33 Offbeat Holidays You Can Celebrate In October

Anton Ostapenko/iStock via Getty Images
Anton Ostapenko/iStock via Getty Images

The spookiest month of the year has arrived, and with it, a calendar full of offbeat holidays. Between your autumnal walks, horror movie marathons, and oh, National Cat Day on October 29 (which is basically the year's most important holiday here at Mental Floss) see if you can squeeze in a few of these unconventional celebrations.

1. October 1: World Vegetarian Day

It's easy enough to eat meat-free for a day, but this celebration is intended to kick off a month of vegetarian awareness and encourage more lasting change.

2. October 2: World Farm Animals Day

Different colors cows feeding at the same time
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This may seem at odds with World Vegetarian Day, until you consider that this is actually a day to protest the farm in farm animal and the cruel conditions it implies. It's an admirable effort, but the founders of World Farm Animals Day were a little heavy-handed in their decision to celebrate the cause on Gandhi's birthday.

3. October 2: National Custodial Worker's recognition Day

Because really, we should be celebrating them every day.

4. October 4: Ten-Four Day

Group of hands holding portable two way radios with yellow background
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The fourth day of the 10th month of the year is the day the world celebrates radio operators, to which we say, “Ten-Four.”

5. October 4: National Ships-In-Bottles Day

ship in a bottle
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Someone spent a lot of time making this art happen, so let's take a little time to appreciate it.

6. October 7: World Smile Day

If the calendar says you have to do it, you have to do it.

7. October 8: National Pierogi Day

A plate of pierogis
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On this day in 1952, pierogies were first delivered to a grocery store in Shenandoah, Pennsylvania, and we’ve been devouring them ever since.

8. October 9: Bring Your Teddy Bear to Work/School Day

Woman and teddy bear sitting bench
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No judgment here if you've entered the working world and have yet to outgrow your teddy bear—in fact, all the more reason to celebrate.

9. October 9: International Top Spinning Day

Two wooden and colorful spinning tops
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A good day to head to the toy store and take a spin.

10. October 10: National Handbag Day

Sky blue handbag purse and beautiful woman hand with red manicure isolated on pink background
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We carry them around, but in many ways, it’s the handbags that carry us.

11.October 10: National Cake Decorating Day

Making a boxed cake recipe and applying the frosting with a butter knife definitely counts.

12. October 11: Southern Food Heritage Day

Close-up photo of fried chicken and waffles
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Sorry, but if you're not eating a plate of chicken and waffles like the above, or something equally Southern, on October 11, you're doing it wrong.

13. October 12: International Moment Of Frustration Scream Day

To celebrate this organized catharsis, go outdoors at 12 p.m. Greenwich Mean Time (8 a.m. EST) and scream for 30 seconds.

14. October 15: National Grouch Day

Grumpy old man frowns at the camera
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For those who love one, and those who are one.

15. October 15: National Face Your Fears Day

The spookiest month of the year is as good a time as any.

16. October 16: Hagfish Day

Large blue bin of slime eels or hagfish
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These eel-shaped, slime-producing fish are fairly disgusting (seriously), but they're also kind of awesome. They have four hearts, have been around for hundreds of millions of years, and can feed through their skin. So while it might not be beautiful, the humble hagfish does deserve a little love and respect.

17. October 16: Dictionary Day

An open dictionary isolated on a white background
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October 16th is Noah Webster’s birthday, so take a break from your lackadaisical use of the English language, k?

18. October 17: Get Smart About Credit Day

Hand with chalk is drawing Credit score concept on the chalkboard.
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This American Bankers Association holiday is all about educating the public on credit—and if that stresses you out, you should probably be observing this quirky commemoration.

19. October 19: Sweetest Day

Traditionally celebrated in the Midwest and Northeastern United States, Sweetest Day is a lot like Valentine's Day, which—depending on your outlook—is either a very good thing or a very bad thing.

20. October 19: Evaluate Your Life Day

young man at balcony in depression suffering emotional crisis
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It’s time.

21. October 22: Smart Is Cool Day

Young genius in glasses and a cardigan
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This is one that holiday that Mental Floss HQ can really get behind.

22. October 23: National Mole Day

Neither a tribute to the animal, nor a skin feature, nor an undercover spy, Mole Day honors Avogadro's Number, which is a basic measuring unit in chemistry.

