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
RubyMirriam/iStock via Getty Images

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
Rawpixel/iStock via Getty Images

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
Max2611/iStock via Getty Images

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
barol16/iStock via Getty Images

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
Thomas_Zsebok_Images/iStock via Getty Images

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
Italika/iStock via Getty Images

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
MoustacheGirl/iStock via Getty Images

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
rez-art/iStock via Getty Images

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
geniebird/iStock via Getty Images

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
ffennema/iStock via Getty Images

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
perkmeup/iStock via Getty Images

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.
ChristianChan/iStock via Getty Images

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
OcusFocus/iStock via Getty Images

It’s time.

21. October 22: Smart Is Cool Day

Young genius in glasses and a cardigan
kamianskoi/iStock via Getty Images

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
Mizina/iStock via Getty Images

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
kieferpix/iStock via Getty Images

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
Simon Henke/iStock via Getty Images

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
bhofack2/iStock via Getty Images

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
AndreyPopov/iStock via Getty Images

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
RobertHoetink/iStock via Getty Images

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
Songbird839/iStock via Getty Images

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
AndreyPopov/iStock via Getty Images

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.

8 Adorable Products You Can Buy for International Sloth Day

Good Luck Socks/Intelex via Amazon
Good Luck Socks/Intelex via Amazon

It’s that time of the year again, folks—the time when we all collectively lose our chill over a slow-moving, two- or three-toed mammal with an adorable squeak and poop that defies physics. That’s right: International Sloth Day is coming on October 20. Here’s a list of must-have coloring books, onesies, and Christmas sweaters that you can pick up to showcase your love of one of the internet's favorite animals.

1. Cuddly Microwaveable Sloth; $23

Microwavable sloth for International Sloth Day.
Intelex/Amazon

Warm your heart and your body with a plush sloth that doubles as a soothing heating pad. The toy is filled with millet grains and dried French lavender, a combination intended to help you get to sleep easier.

Buy it: Amazon

2. Hanging Ceramic Sloth Planter; $19

FattyBee Ceramic Sloth Planter.
FattyBee/Amazon

This flower planter pulls double duty, communicating both your love of sloths and your appreciation for plants. And it makes a tasteful piece of hanging home decor, too.

Buy it: Amazon

3. Sloth Coloring Book; $7

Sloth Coloring Book on Amazon.
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform/Amazon

Sloths themselves are already works of art, but you’d be forgiven for wanting a few more sloth-related crafts in your life. Now you can make your own masterpiece with this detailed coloring book. All you'll need are some colored pencils and you'll be ready to go.

Buy it: Amazon

4. Farting Sloth Coloring Book; $7

Sloth Farts Coloring Book on Amazon.
M & L Coloring Books/Amazon

But maybe traditional coloring books aren’t your thing. You’re in luck: Amazon sells a coloring book for the crowd that both loves sloths and laughs a little too much at farts.

Buy it: Amazon

5. Sloth Socks; $14

Sloth Socks on Amazon.
Good Luck Socks/Amazon

These socks are ideal for people who might not want to wear their love of sloths out in the open but are very comfortable showing it off on their ankles.

Buy it: Amazon

6. Sloth Onesie; $60

Tipsy Elves Sloth Onesie on Amazon.
Tipsy Elves/Amazon

No list of sloth-related products would be complete without a cozy onesie, and this one from Tipsy Elves is perfect for either pajamas or a last-minute Halloween costume. This onesie even comes with zippered pockets and cuddly sloth claws!

Buy it: Amazon

7. Sloth-Themed Ugly Christmas Sweater; $45


Tipsy Elves/Amazon

Why not celebrate the upcoming holiday season with this sloth-themed ugly Christmas sweater? You’re sure to be the hit of any holiday pub crawl or office Christmas party.

Buy it: Amazon

8. Sloth Mug; $13


Mika Mugs/Amazon

Really, what says it better than this mug? You just really freaking love sloths, and there’s nothing wrong with that, so be sure to declare your feelings along with your morning cup of coffee.

Buy it: Amazon

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and only get commission on items you buy and don't return, so we're only happy if you're happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

Why Do We Eat Candy on Halloween?

Jupiterimages/iStock via Getty Images
Jupiterimages/iStock via Getty Images

On October 31, hordes of children armed with Jack-o'-lantern-shaped buckets and pillow cases will take to the streets in search of sugar. Trick-or-treating for candy is synonymous with Halloween, but the tradition had to go through a centuries-long evolution to arrive at the place it is today. So how did the holiday become an opportunity for kids to get free sweets? You can blame pagans, Catholics, and candy companies.

Historians agree that a Celtic autumn festival called Samhain was the precursor to modern Halloween. Samhain was a time to celebrate the last harvest of the year and the approach of the winter season. It was also a festival for honoring the dead. One way Celtics may have appeased the spirits they believed still walked the Earth was by leaving treats on their doorsteps.

When Catholics infiltrated Ireland in the 1st century CE, they rebranded many pagan holidays to fit their religion. November 1 became the “feasts of All Saints and All Souls," and the day before it was dubbed "All-Hallows'-Eve." The new holidays looked a lot different from the original Celtic festival, but many traditions stuck around, including the practice of honoring the dead with food. The food of choice for Christians became "soul cakes," small pastries usually baked with expensive ingredients and spices like currants and saffron.

Instead of leaving them outside for passing ghosts, soul cakes were distributed to beggars who went door-to-door promising to pray for souls of the deceased in exchange for something to eat. Sometimes they wore costumes to honor the saints—something pagans originally did to avoid being harassed by evil spirits. The ritual, known as souling, is believed to have planted the seeds for modern-day trick-or-treating.

Souling didn't survive the holiday's migration from Europe to the United States. In America, the first Halloween celebrations were a way to mark the end-of-year harvest season, and the food that was served mainly consisted of homemade seasonal treats like caramel apples and mixed nuts. There were no soul cakes—or candies, for that matter—to be found.

It wasn't until the 1950s that trick-or-treating gained popularity in the U.S. Following the Great Depression and World War II, the suburbs were booming, and people were looking for excuses to have fun and get to know their neighbors. The old practice of souling was resurrected and made into an excuse for kids to dress up in costumes and roam their neighborhoods. Common trick-or-treat offerings included nuts, coins, and homemade baked goods ("treats" that most kids would turn their noses up at today).

That changed when the candy companies got their hands on the holiday. They had already convinced consumers that they needed candy on Christmas and Easter, and they were looking for an equally lucrative opportunity to market candy in the fall. The new practice of trick-or-treating was almost too good to be true. Manufacturers downsized candies into smaller, bite-sized packages and began marketing them as treats for Halloween. Adults were grateful to have a convenient alternative to baking, kids loved the sweet treats, and the candy companies made billions.

Today, it's hard to imagine Halloween without Skittles, chocolate bars, and the perennial candy corn debates. But when you're digging through a bag or bowl of Halloween candy this October, remember that you could have been having eating soul cakes instead.

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER