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Event-o-Rama: 10 Must-Dos in October

There are some amazing events on tap all over the world, all the time. Here’s a taste of what you can see and do in October:

  • Halloween brings a different kind of high art to New York City at the Haunted Pumpkin Garden (through October 31). Get into the spooky spirit at the Botanical Garden by watching master carver Ray Villafane sculpt giant pumpkins into masterpiecees, cuddling up to a host of creepy crawlers, and creeping your way down the Nighttime Adventures trail with only a flashlight to guide you.
  • Add some spice to your life at the Auckland Diwali Festival (October 19-20) as New Zealand’s largest city transforms into a brightly colored bazaar in celebration of the Hindu god Rama’s return from exile. Browse craft stalls, sample Indian sweets, cheer on contestants in the Bollywood dance competition, and don’t even think about missing the elaborate fireworks finale.
  • The Phuket Vegetarian Festival (October 5-13) may sound like a green-minded foodie jamboree, but names can be deceiving. In this period of ritual cleansing performed in the hopes of ensuring good health, abstaining from meat is often overshadowed by other ceremonial acts designed to invoke the gods — including extreme body piercing, walking barefoot across coals, and climbing ladders made of swords
  • Head for the hills during CowalFest (October 4-13), a ten-day outdoor festival featuring more than 80 themed walking tours led by experts — in photography, folklore, native wildlife, tai chi, and more — in the Scottish Highlands. Serious trekkers can even spend six days traversing the spectacularly scenic (all 56 miles of it!) Cowal Way footpath.
  • Channel your creative energy at the 4th annual Arts Crush festival. Throughout the month of October, Seattle and other communities around the Puget Sound will play host to more than 200 free and pay-what-you-will events for the whole family. From music-video shoots and sketch-comedy workshops to book-making classes for kids, this month is all about turning preconceived notions of art on their heads.
  • Got an ear for romance? Tune in for concerts, master classes, and lectures, as flamenco seduces audiences at the International Guitar Festival of Seville (October 15-19) in the heart of Andalusia, Spain, where the folk style originated so many long centuries ago.
  • Smell something fishy? It might be the 30 tons of herring that are brought to Helsinki for the Baltic Herring Fair (October 6-12) in the city’s Market Square. Marking the end of the fishing season since 1743, this annual event celebrates the crucial cultural role herring have played in Helsinki’s maritime history with bouts of rousing song, inventive takes on classic recipes, and friendly competitions.
  • Want to witness one of the biggest processions in the world? Head to Lima for the Lords of Miracles (October 18-28). When an earthquake leveled the city in 1746, a two-ton mural depicting Christ on the cross stood out from the rubble. Taken as a sign, hundreds of thousands of devoted believers flood the Peruvian capital each year to pay homage to the astounding piece of art.
  • Got your nose in a novel? Put it down and book it to the Times Cheltenham Literature Festival (October 4-13). Get up close and personal with famous authors and fellow bibliophiles at more than 500 events that exalt the written word — from poetry and travel to military history — in this charming spa town located about an hour’s drive south of London.
  • Ever seen ink on a camel? Take the opportunity during the Marwar Festival (October 17-18) in Jodhpur. After the humped ungulates are trimmed, dyed, and given designer “tattoos,” enjoy polo tournaments and folk dancing honoring the bygone battle heroes of India’s largest state, Rajasthan.

What would you add to the list? Let us know what we’re missing by leaving a comment.

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