October is when fall kicks in, for better or worse. In Houston, it's mostly for the better -- no hurricanes or stifling heat.
But October also brings with it certain traditions that, truth be told, we could just as well do without. Here are five:
5. The annual Hangin' of the Christmas Merchandise
Columbus Day, Halloween, Veteran's Day, Thanksgiving -- they are all still to come. But do we see employees happily stocking the shelves with Veteran's Day merchandise? No. It's wreaths and flocked garlands, and there's no need for them for another month and a half, at least.
4. The World Series
At least in Houston. That's because the Astros are either a) Not in it, or b) Getting embarrassingly swept in it by a team that hasn't won a title since maybe the Woodrow Wilson administration. It gets worse in years the Cardinals are involved.
3. The Resurrection of Houston's Candy Man
For 10 months out of the year, when you think of Houston's Candy Man you think of serial killer Dean Corll and his crew. In October we get Houston's other sick Candy Man, Timothy O'Bryan, who put cyanide in trick-and-treat candy, thus inspiring countless warnings about razors in apples and other things that make Halloween so enjoyable. Be proud Houston: You have two killers dubbed the Candy Man.
2. Pumpkin crap everywhere
Pygmy pumpkins, huge pumpkins, pumpkin-flavored macchiatto, pumpkin cheesecake, shakes, etc., etc. Hey, a little bit of pumpkin is fine, but there's a reason people ignore it 11 months out of the year.
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SHOW ME HOW
1. Election season when there's no real race
It's the homestretch!! For a lot of races no one cares about except blood relatives and employees. But there will be County Tax Assessor-Collector debates, there will be robocalls waking you up on a Saturday morning for some write-in candidate for governor hoping to bring the Bible back the schoolhouse, there will be door-knocking from blockwalkers who won't just leave the literature on the doorknob so we can promptly dispose of it.
October can be exciting when there are real races and real issues, but it can be a pain in the ass otherwise.
Bonus: Pre-season NBA games
Brutal. Worst of any sport. At least baseball hides its preseason with day games in Florida and Arizona. The NBA tries to pretend it's like the NFL, and that people actually care.
Ah, October. At least the weather's nice.