2020 may be rocky, but October still rocks

October is my favorite month of the year.

I love everything associated with it - and fall. Pumpkin spice lattes and other pumpkin treats. Corduroy and cashmere (not necessarily worn together.) Fall foliage. Our annual trip to the pumpkin farm and the arboretum. Halloween. It's just a great month.

October 2020, I have to admit, it is a little less great. There is no high school football. No homecoming parade or pep rally. No Fire Prevention Week open house. A host of fundraisers that would have people lacing up their running or walking shoes or donning their favorite cocktail dress are now taking place online.

Not all of October has been canceled, however.

The village's annual Fall Fest is still taking place next Saturday, with a modified format. Jim and I will be there to take photos of adorable kids in adorable costumes. Just be sure to make a reservation, which is required this year to attend.

By purchasing tickets in advance, we can still visit Goebbert's Pumpkin Patch near Hampshire and see the leaves changing color at the Morton Arboretum.

We've tweaked our annual spooky dinner with neighbors, which will take place outdoors and feature a scavenger hunt and screening of "Hocus Pocus" (another reason to love October!).

Trick-or-treating is on, too, so we are deep in discussions about all the accessories, most likely expensive, that Ainsley absolutely needs to become a creepy/broken/haunted doll. Oh, how I wish I was still in charge of her Halloween costume.

Despite the pandemic and the presidential election, October even has some new bright spots this year.

Our propane patio heater and fire pit - which we had the foresight to purchase on a 98 degree day in August - keep us toasty warm while we're eating al fresco or watching a movie on our driveway. I even had a work meeting out there one morning, figuring it would be warmer sitting on my deck than outside Starbucks.

I'm keeping myself entertained by reading "Home School Hell with Saint Corona Up to Bat: A Widowed Father's 70 Days in E-learning Captivity."

This clever book written by my friend Dave Heilmann (longtime writer and director of The Community Revue) has me laughing out loud - in part because his kids are learning, remotely, about some of the same things that Ainsley is learning.

There's Gilgamesh, a Hittite (I think) who was King of Uruk.

Multiplication, done not by memory, but by "charts, arrays, pies, rows, columns, tables and bar diagrams," as Dave accurately describes it.

Antonyms. (Much harder to think of when I know I will be graded. I mean Ainsley will be.)

His book has reminded me in many ways of the universality of human experience. And the importance of toilet paper. I mean family.

I've also learned this year - now that I've spent more than five decades on Earth - why October is called October instead of December. It was the eighth month in the Roman calendar, but when the Gregorians realized they didn't have enough months to make a year, they stuck in January and February, bumping October to spot No. 10. (Later, Quintillis was renamed July to honor Julius Caesar, and Sextilis was renamed August to honor Augustus Caesar. Remember that for your next cocktail party, if such a thing will ever happen again!) Fascinating.

All in all, I think this year's version of October earns at least a passing grade. And I haven't even had my annual pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks yet!

- Pamela Lannom is editor

of The Hinsdalean.

Readers can email her at

[email protected].

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Pamela Lannom is editor of The Hinsdalean