Turkey, twinkling lights and a steady stream of festive songs featuring everyone from Bruce Springsteen to Mariah Carey: for better (or worse) the holidays are nearly upon us. Before you settle into your seasonal routine, read on for our list of new, alternative and just plain weird and wacky ways to get the party started in November.

photo: Benjamin Chan via Flickr 

Nov. 2: Dia de los Muertos
What’s better than a day chock-full of costumes, music and sugary treats? Two days of it! Celebrated Nov. 1 and 2 in Latin American culture, Dia de los Muertos or Day of the Dead honors the memories of those that have come and gone before us. In Seattle, El Centro de la Raza (2524 16th Ave. S) will host its 13th Annual Ofrenda Exhibit (little alters to remember ancestors and loved ones) opening and festivities, including food, music and children’s activities from 5:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m.

Nov. 3: National Sandwich Day
Why is there a day dedicated to sandwiches? Who cares! Get yourself and your hungry brood to Mean Sandwich (1510 N.W. Leary Way just north of the Ballard Bridge) where fellow parents Kevin and Alex Pemoulie have what just might be the perfect set-up: sandwiches piled high with corned beef and pickled red cabbage for the adults and a kids’ menu, play dough, coloring books and outdoor playhouse for the little ones. Oh, and did we mention they serve beer? Win, win, win!

Nov. 4: Book Lovers Day 
Sure you could celebrate this holiday by cozying up at home with a pile of your family’s favorite titles. But if you want your story time with a side of adventure, head to Third Place Books’ Seward Park location (5041 Wilson Ave. S.) where local authors Mark Holtzen and Jennifer K. Mann will participate in a special Mark Twain-themed story time at 10 a.m. The event honors the release of The Purloining of Prince Oleomargarine, a children’s book written based on handwritten notes discovered among Twain’s papers after his death.

photo: Abigail Batchelder via Flickr

Nov. 6:  Marooned without a Compass Day
Before the holidays summon their typical fever pitch, take some time to clear your manic Monday in favor of activities that require you to relax, unplug and enjoy the great outdoors. Check out Red Tricycle’s list of awesome kid-friendly fall hikes for off-the-grid inspiration.

Nov. 8:  Cook Something Bold Day
Cooking with kids can bring a family together faster than you can say lasagna. It can also result in a pretty big mess. Before turning your offspring loose in your kitchen, let them get a feel for the basics at Frog Legs Culinary Academy in Kirkland. Upcoming classes feature bold culinary adventures like French macaroons and holiday sweets and treats.

Nov. 11: Veteran’s Day
Kids can feel good about making a sweet gesture for men and women serving in the military. Collect all that extra Halloween candy and drop it by Satsuma Kids Shop’s Wedgewood location (8511 35th Ave. N.E.) anytime during store hours through Nov. 11. While you’re there, your little artists can color a picture or write a note, which the store will include with a candy care package to troops in the US and overseas through Operation Gratitude.

Nov. 13: Caregiver Appreciation Day
Cheers to those special people in our lives who watch our kids and keep us sane. Let your nannies, mannies and babysitters know that you and your littles couldn’t do it without them with a homemade card, small gift or a big hug. Pick up card-making supplies at Paper Delights in Wallingford (2205 N. 45th St., Suite B) or in Burien (15215 21st Ave. S.W).

photo: Bow Wow and Books

Nov. 14: Young Readers Day 
Llama Llama Red Pajama is great and all (especially when Ludacris raps it). But when it’s time to add a new title to your kids’ bedtime reading repertoire, click on over to the Seattle Public Library for book recommendations organized by age and interest. Or check out one of our favorite indie bookstores for more inspiration.

Nov. 15: America Recycles Day
When it comes to recycling, Seattle kids get it. But before those toilet paper rolls, egg cartons and tin cans make their way to the blue bins, there’s some life in them still. Indulge your little artists’ love of “scrounge art” at Seattle ReCreative (8408 Greenwood Ave. N). Part creative reuse store, part community art center, the non-profit hosts its Paint Playground (an art studio with a focus on recycled materials) weekday mornings for kiddos ages 1-5.

Nov. 16: Have a Party With Your Bear Day
Is your kiddo’s best bear looking worse for the wear? Spruce up her favorite stuffy in time for the party with a new outfit from the Build-A-Bear Workshop at the Alderwood Mall in Lynnwood.

photo: DanB Seattle 2012 via Flickr

Nov. 17: World Peace Day
Talking to little ones about what’s happening in our world can seem overwhelming at best. For a visual on learning from the lessons of the past, stop by Peace Park (N.E. 40th St. & N.E. Pacific St.) near the University of Washington to see artists Daryl Smith’s sculpture “Sadako and the Thousand Cranes.” Back at home, try making paper cranes, a Japanese symbol of hope and healing, using this tutorial.

Nov. 20: Absurdity Day
When it comes to being weird, Portland may take the cake, but from the gum wall (eww) to the Fremont Troll (eek), Seattle is full of the absurd. Suit up and make a rainy day adventure out of searching out a few of our freaky favorites.

Nov. 22: Go For a Ride Day
Thanks to the fall’s near-constant rainfall, tourist traffic has slowed to a steady trickle (phew!), and Seattleites everywhere are reclaiming some of the city’s best thrills. You and your kiddos can finally take that ride on the Great Wheel at Pier 57 without standing in the lines. Or take a ride on Wings Over Washington, right next door!

Nov. 23: Thanksgiving
OK, so Thanksgiving isn’t exactly wacky (that is unless your Great Aunt Margot shows up in her Cuddl Duds and corners you with stories of how she and your grandma used to go for topless joy rides in her dad’s convertible), but we digress. To make the day more memorable, add some extra flavor to your feast with a holiday recipe (don’t miss the kid-friendly Roasted Apples and the no-alcohol Velvety-Smooth Homemade Eggnog) from the techy culinary wizards at Seattle-based Chef Steps.

photo: RichardBH via Flickr

Nov. 24: National Day of Listening
Your little turkeys may tune out what you have to say, but they could listen to grandpa’s stories for hours. Encourage (and maybe even record) the sweet moments between the youngest and eldest members of your clan – and enjoy some quiet time for yourself – in honor of StoryCorps’ National Day of Listening.

Nov. 25:  National Parfait Day
An actual parfait – layers of fruit, syrup, ice cream and whipped cream – might be too much for little tummies, but ice cream made from organic milk, cage-free eggs, fair-trade sugar and local produce? Now that’s a treat we can get behind. Indulge your sweet tooth and celebrate National Parfait Day at where else but Parfait (2034 N.W. 56th St.) in Ballard.

photo: Alisa via Flickr

Nov. 28:  Red Planet Day
Break away from the fast-paced holiday hubbub with a visit to Mars. In honor of Red Planet Day, spend the day at the Pacific Science Center’s Willard Smith Planetarium where the whole family can enjoy the extraterrestrial action. The 15-minute Preschool All Stars program is perfect for little ones, while the 7 and older set will enjoy the longer (40 minutes) Planets for its out-of-this-world look at our solar system.

Does your family celebrate any wacky holidays in November? Tell us about them in the comments below.

— Jennifer Pinto