Yeah, I just like to spell it the German way sometimes. It just looks more Oktober-y to me that way.

I love October. The SmockLady and I have that in common. Only we didn’t actually realize that until after we were engaged. You see, we met in the fall of 1992, but only briefly, and we did not get to know each other until the spring semester, so it was October of 1993 (two months before we got married) that we learned how much we both like October, and especially Hallowe’en (and just as I like to spell October as Oktober a lot of the time, I also enjoy spelling Hallowe’en with the apostrophe). We watched Sweeney Todd with Angela Lansbury and George Hearn that first Halloween night.

It’s a shame that some well-meaning but extremely uninformed Christians try to ruin Halloween for everyone (read about it here and here). It’s particularly ironic to me too, seeing that Hallowe’en is simply All Hallows’ Eve, the eve of All Saints Day (which is a Christian feast day). It’s even got to the point that the public school our girls go to tells us they are “not allowed” to have Halloween parties. That’s really sad, because that’s the one party during the school year our kindergartener wanted us to help with. No doubt some yahoo complained to the school board that “Halloween is the devil’s birthday.” (Those of you outside the South probably think I’m making that up, but there are people who believe this. I’ve heard if from people who ought to know better.)

Here’s what I love about Oktober:

  • Circus weather – When it gets a little chilly for the first time, it always reminds me of the circus. The Clyde Beatty-Cole Bros. Circus would always come to Hattiesburg in October, and we’d take the children to the big top to see the show. What fun. (Yes, we’ve been to the Ringling Bros. Circus too, but there’s just something great about seeing a circus under the big top.
  • Popcorn Balls – We’re probably going to make some this year, since it’s popcorn season. (BTW have you bought popcorn from my son yet? If not, why not? If so, thank you!)
  • Caramel Apples – Don’t give me Wrapples or caramel-in-a-can. I want the real deal. Unwrap some caramels, melt ’em, and dip those apples. And make my apple a Granny Smith, please.
  • State Fairs – Sadly, the Alabama State Fair is defunct. People were too scared to go to the fairgrounds. The Mississippi State Fair was usually pretty good, and they always had Penn’s Chicken on a Stick (from Canton), which pretty much made it worth the trip. That and the pig races. (And no, I don’t want to try a fried Mars bar.) The Louisiana State Fair is over in Shreveport: not too terribly far. Wonder if they have pig races? (Most of the “fairs” that I’ve seen advertised are not fairs at all: they are simply carnivals. A fair is not just a bunch of unsafe rides, rigged games, and greasy food. A fair has judging for livestock, quilts, artwork, home-canned vegetables, pies, etc. If you can’t win a blue ribbon there, it’s not a fair: it’s a carnival.)
  • Pumpkin Patch – It’s so much fun to take the children to the pumpkin patch to pick their pumpkins. And I mean pick their pumpkins, not just pick out their pumpkins. We like to take them to a farm that allows them to go out into the field and actually pick their own pumpkin. The stems are kind of prickly, but it’s fun.
  • Jack O’Lanterns – After picking the pumpkins comes carving the pumpkins! Each child gets to carve his/her own pumpkin, and the adults each do one as well. I retrieve the seeds from the scooped-out innards of the pumpkins and roast them.
  • Real Football – Last year, none of our children played. This year, our second grader is playing, and I’m so glad. (Yes, I must admit that I do enjoy watching American football a bit, but our whole family enjoys what the rest of the world calls football, and I hope its popularity with young people here in the U.S. continues to grow and grow.)

So, what do you like about Oktober?


About revjatb

I am a father of six who is trying to do his best! My interests are varied. I have one blog, KnowTea, that is primarily focused on liturgy and worship and another one, Bengtsson's Baking, that is about, well, baking! I hope you enjoy both of them, and if you have any questions, please contact me!
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14 Responses to Oktober

  1. cancerman says:

    I have to ask when you were watching “Sweeny Todd” with Angela Lansbury did Mrs. Lansbury sit on the couch with you?

  2. RevJATB says:

    Actually she kept running to the kitchen to make meat pies for everyone.

  3. TimmyRalph says:


  4. cancerman says:

    Great idea! I’ll bring the beer.

  5. Tim Orris says:

    Cole Bros Circus wont be in Hattiesburg this year but we will be in Biloxi Oct 8 & 9 set up tent at Misissippi Coliseum parking lot and Slidell LA at North Shore Convention Center and Singing River Mall all less than hour from Hattiesburg.
    The mall in Hattiesburg no longer allows stakes in asphalt despite complete repairs and public didn’t seem to come out to forrest center last year

  6. RevJATB says:

    How sad for Hattiesburg. I do recall seeing on your web site last year that the circus was going to be at the Forrest County Multi-Purpose Center instead of at Turtle Creek Mall, and I wondered why. Thanks for the information! And welcome to the blog! All of our children have very fond memories of the Cole Bros. Circus: too bad you don’t get over this way (Ruston, Louisiana!). But I know you’ve got to draw the line somewhere.

  7. cancerman says:

    October (or Rocktober!) was always fair time in Macon. That meant not only badly put together rides but the annual chance to see “Old Sparky” the state of Georgia’s electric chair. I don’t think they still do that.

  8. Sara says:

    The hilarious thing about “Halloween Is Teh Devullll’s Day”, as I’ve said before, is that the folks who seek out an alternative celebration so often eliminate the purely secular good clean all-American fun in favor of “harvest celebrations” that evoke the traditional pagan bacchanals they’re so afraid of. Go to a neo-pagan blog, see what they have planned for Samhain. Notice that it’s virtually identical to the Christianist-approved anti-Halloween parties.

    Costumes, trick-or-treating, etc — a product of 19th and 20th century American culture, totally “demon” free.

    Carved vegetables, hay rides, bobbing for apples, mulled cider — leftovers from pre-Christian Europe (slightly shifted in date, though, pagan harvest festivals are usually celebrated in August, not October).

    Tell the Halloween haters this next time it comes up, and watch their heads explode!

  9. Sara says:

    Oh, and btw, some of the info about Samhain at the link you provided is a little questionable. Not dangerously so, just enough to make my nose itch. For instance the Celts didn’t so much believe that the sidhe were openly hostile, just that they weren’t necessarily to be trusted. I’ve always likened it to natural forces like fire or rain. You can’t really charge them with any particular morality, they just “are”. So best not to mess around with them in the first place.

    But all in all, a good overview of the common misconceptions!

  10. cancerman says:

    My problem with “harvest festivals” is that nothing is harvested in Atlanta.

  11. cancerman says:

    For some reason, October reminds me of shortbread.

  12. RevJATB says:

    Hmm, I wonder why that could be?

  13. LisaKaye says:

    Baton Rouge has the state fair every year in October … this year it’s October 25 – November 4 (http://www.gbrsf.com/).

  14. RevJATB says:

    Looks like Baton Rouge has what they call a state fair, which began in 1965. The State Fair of Louisiana is 101 years old this year, and it’s in Shreveport.

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