23. October 23: Canning Day

Blueberry jam in jar with berries and leaves over rustic wooden table
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Nicolas Appert—the inventor of hermetically sealed food preservation and the "father of canning"—was born around this time circa 1750, and this day celebrates all things that come in jars. So, you know, put a lid on it.

24. October 26: National Mule Day

Now that you’ve celebrated moles, give a tip of the hat to mules—literal ones this time. On October 26, 1785, a pair of Spanish mules arrived in the U.S. as a gift from King Charles III. They’re said to have been the first mules bred in this country, by George Washington himself.

25. October 27: Cranky Co-workers Day

Depressed business people in the office
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Not that you have any of those ...

26. October 27: Mother-in-Law Day

Unfortunately, this comes after National Forgiveness Day, so if you forget to give her a call it might be a long year before she forgives you.

27. October 29: National Cat Day

Cute cat smiling at the camera
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We know you don’t need a date in the calendar for this, but it makes your Instagrams all that much more justified.

28. October 30: National Candy Corn Day

A bowl full of candy corn
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Feel free to debate the merits of a holiday for this highly controversial, tricolored confection.

29. October 30: Checklists Day

Cropped image of businesswoman writing on checklist
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Put this one on your to-do list!

30. October 30: Create A Great Funeral Day

A coffin with a flower arrangement in a morgue
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Much of October is spent focused on ghouls and goblins, but this day is all about confronting the scariest thing of all: mortality. Between your apple orchard outings and haunted house trips, make sure you and your loved ones have a plan for after you've shuffled off this mortal coil. Happy October?

31. October 30: Haunted Refrigerator Night

A skeleton's diet is blown when a sweet tooth calls in the middle of the night
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This offbeat holi-night is about exploring the darker corners and containers of your fridge. After all, we've all got some metaphorical skeletons lurking in there.

32. October 31: National Magic Day

Magician Hand Holding Fanned Deck Of Cards From Hat
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Halloween, shmalloween. This holiday is fittingly held on the anniversary of the death of Harry Houdini.

33. October 31: National Knock-Knock jokes Day

There's no better time than the spookiest day of the year to tell some good (or bad) knock-knock jokes.

10 Questions About Columbus Day

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ihsanGercelman/iStock via Getty Images

Every American student learns that Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue and landed in the New World in 1492. Winifred Sackville Stoner, Jr.'s poem "History of the U.S." has made it impossible to forget the date (although the couplet actually predates her birth), and many federal workers get a day off every October to recognize the explorer's arrival in the New World. You know the who and where, but here are 10 more answers to pressing questions about Columbus Day.

1. When did Christopher Columbus become a cultural icon?

By the early 1500s, other navigators like Amerigo Vespucci and Francisco Pizarro had become more popular and successful than Columbus had been with his off-course voyages. According to The New York Times, historians and writers in the latter part of the 16th century restored some of Columbus’s reputation with great words of praise for the explorer and his discoveries, with his fellow Italians proving particularly eager to celebrate his life in plays and poetry.

2. How did Christopher Columbus's popularity reach the United States?

Blame the British. As the American colonies formed an identity separate from their mainly English roots, colonists looked to figures like the "appointed of God" Columbus to symbolize their ideals. "By the time of the Revolution," writes John Noble Wilford, "Columbus had been transmuted into a national icon, a hero second only to Washington." Columbus's American legacy got another shot in the arm in 1828 when a biography (peppered with historical fiction) by Washington Irving transformed Columbus into an even more idealized figure who sought to "colonize and cultivate," not to strip the New World of its resources.

3. When was the first Columbus Day?

The first recorded celebration took place in 1792 in New York City, but the first holiday held in commemoration of the 1492 voyage coincided with its 400th anniversary in 1892. President Benjamin Harrison issued a proclamation in which he called Columbus a "pioneer of progress and enlightenment" and suggested that Americans "cease from toil and devote themselves to such exercises as may best express honor to the discoverer and their appreciation of the great achievements of the four completed centuries of American life."

If Harrison had had his way, though, the holiday would have been celebrated on October 21. He knew that Columbus landed under the Julian calendar, not the Gregorian calendar we use today—making October 21 the correct date for anniversary celebrations.

4. Did anyone actually celebrate Columbus Day in the 19th century?

Italian Americans embraced Columbus as an important figure in their history and saw celebrating him as a way to "be accepted by the mainstream," the Chicago Tribune notes. The Knights of Columbus, an organization formed by Irish Catholic immigrants in 1882, chose the Catholic explorer as their patron "as a symbol that allegiance to their country did not conflict with allegiance to their faith," according to the group's website. Following President Harrison’s 1892 proclamation, they lobbied for Columbus Day to become an official holiday.

