When October rolls around, a few images spring to mind for most people: trees filled with yellow, red, and orange leaves, spooky Halloween decorations adorning houses throughout our neighborhoods, and the cooling weather that presages the last harvest of the year. If we had to pick one thing that summarizes the spirit of October, the pumpkin would be an excellent choice.
Think about it: the pumpkin is orange like the changing leaves, jack-o’-lanterns are a major staple of Halloween, and in October, suddenly pumpkin flavors are everywhere – in our lattes, pies, and soups! Despite their popularity, there is a lot that people don’t realize about pumpkins. Did you know that every part of a pumpkin can be eaten? That’s right. The leaves, flowers, skin, stem, and seeds are all edible. Pumpkins can grow to enormous sizes; in fact, the current world record is held by an Italian named Stegano Cutrupi, who grew a 2,702 pound squash – that’s almost the size of a car! But perhaps the most surprising fact about pumpkins is that they are a fruit, not a vegetable.
You read that right! Most people think that fruits have a sweet taste and vegetables have a savory taste. While that is true for most fruits and vegetables we eat, the actual distinction between the two is which part of the plant is eaten. Fruits are foods that come from the flowering part of the plant and contain seeds. Vegetables, on the other hand, are the leaves, roots, bulbs, and stems of plants. A good example of this confusion is the tomato. Tomatoes have a rich savory flavor, so most think they are a vegetable, but they are actually a fruit because tomatoes are the flowering part of the plant with seeds. The same is true of the pumpkin!
October’s gemstone is the opal. Most people think of opals as black in color, but opals come in a wide variety of colors that include white, red, orange, green, blue, and purple – often all within the same gem! Ancient people believed that the opal’s rainbow-like appearance gave it the power of all other gemstones because it contained all of their colors. It is a perfect stone for the Halloween month because it contains so much variety.
The marigold is the flower for October. This orange-gold flower has layers of overlapping petals when it blooms, looking like a cheerleader’s pom poms. Everything about the marigold screams October – it is yellow-orange in color, it blooms during the fall, and it symbolizes remembrance for the dead. You will find this flower not only in October gardens, but also in Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) observances right after Halloween on November 1 and 2.
How many days are in October?
There are 31 days in October.
How many school days are in October?
About half of the states observe Columbus Day or Indigenous Peoples’ Day, and some districts that begin school in August might have a week-long autumn break during this month.
What are some month-long observances in October?
What are some major events in October?
What are some major sporting events in October?
What are some good lesson plans for October?
Here are over 8,000 lesson plans for October.
How can I motivate my students in October?
There are so many options to explore in October. On an eerie note, with Halloween being such a prevalent and kid-favorite holiday, this could be a good time to dip into some Edgar Allan Poe poems or other spooky tales. Self-reflection is another avenue to explore – what does our Halloween costume choice say about us, our aspirations, or our personality? A more austere approach would be to reflect on family members who have passed – having your students do a bit of writing about that person’s life and the impact they had would be a heartwarming way to both honor their own heritage and write authentically.
Can I download and print this October classroom calendar for my students?
Yes, absolutely! Enjoy.