Today is Tuesday, Oct. 31, the 304th day of 2017 with 61 to follow.

This is Halloween.

The moon is waxing. Morning stars are Mars and Venus. Evening stars are Jupiter and Saturn.

Those born on this date are under the sign of Scorpio. They include Dutch painter Jan Vermeer in 1632; English poet John Keats in 1795; Girl Scouts founder Juliette Gordon Low in 1860; Gen. Chiang Kai-shek, the first leader of Nationalist China, in 1887; actor/singer Ethel Waters in 1896; actor Lee Grant in 1927 (age 90); astronaut Michael Collins in 1930 (age 87); former TV news anchorman Dan Rather in 1931 (age 86); actor/director Michael Landon in 1936; folk singer/songwriter Tom Paxton in 1937 (age 80); actor David Ogden Stiers in 1942 (age 75); actor Brian Doyle-Murray in 1945 (age 72); actor Stephen Rea in 1946 (age 71); actor Deidre Hall in 1947 (age 70); actor John Candy in 1950; former Belgian politician and European Council President Herman Van Rompuy in 1947 (age 70); Olympic gold medal marathon runner Frank Shorter in 1947 (age 70); broadcaster Jane Pauley in 1950 (age 67); architect Zaha Hadid in 1950; actor Ken Wahl in 1954 (age 63); actor Brian Stokes Mitchell in 1957 (age 60); New Zealand director and producer Peter Jackson in 1961 (age 56); actor Rob Schneider in 1963 (age 54); rapper Ad-Rock, born Adam Horovitz, in 1966 (age 51); rapper Vanilla Ice, born Robert Matthew Van Winkle, in 1967 (age 50); actor Piper Perabo in 1976 (age 41); actor Eddie Kaye Thomas in 1980 (age 37); actor Vanessa Marano in 1992 (age 25); actor Sydney Park in 1997 (age 20); singer Willow Smith in 2000 (age 17).


On this date in history:

In 1517, Martin Luther began the Protestant Reformation by nailing a proclamation -- the 95 theses -- to the door of a church in Wittenberg, Germany.

In 1864, Nevada was admitted to the United States as the 36th state.

In 1926, Harry Houdini, renowned magician, illusionist and escape artist, died of peritonitis in a Detroit hospital following a blow to the abdomen.

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In 1931, with the Great Depression in full swing, the U.S. Treasury Department announced that 827 banks had failed during the previous two months.

In 1941, more than a month before the United States entered World War II, a German submarine torpedoed and sunk a U.S. destroyer, the USS Reuben James.

In 1941, the Mount Rushmore National Memorial in South Dakota -- consisting of the sculpted heads of U.S. Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt -- was completed.

In 1968, U.S. President Lyndon Johnson announced a halt to the bombing of North Vietnam.

In 1984, Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated outside her home in a volley of gunfire by Sikh members of her own security force. Her son, Rajiv, succeeded her.

In 1985, salvage divers located the remains of the booty-laden pirate ship Whydah, which sank Feb. 17, 1717, off Cape Cod, Mass.

In 1993, actor River Phoenix died of a drug overdose outside of a West Hollywood, Calif., nightclub, The Viper Room. He starred in Stand By Me and My Own Private Idaho.

In 2004, Iranian lawmakers chanted, "Death to America!" after a unanimous vote to allow their government to resume uranium enrichment activities.

In 2005, Samuel Alito, a 55-year-old federal appeals judge, was nominated by U.S. President George W. Bush to the U.S. Supreme Court to succeed Sandra Day O'Connor.

In 2008, U.S. Army Gen. David Petraeus took over as head of the Central Command, in charge of military operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, Iran and other countries.

In 2010, Brazilians elected Dilma Rousseff as their first female president. The former energy minister and choice of outgoing President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva defeated Jose Serra in a runoff with 56 percent of the vote. Rousseff won a second term Oct. 26, 2014.

In 2012, the Syrian Network for Human Rights in London said 421 people, including 39 children, died during a four-day United Nations-backed truce in Syria.

In 2013, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration announced airlines could soon allow passengers to use laptops, tablets, music players, e-readers, etc., on flights, with certain restrictions, and that cellphones and other devices must be kept in "airplane mode," disabling their wireless features.

In 2014, SpaceShipTwo, Virgin Galactic's effort in spaceflight for tourists, crashes during a test flight in the Mojave Desert, killing one of the pilots and seriously injuring the other.

In 2015, Russian airliner Metrojet Flight 9268 crashed after taking off from Sharm el-Sheikh International Airport in Egypt, killing all 224 on board. Investigators suspected a bomb on the plane caused the crash.

A thought for the day: "Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip." -- Winston Churchill