September was fun, but it's over, and you know what that means: It’s a footrace right into 2017. So yes, autumn is going to fly by, but that doesn’t mean you can just give your brain the season off. There's lots to do in October: decisions to make, work to do, and too many ways that we can all muck it up. So how does the average Denverite successfully navigate the challenges of October? Here are ten things to keep in mind as October takes hold:
10. Break Out the Coats, But Don’t Stow Your Shorts
October in Denver is a month of extremes. It can still be uncomfortably hot, and the next day will freeze you in your tracks. Days in the 80s and the city’s first snow are completely normal in the tenth month, so your closet has to reflect that. And not only does your wardrobe need to be flexible, but also your plans for the day: Get used to those times when you wear a jacket in the morning, then are annoyed that you have to carry it around by the afternoon.
9. Prep for Ski Season
Ski season is about to start, which means one of two things. If you’re a skier, you need to get out the gear, make sure everything survived the off-season and buy some new stuff for the slopes. If you're not a skier, in October you make a final drive up into the mountains to bid them farewell until ski season is over, because there’s no way in hell you’re driving again on I-70 until spring.
8. Limit Your Pumpkins
The maximum number of pumpkins on Denver porches is three. Not four, not five, not eleven. Three. This includes fake pumpkins, any type of large gourd, or whatever Martha Stewart Living crocheted substitute you might be considering. Any pumpkins above the city limit of three are subject to public smashing on the street in front of your house by roving gangs of well-meaning teens who are only concerned with following the spirit of both the law and the season.
7. Lights Are Not for Halloween
Candles in jack-o-lanterns, yes. Strings of twinkly lights, no. It doesn’t matter if they’re orange, and what you’re calling “black” is really more of a pink there, Vincent Price. Great for Breast Cancer Awareness, but not so good for striking terror into the hearts of trick-or-treaters, passersby, or anyone who wants to save Halloween from just becoming a scary pre-Christmas.
6. Rake, Motherfucker, Rake
All those pretty spring and summer trees exact a cost, and that bill comes due every October. Two sub-rules about raked leaves: One, bagging them in orange sacks with “Happy Halloween!” stenciled on them does not constitute a decoration; you just made your trash prettier. Two, jumping into piles of leaves is best left to children weighing less than 75 pounds, or else you’re going to be reminiscing about busted tailbones and emergency-room visits.
5. Columbus Day Is a Shitshow Best Left Alone
Unless you have a specific and un-borrowed political point to make, just stay home and enjoy the fall day. You might not even get the day off, even though Colorado was the first state to make this a holiday; at this point, most people don’t. Know why? Because this is probably the holiday least worth celebrating, and it carries some of the heaviest baggage. So not worth it, not even to see goofy people dressing like generic explorer-man.
4. Buy Lots of Candy
Don’t cheap out on the candy supply, moneybags. This isn’t the time to skimp. Don’t get too little, don’t get creative or clever, and don’t get the cheap stuff that no one will want. You know whose windows get soaped every year? Those people down the block who run out of candy before dark. Or the dentist who gives out toothbrushes. Or anyone who hands out those no-name chewy things in orange-and-black wrappers that taste like old peanut butter laced with resentment.
3. Two Parts Apple Cider, One Part Spiced Rum
Heat over low flame with cinnamon sticks. Drink on your porch. You’re welcome.
2. Take Down All Your Halloween Decorations by November 1
Yes, it’s a hassle, but there’s nothing sadder than a jack-o-lantern moldering on your porch through December. Don’t lie to yourself and claim that pumpkins are as much about Thanksgiving as they are about Halloween. There are no Thanksgiving decorations except for empty boxes of Stove Top and denuded turkey carcasses, and those don’t come out until the day after Thanksgiving, when they make an appearance in your friendly neighborhood dumpster (assuming you still have a dumpster).
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1. Start Planning Your Thanksgiving Guest List
Because those turkeys aren’t going to denude themselves.