules: name your friend’s car, or your neighbor’s, or even a taxi!

October 4th: National Taco Day

The crisp autumn air of early October might not exactly scream “tacos,” but then again, why not? Skip the local fast food taqueria (unless, of course, they’re giving the tasty treats away), and go on a scavenger hunt for the best taco in your town. Or host a taco night for a couple of close friends. Tacos are nothing if not about bringing people closer together.

October 6th: Mad Hatter Day

In John Tenniel’s illustrations of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, he drew a white slip from the cap of the Mad Hatter that read, “In this style 10/6.” What better reason do you need to set aside the sixth of October to hold a merry tea party, be a little foolish, and wear an oversized hat? Of course, if you’re European you may argue that these celebrations are more suitably held on the tenth of June. Cultural confusion—classic Mad Hatter.

October 8th: Canadian Thanksgiving

Our neighbors to the north have their own day of giving thanks for the harvest, and they beat us to the punch by nearly a month and a half. In the late 1950s, the Canadian government declared the second Monday in every October Thanksgiving day. Though it does not mark a specific gathering of two groups like the U.S. version, Canadian Thanksgiving offers a great excuse to gobble down a turkey dinner in the name of neighborly solidarity.

October 12th: International Moment of Frustration Scream Day

Wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, just stop and really let it out. We’re told you can hear the collective scream from space.

October 14th: national lowercase day

proper nouns be damned! today capital is purely an economic asset. your middle school grammar teacher might balk at such a holiday, but the shift button on your keyboard will thank you for the day off.

October 15th: Global Handwashing Day


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We certainly scratched our heads a few times about this one, because shouldn’t every day be global handwashing day? But an organization by the apropos name of The Global Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing with Soap felt it necessary to create an entire day of awareness to spread the gospel of clean hands. Anyone can celebrate, and public health benefits. It’s a win-win.

October 16th: National Dictionary Day

Word nerds rejoice! Today you may proudly pore over the pages of your Merriam-Webster and Oxford’s alike. Celebrate the holiday by learning 20 new words, and impress your peers and colleagues for life. Or at least for 20 minutes.

October 18th: National No Beard Day

We suspect that fellows unlucky in the facial hair-growing department might have something to do with this holiday. Regardless, if you are an offbeat holiday observer with facial hair, that chin strap has got to go. Those are the rules. A fresh start for your face could translate to a fresh start for your life. Which brings us to…

October 19th: Evaluate Your Life Day

This may seem better suited for post-New Years Eve, but get your existential ducks in a row early this year. Who are you? What do you want? Where do you want to go? These are just a few questions to get you started down the actualization rabbit hole. By January 1, you’ll have it all worked out!

October 20th: Information Overload Day

Knowledge economy research and advisory firm Basex estimates that “a minimum of 28 billion hours is lost each year to Information Overload in the United States.” For example, trudging through 100 email messages can suck up half of your workday. Reduce the noise, starting today. The Information Overload Challenge suggests you send 10% fewer email messages beginning on—but not ending on—the 20th of October. For example, if you were going to email this post to 100 of your closest friends, instead email it to 90. (We won’t tell if you break the rule just this once.)

October 24th: National Bologna Day

This distant cousin of the Charcuterie family is far less pretentious in taste than its name might imply. Bologna has roots in Bologna, Italy, derived from a sausage made there called mortadella. These days, it’s more humble, and commonly associated with cheeses of the Kraft Singles variety. It also can be a colloquial expression meaning “full of it,” which you just might be after a holiday of eating lots of bologna.

October 26th (2012): Nevada Day

A legal holiday in Nevada, this day commemorates its entry into statehood and frontier roots. It became the official 36th state on October 31st, 1864. But, due to that pesky other holiday falling on the same date known as “Halloween,” state voters decided in 1999 to observe the holiday on the last Friday of every October with parades, concerts, balls, and a day off of work. For those Nevadan purists, 10/31 is still technically Nevada Day.

October 30th: Mischief Night


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AKA the Devil’s Night or “Hell Night.” Halloween might yield some frightening costumes and even more frightening levels of high fructose corn syrup, but the night before is when the real (dark) magic happens. In the United States, teenage hooligans prowl their suburban streets with toilet paper, eggs, and, well, mischief in their hearts. Unless you enjoy a good prank, we suggest you stay inside and don’t answer the doorbell.

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Fake It Until You Make It: 10 Artificial Ruins
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Ramones Karaoke, Flickr // CC BY-NC 2.0

The love of ruins, sometimes called ruinophilia, has for centuries inspired the creation of clever fakes—a host of sham facades and hollowed-out castle shells found on grand English, European, and even American estates. The popularity of constructing artificial ruins was at its peak during the 18th and 19th centuries, but architects occasionally still incorporate them today.

