While the tenth month of the year, October retains its name of Latin origin as the eighth month when March began the New Year. Daylight hours decrease during the month, with occasional hints of winter cold to come.
October is a magical month wedged between the frenzy of the beginning of the school year and the holiday season of Thanksgiving to Christmas and New Year’s. Football season is in full swing at area high schools and universities. Ice hockey season begins, with the first home game of the Utica Comets on October 21. The performing arts season has begun, with films, concerts and theatrical productions at the Stanley Theater, Munson Williams Proctor Arts Institute, Kirkland Arts Center and area high schools and colleges.
For those with a garden, it is time for fall clean up and planting bulbs for garlic and next year’s spring flowers. It is the time give the car and snowblower a tune-up, caulk windows and doors, and get the snow shovel handy in preparation for the coming winter.
October weekends are a perfect time for a day trip with the entire family to many nearby rural areas for apple and pumpkin festivals and Halloween activities. For Those seeking peace and solitude may prefer a woodland hike, camping, or fishing trip. Salmon fishing in Pulaski is popular, and hunters make preparation for deer season.
While many parks and regional tourist attractions close after Labor Day, a few remain open through Columbus Day weekend. This is usually the last chance for a day trip with relatively mild weather and roads free of ice and snow that sometimes make such excursions problematical during the winter.
In the northeastern woodlands and and rural areas of the Mohawk Valley, “leaf peeping” trips are popular. Predominantly green landscapes of summer change to pastel colors of orange, red and yellow as deciduous trees prepare for winter. Against a cobalt blue sky on a sunny October day, these scenic views are truly enchanting.
This annual seasonal transition of mid autumn lasts for several weeks before the leaves completely fall, leaving the gray and brown landscapes of November. Colors generally peak in late September to early October in the southern Adirondacks, mid-October in the Mohawk Valley, and late October in the Chenango, Schoharie and Sesquehanna Valleys of Otsego, Madison, and Chenango Counties.
Excursions might include one of several regional farms or rural orchards for harvest festivals. Many such events focus on apples, pumpkins, and other fall harvest crops, and some include hay rides, corn mazes and Halloween activities.
Halloween, this year on a Saturday, is one of the most popular cultural holidays of the year. Costume parties, trick or treating for children, haunted house exhibits at various locations, and hay rides or corn mazes in rural areas are all popular. This year, Halloween coincides with the shifting back to Eastern Standard Time which begins at 2 A.M. on November 1. With that change, afternoons are noticeably shorter with sunset at 4:52 P.M. and dreary November begins.
Holidays and Proclamation Days in October
October 3 Oneida County History Day (first Saturday of October)
October 5 Child Health Day
October 6 German-American Day
October 9 Leif Erikson Day
October 11 General Pulaski Memorial Day
October 12 Columbus Day (2nd Monday)
October 15 White Cane Safety Day; Poetry Day
October 16 National Boss’s Day
October 17 Sweetest Day (3rd Saturday)
October 18 Alaska Day
October 27 Theodore Roosevelt’s Birthday
October 30 Nevada Day
October 31 Halloween
Weekly Observances in October
Mental Illness Awareness Week
International Letter Writing Week
National Business Women's Week
National Magic Week
Discovering Regional and Ethnic History and Heritage
October is a unique month in the Utica area with many activities focusing on various ethnic groups that have played an important role in our history. The first Saturday of the month has been Oneida County History Day for several years, often with special events at the Oneida County Historical Society.
October 6 is German American Day. Mid September to mid October is Hispanic Heritage Month. October is Polish-American Heritage Month, with General Casimir Pulaski Day on October 11. In recent years, special ceremonies at the Pulaski Monument on the Memorial Parkway in Utica have been held in late September.
Columbus Day is the second Monday of the month, this year on its original date of October 12. This was an important holiday celebrating Italian-American heritage long before it became a national holiday. There continue to be observances at the Columbus Monument on the Memorial Parkway in Utica. This is the last long holiday weekend of the year before the cold of winter sets in.
A Few Regional Festivals and Events for October
October 3 Pumpkin Patch Mud Run, Esperance (Schoharie County)
October 4 Traditional Sauerbraten Dinner, Utica Maennerchor, Marcy
October Weekends Corn Maze & Harvest Festivals at Critz Farms, Cazenovia
October 10-11 Cider Fest, Fly Creek Cider Mill & Orchard, Fly Creek
October 23-24 Norwich Pumpkin Festival, Norwich
In the Night Skies
October this year has visible planets shifting to the early morning pre-dawn sky, with Saturn the only planet visible in the evening, low in the southwestern sky.
On October 1, there is a conjunction in a vertical line, from top to bottom, of Venus, Leo’s bright star Regulus, Mars, and Jupiter. The waning crescent Moon passes close to these planets, first Venus on the 8th with Regulus to the Moon’s left, Mars on the 9th, and Jupiter on the 10th, and finally Mercury on the 11th, very low on the eastern horizon just before dawn. Venus and Jupiter appear in a close conjunction on the 25th.
The Draconid Meteor Shower, originating in the northwest from constellation Draco has remnants of Comet Giocobini-Zinner. This is best seen in the late evening on October 9 with up to six meteors per hour.
The Orionid Meteor Shower of October 21-22. Up to fifteen meteors per hour may appear in the southern pre-dawn sky, remnants of Halley’s Comet. Looking to the south, the winter constellation Orion is also visible at this time.
October 1 Sunrise 6:59 am Sunset 6:41 pm
October 31 Sunrise 6:35 pm Sunset 5:54 pm
Put the clocks back an hour at 2 A.M. on November 1, and times of rising / setting of the Sun, Moon, and Planets move to an hour earlier.
Rising and Setting Times of Visible Planets on October 31
Moon 9:50 P.M. 11:50 A.M.
Mercury 6:36 A.M.
Venus 3:34 A.M.
Mars 3:39 A.M.
Jupiter 3:10 A.M.
Saturn 7:18 P.M.
Moon Phases for October
Last Quarter October 4 Sets 1:59 P.M.
New Moon October 12 Rises 6:42 A.M. Sets 6:45 P.M.
First Quarter October 20 Rises 1:56 P.M.
Full Hunter’s Moon October 27 Rises 6:28 P.M. Sets 7:25 A.M.
October Astrological Signs Libra 9/23 - 10/22 Scorpio 10/23-11/22