October 2020 brings two full Moons: The Full Harvest Moon falls on the 1st of October and then the full Hunter’s Moon falls on the 31st—Halloween! Learn more about these two special Moons.
Two Full Moons in October
For decades, the Almanac has referenced the monthly Moons with names tied to early Native Americans and Colonial folklore. However, the Harvest Moon is different, as it is not necessarily tied to a single month.
October 1, 2020 brings the Full Harvest Moon, the full Moon nearest the autumnal equinox (September 22 this year).
October 31, 2020 brings the Full Hunter’s Moon.
Being full Moons, both of these October Moons rise around sunset. But for several days around the time of the Full Harvest Moon, the Moon rises only about 30 minutes later each night. This extra light early in the evening is what makes this time of year special, and traditionally is what gave farmers extra days for harvesting beyond sunset.
As the Moon rises from the horizon around sunset, it may appear bigger and more orange—how perfect for the fall season! But don’t be fooled by the “Moon Illusion,” which makes the Moon appear larger than it really is!
Want to know the exact time of moonrise in your location? Check out our Moonrise and Moonset Calculator.
Moon Phases for October 2020
See all Moon phase dates and times (EDT) below. See the Moon Phase Calendar for your location.
|Full Harvest Moon: October 1, 5:05 P.M.|
|Last Quarter Moon: October 9, 8:40 PM|
|New Moon: October 16, 3:31 P.M.|
|First Quarter Moon: October 23, 9:23 A.M.|
|Full Hunter’s Moon: October 31, 10:49 A.M.|
For your next full Moon, see our Full Moon Dates chart.
Why Is It Called the Harvest Moon?
For several evenings, the moonrise comes soon after sunset. This results in an abundance of bright moonlight early in the evening, which was a traditional aide to farmers and crews harvesting their summer-grown crops. Hence, it’s called the “Harvest” Moon! Read our article, “Shine On, Harvest Moon!”
Why Is It Called the Hunter’s Moon?
Some folks believe that this full Moon was called the Full Hunter’s Moon because it signaled the time to go hunting in preparation for winter. Since the harvesters had recently reaped the fields under the Harvest Moon, hunters could easily see the fattened deer and other animals that had come out to glean (and the foxes and wolves that had come out to prey on them).
Deer Stag carrying the Moon in his antlers. Credit: Gallinago/Shutterstock.
October Moon Names
The earliest use of the term “Hunter’s Moon” cited in the Oxford English Dictionary is from 1710. Some sources suggest that other names for the Hunter’s Moon are the Sanguine or Blood Moon, either associated with the blood from with hunting or the turning of the leaves in autumn.
Some Native American tribes, who tied the full Moon names to the season’s activities, called the full Moon the “Travel Moon” and the “Dying Grass Moon.”
Image: Moonrise over the Syr Darya river, Sunday, Nov. 13, 2016, Baikonur, Kazakhstan. Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls
In lunisolar calendars, the months change with the new Moon and full Moons fall in the middle of the lunar month. This full Moon falls near the middle of the ninth month in the Chinese calendar and Marcheshvan in the Hebrew calendar. In the Islamic calendar, the months start with the first sighting of the waxing crescent Moon a few days after the New Moon. This full Moon is near the middle of Safar, the second month of the Islamic year.
October Full Moon Video
Each month, we will explain the traditional names of the full Moon along with some fascinating Moon facts. Click below to watch the video.
Best Days in October 2020
Below are some of the best days for certain activities, based on the Moon’s sign and phase in October.
Aboveground crops: 21, 22, 31
Belowground crops: 4, 5
For Setting Eggs
- Corn planted under a waning Moon grows slower but yields larger ears.
- Babies born a day after the full Moon enjoy success and endurance.
- A new Moon in your dreams promises increased wealth or a happy marriage.