October gets its name from the Latin word for eight, as it used to be the eighth month of the year. During this month, we really start to notice that the days are getting shorter. For some people, it’s still dark when they get up in the morning and we have to turn the lights on earlier and earlier in the evening. At the end of October, we put the clocks back one hour so we get more light in the morning but then it gets dark even earlier in the evening.
The weather gets cooler in October and it can be wet and windy. However, sometimes we have a few days of unusually warm and sunny weather, called an Indian summer. The leaves on the trees change colour from green to beautiful shades of yellow, orange, red and brown. October is also a good month to see mushrooms and toadstools. You can collect these to cook and eat at home as long you know what you are doing. Some fungi are poisonous so it’s important to be careful.
There are a number of birds that migrate. This means they fly to warmer countries in the autumn and then back again in the spring. There are some birds which come from colder countries to the UK for the winter and others that leave that leave the UK and fly south for the winter. By October, most of our summer visitors have already left but our winter visitors arrive during this month. If you look up at the sky, you might see geese flying in a V shape.
The last evening of the month is called Hallowe’en. In the past, people believed that ghosts could be seen on this night. Nowadays, not many people believe in ghosts and they see Halloween just as something fun. Some people make lanterns out of pumpkins and decorate their homes with spooky things. Children dress up in fancy-dress costumes, pretending to be witches, ghosts or scary monsters. Sometimes they knock on neighbours’ doors and ask for sweets. They say, “Trick or treat!” which means “Give me a treat or I’ll play a trick on you!” The trick could be covering the letter box with sticky tape or throwing toilet paper all over the garden.
I hate Hallowe’en! I don’t think we should allow our children to knock on strangers' doors and ask for sweets. I also worry about the idea of celebrating dark and evil things. I usually turn out the lights at the front of the house and pretend I’m not at home! I know a lot of people who do the same thing! Usually, nobody comes to my house but one year, somebody threw an egg at my front door because I didn’t answer the doorbell!
If you would like to learn more about English life, try my e-book, "A Year in England". It contains a text like this for each month, plus a vocabulary list and reading comprehension questions. There are also bonus sections about Christmas and Easter. Click the image below or visit my shop.
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