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Calendar for October 31st, 2013

Halloween (All Hallows' Eve)

Halloween (October 31) originated with the ancient Celts, who celebrated the new year on November 1. They believed that the souls of the dead returned to Earth the night before (Samhain). In later years, the Irish used hollowed-out, candlelit turnips, carved with a demon's face to frighten away the spirits. When Irish immigrants in the 1840s found few turnips in the United States, they used the more plentiful pumpkins instead. See more about Halloween traditions with our History of Carving Pumpkins video.

Every Year

  • "Trick or treating" started in the Middle Ages, when rich people gave poor people "soul cakes" (baked goods) if they promised to pray for the giver's dead family members

  • Ancient Romans bobbed for apples, believing that the first person to catch an apple with his teeth would be the first to marry in the new year

  • National Knock-Knock Day

  • 1510s

  • 1517: Martin Luther affixed his 95 Theses to door of Wittenberg Castle Church

  • 1790s

  • Born 1795: John Keats (poet)

  • 1820s

  • Born 1827: Richard Morris Hunt (architect)

  • 1850s

  • Born 1852: Mary Eleanor Wilkins Freeman (author)

  • 1860s

  • 1864: Nevada admitted to the Union as the 36th state

  • 1890s

  • 1892: Arthur Conan Doyle published The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

  • Born 1896: Ethel Waters (actress)

  • 1920s

  • Died 1926: Harry Houdini (magician)

  • Born 1927: Lee Grant (actress)

  • 1930s

  • Born 1931: Dan Rather (newscaster)

  • Born 1936: Michael Landon (actor)

  • 1940s

  • 1941: The U.S. naval destroyer Reuben James was torpedoed by a German submarine and sunk off the coast of Iceland, despite the fact that the U.S. was not at war with Germany

  • 1941: After 14 years of work, drilling was completed on Mount Rushmore, near Keystone, South Dakota

  • Born 1943: Brian Piccolo (football player)

  • Born 1947: Frank Shorter (runner)

  • 1950s

  • Born 1950: Jane Pauley (broadcast journalist)

  • Born 1950: John Candy (actor)

  • 1960s

  • Born 1961: Peter Jackson (director)

  • Born 1963: Rob Schneider (actor)

  • Born 1969: Mike O'Malley (actor)

  • 1980s

  • Born 1980: Samaire Armstrong (actress)

  • Born 1980: Eddie Kaye Thomas (actor)

  • Died 1983: George Halas (football coach)

  • 1984: Indian Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi, is assassinated by two of her Sikh bodyguards in New Delhi. Rajiv Gandhi is inaugurated as his mother's successor

  • 1990s

  • Died 1993: Federico Fellini (filmmaker)

  • Died 1993: River Phoenix (actor)

  • 1994: Due to ice build up on its wings, an American Eagle commuter plane crashed in Roselawn, Indiana, killing all 68 passengers and crew members aboard

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