Fall is in full swing, and October provides a number of opportunities for students to learn, create and discover new things! They can take a stand against bullying on World Day of Bullying Prevention, expand their vocabulary on Dictionary Day and even learn about a few scaly creatures on Reptile Awareness Day. Check out these upcoming holidays and observances to help keep students busy throughout the entire month.


October 4 - National Taco Day

October 6-12 - Fire Prevention Week

October 7 - World Day of Bullying Prevention

October 9 - World Post Day

October 11 - International Day of the Girl

October 14-18 - National School Lunch Week

October 16 - Dictionary Day

October 21 - Reptile Awareness Day

October 20-26 - National Friends of Libraries Week

October 31 - Halloween


1. Did you know that 2% of Americans have never eaten a taco? Luckily, the vast majority of us have eaten - and love - tacos. And on National Taco Day, we get to celebrate the traditional Mexican dish! Host a Taco Night with a choice of hard and soft tortillas and a selection of the most popular taco fillings, such as beef, chicken, cheese, salsa and guacamole. For a healthy snack option, you can make fruit tacos. Simply fill a soft tortilla with light cream cheese (or an alternative) and your favorite fruits, like chopped strawberries, pineapples, kiwi and watermelon.


2. Fire Prevention Week is October 6-12. The theme for 2019 is Plan and Practice Your Escape! This week, spend time reviewing and practicing your program’s fire evacuation plan. Then have students draft their own home fire evacuation plan. To help them get started, share these free escape planning tools from National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), which include an escape grid and a safety tip sheet. Another idea is to send an email or flyer encouraging families to create and/or practice their escape plan to celebrate Fire Prevention Week.


3. October is National Bullying Prevention Month, and on October 7, people across the world are wearing blue to help put an end to bullying and cyberbullying. Encourage students to #BlueUp and find ways to spread awareness! They can create posters, write a song or perform a skit. During the week, you can also read books from this I Don’t Bully Book Set (set of 6) and play the Good-Bye Bully Machine Card Game.


4. What was life like before email, texting and Facebook? We communicated using - gasp! - a pen and paper. What’s more, we had to wait days for a reply! World Post Day is celebrated on October 9 to highlight the importance of the postal services. On this day, ask students to sit down and write a letter the old-fashioned way. Give them an envelope and a stamp, and have them send it to their home address. You can also have them create thank-you cards for their local postal worker.


5. October 11 is International Day of the Girl, a day to “stand with girls everywhere as they inspire, innovate and take charge of their own future.” Discuss the issues that girls face around the world, such as discrimination and less access to information, communication technology and resources, such as the internet. These challenges hinder their education and employment, contributing to the growing gender gap. Then highlight girls around the world who are working to make a difference, such as Gitanjali Rao who designed her own device to test the lead content in drinking water and Marley Dias who started the #1000blackgirlbooks campaign to collect and donate 1,000 books that feature black girls as the main character.


6. National School Lunch Week starts October 14! This is the perfect opportunity to thank those who work each day to provide delicious meals and snacks for your school. Take time to create thank-you cards for the cafeteria staff. This is also a great time to discuss healthy eating habits and encourage students to make healthy choices for every meal, including lunch. To help you get started, read 7 Ways Program Leaders Can Encourage Healthy Eating and check out this Magnetic Healthy Food Set.


7. How can you celebrate Dictionary Day (October 16) with your students? Learn new, challenging words or have a dictionary scavenger hunt. Students can also use their imaginations to create their own dictionary! For more ideas, check out these dictionary activities from Education World.


8. October 20-26 is National Friends of Libraries Week. Friends of Libraries are supporters of local and national library systems. Have a read-in, read to others and check out books to celebrate our libraries. You can even ask a librarian to come to your site with a special program for your students!


9. There are more than 10,000 reptile species in the world. For Reptile Awareness Day, explore different types of reptiles - from snakes and lizards to turtles and crocodiles. As students learn general interesting facts about reptiles, have them choose one to explore further. Have them draw their reptile and write five fun facts about their creature to share with the rest of the group.


10. Brace yourself for the scariest day of the year! For Halloween, celebrate with holiday-themed activities. You can concoct bubbling slime, create a paper plate witch or make candy-coated pear skulls for a Halloween treat. For more ideas, check out 8 Spooktacular Ways to Celebrate Halloween with Students.


Need more activities to fill up your October calendar? Check out our Pinterest board for seasonal activities and crafts.