Trio for October

full body shot of a female child dressed as a witch for halloween as she runs with her candy pail


Dictionary and glasses

Summer’s gone — has been for several weeks — replaced by a teasing autumn that has swung between blue-sky glorious and out-of-nowhere chilly. The apples are crisp, the sweaters are cozy and the furnace feels so nice coming on in the mornings.

For these and other reasons, October is one of the most wonderful months. Here are three things to consider this month.


On Oct. 16, Noah Webster, Mr. Dictionary himself, would have celebrated his 255th birthday. In honor of his excellence in lexicography, and all the times hapless students have been instructed to “look it up,” consider a few autumnal words (courtesy of that are fun to know and fun to say:

■ Serotinal s∂-‘rä-t∂-n∂l: (adjective) of or relating to the latter and usually drier part of summer.

■ Diaphanous di-‘a-f∂-n∂s: (adjective) characterized by such fineness of texture as to permit seeing through.

■ Vicissitude v∂-‘si-s∂-tüd: (noun) the quality or state of being changeable.

■ Mellifluous me-‘li-fl∂-w∂s: (adjective) having a smooth rich flow.

■ Propitious pr∂-‘pi-sh∂s: (adjective) likely to have or produce good results.



While some days still feel like a blissful Indian summer, it’s that time of year to start thinking about one delicious thing: soup.

Warm, steaming bowlfuls of it, the perfect antidote to a chill October wind. Try this one, adapted from, which is not only soup, but incorporates one of fall’s most delicious squashes, the butternut.


Butternut Squash Soup

Adapted from

6 tablespoons onion, chopped

4 tablespoons butter

6 cups butternut squash, peeled

  and cubed

3 cups water

4 cubes chicken bouillon

1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

2 8-ounce packages Neufchatel cream cheese

In a large saucepan, saute the onions in butter until tender. Add water, bouillon, squash, marjoram, black pepper and cayenne pepper. Bring to boil and cook 20 minutes, or until squash is tender. Pour half the saucepan’s contents into a blender or food processor with one package of cream cheese and blend until smooth. Repeat with the rest of the squash mixture and other package of cream cheese. Return to the saucepan and heat without bringing to a boil.



Of course, the spookiness at the end of the month must be acknowledged. October goes out with the batty bang of Halloween, but more importantly, with the delight of tiny, Halloween-themed candy bars.

Here are some important treat reminders from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration:

■ Children shouldn’t snack while they’re out trick-or-treating.

■ Urge your children to wait to snack until they get home and you have had a chance to inspect the contents of their goodie bags.

■ To help prevent children from snacking, give them a light meal or snack before they head out — don’t send them out on an empty stomach.

■ Tell children not to accept — and especially not to eat — anything that isn’t commercially wrapped.

■ Parents of very young children should remove any choking hazards such as gum, peanuts, hard candies or small toys.

■ Inspect commercially wrapped treats for signs of tampering, such as an unusual appearance or discoloration, tiny pinholes, or tears in wrappers. Throw away anything that looks suspicious.


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