Why build a structure that is already crumbling? Between the 16th and 19th centuries, the popularity of counterfeit ruins was influenced by two factors—a classical education that enforced the ideals of ancient Greece and Rome, and the extended tour of Europe (known as The Grand Tour) that well-to-do young men and women took after completing their education. Travelers might start in London or France and roam as far as the Middle East, but the trip almost always included Italy and a chance to admire Roman ruins. More than a few wealthy travelers returned home longing to duplicate those ruins, either to complement a romantic landscape, to demonstrate wealth, or to provide a pretense of family history for the newly rich.

Here are a few romantic ruins constructed between the 18th and 21st centuries.

1. SHAM CASTLE // BATHAMPTON, ENGLAND

Sham Castle (shown above) is aptly named—it’s only a façade. The "castle," overlooking the English city of Bath, was created in 1762 to improve the view for Ralph Allen, a local entrepreneur and philanthropist as well as to provide jobs for local stonemasons. From a distance it looks like a castle ruin, but it's merely a wall that has two three-story circular turrets and a two-story square tower at either end. The castle is not the only folly (as such purely decorative architecture is often called) that Allen built. He also constructed a sham bridge on Serpentine Lake in what is now Prior Park Landscape Garden—the bridge can't be crossed, but provides a nice focal point for the lake. Today, Sham Castle is part of a private golf course.

2. WIMPOLE FOLLY // CAMBRIDGESHIRE, ENGLAND

Building a structure that looks as if it's crumbling does not preclude having to perform regular maintenance. The four-story Gothic tower known as Wimpole Folly in Wimpole, Cambridgeshire, England, was built 1768-72 for Philip Yorke, first Earl of Hardwicke and owner of the Wimpole Estate. Owned by Britain’s National Trust, the ruin threatened to truly crumble a few years ago, so restoration efforts were needed. The last restoration was so well done it won the 2016 European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage. The Wimpole Estate is now open to the public for walks and hikes.

3. CAPEL MANOR FOLLY // ENFIELD, ENGLAND

Capel Manor at Bulls Cross, Enfield, England has been the site of several grand homes since the estate’s first recorded mention in the 13th century, so visitors might be tempted to believe that the manor house's ruins date back at least a few centuries. But that sense of history is an illusion: The faux 15th-century house was built in 2010 to add visual appeal to the manor gardens, which have been open to the public since the 1920s.

4. ROMAN RUIN // SCHONBRUNN PALACE, VIENNA, AUSTRIA

The Roman Ruin was built as a garden ornament for the 1441-room Schonbrunn Palace in Vienna, one of the most important monuments in Austria. The ruin was once called The Ruins of Carthage, after the ancient North African city defeated by Roman military force. But despite the illusion of antiquity, the ruins were created almost 2000 years after Carthage fell in 146 B.C.E. The ruin’s rectangular pool, framed by an intricate semi-circle arch, was designed in 1778 by the architect Johann Ferdinand Hetzendorf von Hohenberg, who modeled it on the Ancient Roman temple of Vespasian and Titus, which he had seen an engraving of.

5. THE RUINEBERG // POTSDAM, GERMANY

One of the earliest examples of artificial ruins in Germany was the complex of structures known as The Ruinenberg. Frederick the Great, King of Prussia, had a summer palace in Potsdam, near Berlin, that was said to rival Versailles. In 1748 Frederick commissioned a large fountain for the palace complete with artificial ruins. The waterworks part of his plan proved too difficult and was soon abandoned, but not before designer Georg Wenzeslaus von Knobelsdorff constructed the ruins. The complex includes Roman pillars, a round temple, and the wall of a Roman theatre. Since 1927 the site has belonged to the Prussian Gardens and Palaces Foundation, Berlin-Brandenburg.

6. PARC MONCEAU // PARIS, FRANCE

Elegant Parc Monceau is located in the fashionable 8th arrondissement of Paris near the Champs-Elysees and Palais de l’Elysée. In 1778, the Duke of Chartres decided to build a mansion on land previously used for hunting. He loved English architecture and gardens, including the notion of nostalgic ruins, so he hired the architect Louis Carrogis Carmontelle to create an extravagant park complete with a Roman temple, antique statues, a Chinese bridge, a farmhouse, a Dutch windmill, a minaret, a small Egyptian pyramid, and some fake gravestones. The most notable feature of the park is a pond surrounded by Corinthian columns, now known as Colonnade de Carmontelle.

7. HAGLEY PARK CASTLE // WORCESTERSHIRE, ENGLAND

The ruins of the medieval castle at Hagley Park in Worcestershire are definitely fake, but they were built with debris from the real ruin of a neighboring abbey. The folly was commissioned by Sir George Lyttelton in 1747 and designed by Sanderson Miller, an English pioneer of Gothic revival architecture. The castle has a round tower at each corner, but by design only one is complete and decorated inside with a coat of arms. The grounds, which also feature a temple portico inspired by an ancient Greek temple, some urns, and obelisks, are now privately owned and not open to the public.

