October feels like Autumn proper. And the season was certainly making itself felt this last weekend, with howling winds and endless rain scattering Autumn leaves here in Edinburgh. I’m trying to embrace October slow living and the small joys of the season, like cosy weekends at home, candle making and cooking vats of soup. I’d love if you joined in with my Autumn hashtag on Instagram, #myodetoautumn – I will be featuring some of my favourite images in my Stories and am planning on reviving my A-Z of Autumn challenge too. Here are some ideas for things to make and celebrate during this most beautiful month:
Harvest Celebrations: October features the Harvest Moon (the full moon closest to the Autumn Equinox) and therefore Harvest Festival. The feast dates back to Pagan times, a seasonal thanksgiving for Autumn’s bounty with traditional corn dollies (usually made from the last sheath of corn from the harvest, symbolising good luck for the next season), songs and feasting. Nowadays it’s also a festival that reminds us to share the season’s bounty with those less fortunate – so make sure to seek out your local food bank.
Pumpkin Spam: host a Halloween Celebration at home at the end of the month. It’s the perfect excuse to set the table, light the candles and get out your best linens, even – if not especially – during these strange times. Pumpkins definitely have to feature (both in the edible offerings and as decorations – ’tis the law of October). Snuggle up with a scary movie afterwards (old school is best if you ask me) and hide from trick or treaters. You can read my post about pumpkin picking here!
Fall Back: the clocks go back on the last Sunday of the month and suddenly it feels like time to hibernate. As well as enjoying the extra hour (yay!) I always feel an instinctive drive to nest, preparing the house for Winter: decluttering, freshening up the blankets, airing knitwear ready for the season ahead and stockpiling candles. I would say try to avoid putting the heating on for as long as possible but I cracked last weekend!
Black History Month: October is Black History Month in the UK. Originating in America, the event was founded to recognise the contributions of Black people past and present. The first events took place in London over 30 years ago, aiming to dismantle racism and teach the Black history missing from the curriculum. The lack of representation and results of systemic racism are still keenly felt, so take time – not just this month, but always – to take responsibility for educating yourself on these forgotten figures and to engage actively in anti-racist work. Activist and writer Nova Reid is a great starting point.
Foraging Finds: I always lament the end of blackberry season for another year – after ‘Devil Spits Day’ on 10th or 11th October (depending on who you ask) they’re a no-go. However, there’s so much more seasonal goodness emerging in the hedgerows: sloes, hips and haws reach their prime, tasting even better as time goes on and lasting well into November. Last year someone made it to our foraging patch before we did and stripped the plant bare, so I hope we’re a bit earlier this year. Make sure to leave plenty of berries for the wildlife too. What are you doing this October to embrace slow living?