October Antics

From ghoulies and ghosties,
And long-leggedy beasties,
And things that go bump in the night,
Good Lord, deliver us!

Summer is now just a memory, and the leaves are falling as we roll into October.

Seasonal Treats
The perfect tonic to the clocks going back and the shorter days is to choose a dry day, get dressed up and go out and explore. Look out for colourful leaves and bring them back to make a display, or for leaf rubbing. Harvest festivals are still happening in early October, so if you haven’t already planned one, now is the time!

Feed The Birds
The birds will be hungry so make a bird cake. This is also a good time to make simple bird boxes so that they can be put up and established before nesting season next year. Make lavender bags with lavender from your garden or ask for donations of lavender.

Traditional Games
Many residents will remember going to whist drives in the Autumn. This has largely died out, but why not have a go at playing it? If they don’t want to play whist, try sevens or even snap. Skittles, bowls, darts and dominoes are other options.

A Happy Halloween
The big date for October is of course Halloween and I’m sure you are all well aware of not making it too scary for your residents. Pumpkins hollowed out with a jam jar of flowers in the top make a great table decoration. You could also ask if the local preschool or other young groups are dressing up. They may come and pay you a visit, especially if it’s late afternoon and would be a fun diversion for your residents. Also, try icing cakes and biscuits with orange and white icing and have a go at making pumpkin soup, it’s delicious!


1 October
This marks the start of English pudding season. You know what to do! Lots of making and tasting and use up the last of the autumn fruits to make crumbles and pies. Apple Day is on the 21st October, so you could be pudding tasting all month!

3 October
This marks James Herriot’s birthday. Many will have loved the television series and his vast collection of books. Celebrate by bringing animals into your home and reading chapters from his books. Try your local PAT dogs or register for one to visit, or approach local charities such as Guide Dogs for the Blind or Canine Partners. They may come along for a small donation and give a demonstration.

25 October
This is the date of Pablo Picasso’s birthday. Make it a day of art. Set out different mediums of paint to try and see if you can come up with a masterpiece. Ask local artists in to see if they could help run the session.

27 October
Clocks go back. Use the day to celebrate all your achievements this year and plan ahead for November, and of course Christmas!

Start thinking of crafts to make if you have a Christmas Fair looming. You could start making bookmarks, peg dolls, cards and gift tags.

Planting Bulbs
Now is the time to plant bulbs in pots ready for Christmas. You could paint the pots first. Use crocus, tete-a-tete daffodil bulbs or hyacinths. Some people may have a skin reaction to the bulbs so it is best to use disposable gloves. Plant up your pots in moist compost, cover the tops with moss raked from your lawn, add a label to say who planted them and then ask your gardener/handyman if he can store them in a cool dark place until December. The pots can then be retrieved and decorated to give as presents or enjoy within your home.

Paperback Hedgehogs
I love these paperback hedgehogs, they are a good way to use up those old paperback books that no-one reads. You can find the full instructions on our ideas pages.

Room Service
Don’t forget the residents who can’t attend structured activities. Make sure they get the opportunity to test your cooking, and hang bird feeders outside their windows so they can see the birds. Take in autumnal flowers and leaves, arrange PAT dog visits to their rooms and read autumnal poetry to them.

To Autumn
(John Keats, 1795 – 1821)

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells.