Facts about October 31st

On This Day - October 31st

For those of us in the West, Halloween is finally here – and it often marks the start of the holiday season for those of us in the US. However, there’s actually a little bit more to October 31st than just pumpkin carving and spooky treats. Let’s take a look at a few key reasons why today’s so important historically, and who you might share a birthday with if today’s a big day for you.

On this day

Sistine Chapel exterior

The Last Judgement was finished.

In 1541, Michelangelo finished his painting of The Last Judgement in the Sistine Chapel. It remains one of the most famous murals in the world – and, if you know anything about the great Michelangelo, it’s that he never did things by halves. He was one of the most magnificent painters of the Renaissance.

giacomo cassanova

Casanova escaped!

In 1756, Giacomo Casanova escaped from prison in Venice by climbing onto the roof. He had been imprisoned for affront to religion and common decency. And, yes, he's the one who gives his name to the term "casanova," too – who else can say they left that kind of legacy and ended up in dictionaries for centuries to pass.

maori wars

The Maori Wars resumed.

In 1863, tragically, the Maori Wars resumed, as British forces under General Duncan Cameron in New Zealand began their invasion of the Waikato. It’s thought thousands of people lost their lives during the overall conflict.

spanish flu

The Spanish Flu struck the US.

In 1918, the Spanish Flu killed 21,000 people in the US in just one week. It remains one of the most devastating pandemics the country has ever faced – however, the total death toll associated with COVID-19 now outweighs that of the Spanish Flu crisis.

Earth. the worlds biggest magnet!

We reached 7 billion people.

In 2011, according to the United Nations, the world’s population reached seven billion people! As of 2023, there were more than eight billion of us living worldwide!

Special Days Falling on October 31st

We all know what makes October 31st special, but, along with your Halloween festivities, consider some of these other events taking place around the world today.
Facts of New Delhi

National Unity Day

Every October 31st is National Unity Day in India. The day is dedicated to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, a famous Indian freedom fighter and the country’s first deputy Prime Minister and home minister once it was independent. He was key in uniting India, hence why today is a celebration of united India and all Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel did to create and maintain that unity.

german martin luther

Reformation Day

Around the world, October 31st is also Reformation Day! The day has been celebrated since the 15th century and is dedicated to a German monk who, when fed up with the activities of the Catholic Church, nailed his arguments against them and their policies to the door of Wittenberg’s Castle Church. The list of arguments was known as the “The 95 Theses”.



Of course, for many, October 31st is Samhain above all else. Samhain begins on the nightfall of October 31st and continues until the sunset on November 1st. It is an ancient Celtic holiday that celebrates the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter.

This page was last modified on October 31, 2023. Suggest an edit