5. When did Columbus Day become an official holiday?

The holiday first found traction at the state level. Colorado began celebrating Columbus Day, by governor's proclamation, in 1905. Angelo Noce, founder of the first Italian newspaper in the state, spearheaded the movement to honor Columbus and Italian American history. In 1907, the Colorado General Assembly finally gave in to him and made it an official state holiday.

6. When did Columbus Day become a federal holiday?

With Franklin D. Roosevelt as president, lobbying from the Knights of Columbus paid off, and the United States as a whole observed Columbus Day in 1934. Thirty-four years later, Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Uniform Holiday Bill, which designated Columbus Day as a federal holiday.

7. Why does the date of Columbus Day change every year?

Columbus Day was originally celebrated on October 12, the day Columbus landed in the New World, but the Uniform Holiday Bill took effect in 1971 and changed it to the second Monday in October, as well as moved the dates of Washington’s Birthday, Memorial Day, and Veterans Day to Mondays (Veterans Day would be moved back to November 11 in 1980 after criticism from veterans’ groups). The act of Congress was enacted to "provide for uniform annual observances of certain legal public holidays on Monday, and for other purposes."

8. Does every state observe the Columbus Day holiday on the same weekend?

In Tennessee, Columbus Day comes with an asterisk. The state’s official holiday observance calendar reads that Columbus Day is the second Monday of October, or "at the governor's discretion, Columbus Day may be observed the Friday after Thanksgiving."

9. Which states don't celebrate Columbus Day?

In Hawaii, the second Monday of October is known as Discoverer’s Day, "in recognition of the Polynesian discoverers of the Hawaiian Islands, provided that this day is not and shall not be construed to be a state holiday," KHON2 writes. According to the Pew Research Center, only 21 states treated Columbus Day as a paid state holiday in 2013. South Dakota, New Mexico, Maine, and the District of Columbia celebrate Native Americans Day or Indigenous People's Day as a paid holiday. Several cities, like San Francisco and Cincinnati, celebrate Indigenous People's Day.

10. How do other places around the world celebrate Columbus Day?

In Italy, Columbus Day (or Giornata nazionale di Cristoforo Colombo) is listed as one of the national or international days of celebration and is still on October 12, but it's not a public holiday. Some countries have chosen to observe anti-Columbus holidays like the Day of the Indigenous Resistance in Venezuela and Nicaragua, Pan American Day in Belize, and the Day of Respect for Cultural Diversity in Argentina.

The Hallmark Channel’s First-Ever ‘Christmas Con’ Is Comin’ to Town

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macniak/iStock via Getty Images

Bookworms have Book Con, comic lovers have Comic Con, and now, courtesy of the Hallmark Channel, Christmas fanatics will finally get the gift they’ve surely written to Santa about more than a few times: Christmas Con.

News 12 New Jersey reports that the festive convention will take place at the New Jersey Convention and Exposition Center in Edison from November 8 through November 10.

If you binge-watch Hallmark Channel’s schmaltzy feel-good flicks faster than St. Nick scarfs down a giant gingerbread cookie, this is your chance to catch its biggest stars in one decked-out hall. Mean Girls (2004) alum Jonathan Bennett will emcee the convention, The Walking Dead’s Alicia Witt will perform a concert, and panels will include guests like Chad Michael Murray, Melissa Joan Hart, and Bennett’s former Mean Girls co-star Lacey Chabert (who will hopefully be showered with enough candy canes to make up for the time that her character, Gretchen Weiners, got none).

In addition to its celebrity events, Christmas Con will also include a Christmas market with gifts, handmade decorations, and holiday treats. You can also don your most lurid holiday sweater for a chance to win a $500 grand prize in the Ugly Christmas Sweater contest, or bake a gingerbread house fit for a prince in the Gingerbread Wars, which could win you $1000.

If you're hoping to attend, you might have to hunt for resale tickets on social media or third-party sites—the passes are already almost sold out on the official website. If you’re willing to shell out a little extra for a snapshot with romance royalty, most of the stars are offering photo opportunities for around $50.

Looking for a less intense way to welcome the holly, jolly holiday season? Watch the 20 best Christmas movies, Die Hard (1988) and all.

[h/t News 12 New Jersey]

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