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
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.

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The Arlington National Cemetery Just Opened Its Time Capsule from 1915—See What’s Inside

That red ribbon is the literal "red tape" that we now use as an idiom to describe bureaucratic processes.
That red ribbon is the literal "red tape" that we now use as an idiom to describe bureaucratic processes.
Arlington National Cemetery, YouTube

In the decades following the Civil War, thousands of people assembled in Arlington National Cemetery’s James R. Tanner Amphitheater to honor the fallen soldiers each May on Decoration Day (which we now call Memorial Day). By the early 20th century, the event had grown so popular that Congress agreed to build a new, larger arena in its place: the Memorial Amphitheater.

When President Woodrow Wilson laid the cornerstone on October 13, 1915, it contained a copper box with documents and mementos that captured the spirit of the era. Though the contents weren’t kept a secret, you can now actually see them for yourself—on May 15, 2020, Arlington National Cemetery celebrated the centennial of the amphitheater’s dedication ceremony by opening the time capsule and displaying them in a virtual exhibit.

Inside the box was one of each coin used in 1915; uncirculated stamps bearing images of George Washington and Benjamin Franklin; an autographed photo of Wilson; a Bible signed by amphitheater architect Thomas Hastings; the dedication ceremony program; directories of both Congress and Washington D.C. residents; Civil War veterans’ pamphlets; four issues of local newspapers, including The Washington Post and The Washington Times; copies of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution; an American flag; and a map of Pierre Charles L’Enfant’s blueprints for building the city.

As Smithsonian.com reports, a few of those documents became outdated soon after being sealed in the box. The 1915 version of the Constitution had 17 amendments, but two new ones had been passed by the end of 1920: the 18th, prohibiting alcohol, and the 19th, giving women the right to vote. The American flag, on the other hand, was already inaccurate when it went into the time capsule. Though Arizona and New Mexico had both been annexed in 1912, bringing the state total to 48, the flag only included 46 stars.

Some of the items were wrapped in red tape, a seemingly insignificant detail that Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero found especially exciting.

“All of the records in the National Archives, when they were moved into that building, were carefully protected with wrappings that were held together with this red tape,” he said in a statement. “This is where the saying comes (from) about cutting through the red tape. It is actually—literally—the red tape.”

For the last few decades, the copper box shared its hollow cornerstone abode with another, less official time capsule: A Peter Pan-brand peanut butter jar, stuffed with business cards and other notes. The box had been relocated to the National Archives while the amphitheater underwent repairs in 1974, and the workers snuck the jar into the hollow when replacing it during the 1990s.

“It was sort of a rush job,” conservator Caitlin Smith told The Washington Post. “But you can understand the impulse to add your name to history.”

You can learn more about the history of the Memorial Amphitheater and discover more about the exhibit here.

[h/t Smithsonian.com]