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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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Warsaw Museum of Sport and Tourism
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The POW Olympics of World War II
Warsaw Museum of Sport and Tourism
Warsaw Museum of Sport and Tourism

With the outbreak of World War II prompting a somber and divisive mood across the globe, it seemed impossible civility could be introduced in time for the 1940 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan to be held.

So they weren’t. Neither were the 1944 Games, which were scheduled for London. But one Polish Prisoner of War camp was determined to keep the tradition alive. The Woldenberg Olympics were made up entirely of war captives who wanted—and needed—to feel a sense of camaraderie and normalcy in their most desperate hours.

In a 2004 NBC mini-documentary that aired during their broadcast of the Games, it was reported that Polish officers under German control in the Oflag II-C camp wanted to maintain their physical conditioning as a tribute to Polish athlete Janusz Kusocinski. Unlike another Polish POW camp that held unofficial Games under a veil of secrecy in 1940, the guards of Woldenberg allowed the ’44 event to proceed with the provision that no fencing, archery, javelin, or pole-vaulting competitions took place. (Perhaps the temptation to impale their captors would have proven too much for the men.)

Music, art, and sculptures were put on display. Detainees were also granted permission to make their own program and even commemorative postage stamps of the event courtesy of the camp’s homegrown “post office.” An Olympic flag was crafted out of spare bed sheets, which the German officers, in a show of contagious sportsman’s spirit, actually saluted.

The hand-made Olympic flag from Woldenberg.

Roughly 369 of the 7000 prisoners participated. Most of the men competed in multiple contests, which ranged from handball and basketball to chess. Boxing was included—but owing to the fragile state of prisoners, broken bones resulted in a premature end to the combat.

Almost simultaneously, another Polish POW camp in Gross Born (pop: 3000) was holding their own ceremony. Winners received medals made of cardboard. Both were Oflag sites, which were primarily for officers; it’s been speculated the Games were allowed because German forces had respect for prisoners who held military titles.

A gymnastics demonstration in the camp.

The grass-roots Olympics in both camps took place in July and August 1944. By January 1945, prisoners from each were evacuated. An unknown number perished during these “death marches,” but one of the flags remained in the possession of survivor Antoni Grzesik. The Lieutenant donated it to the Warsaw Museum of Sport and Tourism in 1974, where it joined a flag recovered from the 1940 Games. Both remain there today—symbols of a sporting life that kept hope alive for thousands of men who, for a brief time, could celebrate life instead of lamenting its loss.

Additional Sources: “The Olympic Idea Transcending War [PDF],” Olympic Review, 1996; “The Olympic Movement Remembered in the Polish Prisoner of War Camps in 1944 [PDF],” Journal of Olympic History, Spring 1995; "Olympics Behind Barbed Wire," Journal of Olympic History, March 2014.

 All images courtesy of Warsaw Museum of Sport and Tourism. 

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President John Tyler's Grandsons Are Still Alive
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Here's the most amazing thing you'll ever read about our 10th president:

John Tyler was born in 1790. He took office in 1841, after William Henry Harrison died. And he has two living grandchildren.

Not great-great-great-grandchildren. Their dad was Tyler’s son.

How is this possible?

The Tyler men have a habit of having kids very late in life. Lyon Gardiner Tyler, one of President Tyler’s 15 kids, was born in 1853. He fathered Lyon Gardiner Tyler Jr. in 1924, and Harrison Ruffin Tyler in 1928.

We placed a somewhat awkward call to the Charles City County History Center in Virginia to check in on the Tylers.

After we shared this fact on Twitter in 2012, Dan Amira interviewed Harrison Tyler for New York Magazine. Lyon Tyler spoke to the Daughters of the American Revolution a while back. They were profiled by The Times of London. And Snopes is also in on the fact.

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