8. TATA CASTLE RUINS // TATA, HUNGARY

French architect Charles de Moreau (1758-1841) was a scholar of classical Roman architecture known for his ability to counterfeit impressive ruins. Nicholas I, Prince Esterhazy of Hungary, hired him to work on Tata Castle and to create the ruins of a Romanesque church for the palace’s English Garden. Even though the ruin Moreau created was fake, he built it with the stones of a real ruin, the remnants of the early-12th-century Benedictine and later Dominican abbey of Vértesszőlős. A third-century ancient Roman tombstone and relief were placed nearby.

9. BELVEDERE CASTLE // MANHATTAN, NEW YORK

Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux designed Central Park in the mid-1800s, and their plan for creating romantic vistas included the construction of a folly known as Belvedere Castle. The Gothic-Romanesque style hybrid, overlooking Central Park’s Great Lawn, was completed in 1869. Although the folly was designed as a hollow shell and meant to be a ruin, it eventually served a practical purpose, housing a weather bureau and exhibit space. The castle also provides a beautiful backdrop for Shakespeare in the Park productions, evoking the royal homes that play prominent roles in the Bard’s works.

10. FOLLY WALL IN BARKING TOWN SQUARE // LONDON

In a borough known for its real historic buildings, the ancient wall found in London’s Barking Town Square might look centuries old. It’s not, and ironically, the wall is part of the square’s renovation efforts. The wall was built by bricklaying students at Barking College using old bricks and crumbling stone items found at salvage yards. Known as the "Secret Garden," named after the children’s book about a walled garden, the wall was designed to screen a nearby supermarket and was unveiled in 2007.

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Lovely Vintage Manuals Show How to Design for the Human Body
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IA Collaborative

If you're designing something for people to hold and use, you probably want to make sure that it will fit a normal human. You don't want to make a cell phone that people can't hold in their hands (mostly) or a vacuum that will have you throwing out your back every time you clean the house. Ergonomics isn't just for your office desk setup; it's for every product you physically touch.

In the mid-1970s, the office of legendary industrial designer Henry Dreyfuss created a series of manuals for designers working on products that involved the human body. And now, the rare Humanscale manuals from Henry Dreyfuss Associates are about to come back into print with the help of a Kickstarter campaign from a contemporary design firm. Using the work of original Henry Dreyfuss Associates designers Niels Diffrient and Alvin R. Tilley, the guides are getting another life with the help of the Chicago-based design consultancy IA Collaborative.

A Humanscale page illustrates human strength statistics.

The three Humanscale Manuals, published between 1974 and 1981 but long out-of-print, covered 18 different types of human-centric design categories, like typical body measurements, how people stand in public spaces, how hand and foot controls should work, and how to design for wheelchair users within legal requirements. In the mid-20th century, the ergonomics expertise of Dreyfuss and his partners was used in the development of landmark products like the modern telephones made by Bell Labs, the Polaroid camera, Honeywell's round thermostat, and the Hoover vacuum.

IA Collaborative is looking to reissue all three Humanscale manuals which you can currently only find in their printed form as historic documents in places like the Cooper Hewitt design museum in New York. IA Collaborative's Luke Westra and Nathan Ritter worked with some of the original designers to make the guides widely available again. Their goal was to reprint them at a reasonable price for designers. They're not exactly cheap, but the guides are more than just pretty decor for the office. The 60,000-data-point guides, IA Collaborative points out, "include metrics for every facet of human existence."

The manuals come in the form of booklets with wheels inside the page that you spin to reveal standards for different categories of people (strong, tall, short, able-bodied, men, women, children, etc.). There are three booklets, each with three double-sided pages, one for each category. For instance, Humanscale 1/2/3 covers body measurements, link measurements, seating guide, seat/table guide, wheelchair users, and the handicapped and elderly.

A product image of the pages from Humanscale Manual 1/2/3 stacked in a row.

"All products––from office chairs to medical devices—require designs that 'fit' the end user," according to Luke Westra, IA Collective's engineering director. "Finding the human factors data one needs to achieve these ‘fits' can be extremely challenging as it is often scattered across countless sources," he explains in a press release, "unless you've been lucky enough to get your hands on the Humanscale manuals."

Even setting aside the importance of the information they convey, the manuals are beautiful. Before infographics were all over the web, Henry Dreyfuss Associates were creating a huge compendium of visual data by hand. Whether you ever plan to design a desk chair or not, the manuals are worthy collectors' items.

The Kickstarter campaign runs from July 25 to August 24. The three booklets can be purchased individually ($79) or as a full set ($199).

All images courtesy IA Collaborative

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