October is… Some Things You May Not Know about this Month
October is generally known as the month of haunts, scares, ghouls, leaves changing color and falling from the trees, and the first frost of the year settling in. There’s more to the month than that, though. A lot more! Did you know October is National Chili Month? Really! It’s one of many things celebrated in the month of October besides Columbus Day and Halloween. Here’s a few we’ve collected to share.
Adopt A Shelter Dog Month – According to the ASPCA, at least 12 million dogs go to shelters each year. Many, more than half, are euthanized because lack of space and resources, and lack of willing adopters. Adopting a dog is a great thing to do but be sure that you do your research ahead of time and that you’re truly ready to become a dog owner – it’s a lot of work! Go to a site like petfinder.com and look for your local shelter and you should come up with results of dogs that are waiting to be adopted. There will be some information posted by the shelter about the dog’s temperament, whether it gets along with kids, other animals, etc. Then do some research on the breed, and schedule a visit to the shelter to see if this dog is the right fit for you and your family. If not, try again. Your new best friend is waiting for you!
National Coming Out Day – This day falls on October 11th each year and is a civil holiday, a day where those who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, asexual, and transgender can have a day to themselves to come out and declare their sexuality. Each year, those who come out wear the pink triangle (gay men), black triangle (lesbians) or the pride flag (mostly bisexuals, but others as well). Many will also wear rainbow jewelry or clothing. There is a website for support or to set up gatherings in your community, as there doesn’t have to be a set day for someone to come out. The website is www.hrc.org/ncod
Domestic Violence Awareness Month - Victims of domestic violence know what it’s like to live in fear or lose themselves behind a facade. But there is help and resources available to victims. The website for the National Collation Against Domestic Violence, www.ncadv.org, is a good place to start and is full of information, news, updates, events and postings. However, this is an issue that should not be focused on just for one month out of the year. Thousands of people are victims of domestic violence and more needs to be done to help them, even if all that can be offered at the time is different shelter and someone to listen.
Spirit Day – Spirit Day isn’t a holiday, but a day of remembrance declared by the people, supporters, of the LGBTQ community. The date is October 20th, a day of which people will wear purple in memory of the recent gay teen suicides. Many of these teens suffered from horrific homophobic abuse in their schools or at home, or in some cases, both. The decision to wear purple is because purple represents SPIRIT in the LGBTQ flag. The goal is for people to know that times will get better, and there will be people there to love them and who respect them. If you know someone who is thinking about suicide, or you are thinking about it, please go see someone you trust, or call the American Foundation For Suicide Prevention at 1-800-273-8255.
Breast Cancer Awareness Month – The lifetime risk of getting breast cancer is 1 in 8 and although it’s the second leading cause of cancer death for American women, its death rate is much lower (1 in 28). Early detection is crucial to catching the cancer, treatment and survival. Self-exams can be done at home very easily and if you find something that feels abnormal, call your doctor and make an appointment. They’ll do a manual exam and likely order a mammogram to make sure there’s not something they missed. Sometimes there is cancer or tumors that can’t be detected manually. Although October has been designated as Breast Cancer Awareness Month, women (as well as men – 400 men die each year from breast cancer) should be on the offensive and stay aware of their bodies.
National Arts & Humanities Month – Established in 1993 to encourage Americans to engage and explore the facets of the arts and humanities and other cultures, it is now celebrated every October as it began a habit of lifetime of active participation. It is the Untied States’ largest annual celebration of the arts. The NAH has four primary goals: to create a national, state, and local focus on the arts and humanities through the media; to encourage the active participation of individuals, as well as arts, humanities, and other interested organizations nationwide; to provide an opportunity for federal, state, and local business, government and civic leaders to declare their support for the arts and humanities; and to establish a highly visible vehicle for raising public awareness about the arts and humanities.
National Chili Month – As the weather is changing, the color of the leaves are turning, a nice big bowl of chili might just hit the spot while you watch the game. Or you could have a cook off in your neighborhood, town, at one of the fairs, or even in your own kitchen. But no cheating, especially on the last one; remember, you still have to live with them! There are plenty of places to find recipes for making chili, or perhaps you have one that’s an old family tradition or you want to experiment and come up with something new. If you’re looking for ideas, check out www.famouschilirecipies.com
National Popcorn Poppin’ Month – After being celebrated for more than 25 years, Popping Popcorn became an official holiday in 1999 when it was declared so by then Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman. Popcorn is a health friendly snack and many artsy and crafty things can be done with it, such as making a popcorn necklace or Popcorn Con Pesto, the recipe of which can be found at www.popcorn.org
Arts and Crafts Month – Here in the state of New York, we celebrate our arts and crafts month in October. Other states celebrate in other months, but celebrating in mid-autumn allows us to use items from the outdoors in our projects, such as leaves, acorns, or pine cones. There’s nothing except your imagination to limit what you can make with what you’ve got. So go and make the dream catcher meant for the giants! Or make the quilt meant for the mice.
Wishbones for Pets Month – Wishbones for Pets is the pet equivalent of Toys for Tots. Founded in 2004, this became the first international annual charity drive designed for pet sitters. The program runs only for six weeks, beginning six weeks prior to Thanksgiving. Each year, pet sitters go throughout their community to gather and distribute various pet items or funds to shelters or other charities or agencies. For anyone interested in getting involved, visit the website at www.wishbonesforpets.com.
National Sarcastic Awareness Month – October is a month for us to pause and be aware of the growing trend of sarcasm. Really. It’s become an epidemic and if we’re not careful, we’re going to have a situation on our hands that we won’t be able to control. We’ll end up with squirrels in charge. On second thought, maybe that’s not much worse than what we’ve got now.
–Jenny Waterman is a Copy Editor for The Free George.
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