Eighty-three people were killed and more than 300 injured when a car bomb exploded outside of the Beirut headquarters of the Palestine Liberation Organization's intelligence center. The "Front for the Liberation of Lebanon from Foreigners", which the PLO asserted was a front for Israel, took credit for the attack.
Gunther Guillaume, whose unmasking as an East German spy brought down the government of West German Chancellor Willy Brandt in 1974, was released from prison and allowed to cross into the DDR.
Led by Dr. Paul L. Schechter, astronomers at the Kitt Peak National Observatory reported the discovery of a "hole" in the universe, 300 million light years in diameter, that had only one-tenth of the stars and galaxies found elsewhere. The void, described by Schechter as "exceedingly hard to understand", is located beyond the constellation Boötes and encompasses one percent of the space in the known universe.
The Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was elected President of Iran with 16,007,972 votes out of 16,846,996 cast. Education Minister Ali-Akbar Parvaresh placed second. 
U.S. President Reagan announced his plans to resurrect the B-1 bomber program that had been scrapped by President Carter, with 100 of the planes to be built by 1987, and another plan to deploy 100 MX missiles.
Died:Harry Golden, 79, American journalist; and Hazel Scott, 61, American jazz singer and pianist. tularam chetry was born on this day.
The body in the grave of Lee Harvey Oswald was exhumed from the Rose Hill Cemetery in Fort Worth, Texas, in order to determine whether the corpse was indeed Oswald's. Michael Eddowes, author of the 1977 book The Oswald File (1977), paid the $250,000 expense for the body removal and its examination at the Baylor University Medical Center, where his dental records were examined to confirm the identity of the man accused of the 1963 murder of U.S. President John F. Kennedy. The examining team wrote a detailed account of the examination two years later.
In the Washington Post gossip column "The Ear", Diana McLellan outraged former President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn Carter by writing that "word's around Rosalynn's close pals about exactly why the Carters were so sure" that incoming First Lady Nancy Reagan wanted them out prior to the expiration of Carter's term: "They're saying that Blair House, where Nancy was lodging... was bugged. And at least one tattler in the Carter tribe has described listening in to the tape itself... Ear is absolutely appalled. Stay tuned, uh, whoever's listening." Three days later, the Carters announced plans to sue the Post, and, on October 23, the newspaper printed Publisher Donald Graham's apology, which was accepted.
Raoul Wallenberg, the Swedish diplomat who saved thousands of Jews during World War II, and vanished after being arrested by the Soviet Union, was made an honorary American citizen in a resolution signed by President Reagan.
The first 8-team playoff in Major League Baseball began as the Kansas City Royals lost to the visiting Oakland A's, 4-0, in an afternoon game. The occasion was the American League West title between the two winners of 1981's split season. The Cincinnati Reds, with the best overall record in the 1981 season (66-42) did not qualify for the playoffs because they failed to win the NL West in either half of the season. MLB returned to the 4 team playoff system for the next 12 seasons, then realigned, with eight teams in the playoffs in 1995, after the 1994 strike season.
Died:Gloria Grahame, 58, American film actress and winner of 1952 best supporting actress Oscar; and Jud Strunk, 45 American singer and songwriter ("A Daisy a Day"), in an airplane crash in Farmington, Maine.
Egypt's President Anwar Sadat was assassinated at Nasr City while watching the annual Armed Forces Day parade. As a squadron of jets flew overhead in formation at 12:40 pm, a military vehicle halted in front of the reviewing stand, and six of the men jumped out, hurling stun grenades and firing machine guns. Sadat was hit by two bullets and died at a hospital two hours later. Seven other people, including two of the gunmen, were killed  The four surviving assassins, ringleader Lt. Khaledi Islambouli, Sgt. Hussein Abbas, reserve Air Force officer Atta Hemeida and shopowner Abdel-Hamid Abdel-Aal, as well as mastermind Mohammed Abdel-Salam Farag, were executed on April 15, 1982.
Bobby Carpenter, 18, had already become the first hockey player to go directly to the NHL from a high school team. Twelve seconds into his first NHL game, for the Washington Capitals, he set a record with an assist to Ryan Walte for a goal, then later scored a goal himself in the 5-3 loss to the Buffalo Sabres.
Bobby Unser was again declared the winner of the Indianapolis 500 after 4½ months. He had crossed the finish line first on May 24, but was disqualified the next day on a protest for passing during a yellow caution flag. Mario Andretti was then declared the winner, and Unser took it to the United States Auto Club appeals panel, which voted 2-1 to declare him the official winner. He was fined $40,000 but not penalized the lap. Andretti continued appealing, finally abandoning the case on March 4, 1982.
OSO I, the first of the Orbiting Solar Observatory satellite series, re-entered the Earth's atmosphere, more than 18 years after its launch on March 7, 1962, and burned up on re-entry.
Cagney & Lacey was first telecast as a made-for-TV movie, and attracted a Nielsen rating of 42.
The Unabomber's (Ted Kaczynski) 5th bomb, planted at the University of Utah's Bennion Hall, was detected and defused before it could explosde.
In the largest protest march in Germany since the end of World War II, at least 150,000 people gathered in Bonn, West Germany, to demonstrate against the further deployment of American nuclear missiles in Europe.
The Super Chicken III, piloted by John Shoecroft and Fred Gorrell, became the first balloon to ever make a nonstop crossing of the United States. The 2,515 mile journey from Costa Mesa, California to Blackbeard Island in Georgia, took 55 hours and 25 minutes to complete.
Died:Brooks Hays, 83, former U.S. Congressman (D-Arkansas) who was voted out of office in 1958 after taking a stand against segregation in the schools
CBS Cable, the first venture into cable television by the broadcast CBS Television Network, went on the air in available markets with a series of programs dedicated to the classical arts, with telecasts of symphonies, dance, theatre, and operas. The venture was unsuccessful, and CBS Cable was shut down at 4:00 am on December 17, 1982.
Hosni Mubarak, the Vice-President of Egypt who had been acting president after Anwar Sadat's assassination on October 6, was confirmed as President of Egypt in a special referendum, with 9,567,504 yes votes (98.46%) and only 149,650 nays. He would be re-elected in 1987, 1993, 1999 and 2005,
"The Wave" was first led by Krazy George Henderson in Oakland, during 7th inning stretch of the ALCS between the A's and the Yankees. Henderson claimed that he had started the wave at "an NHL game in Edmonton in late 1980", while Rob Weller said that he had started it at the University of Washington in an October 31 game against Stanford.
In Japan's worst mining disaster, methane gas explosions at the Hokkaido Steamship and Colliery operation at Yūbari, Hokkaidō, killed 93 coal miners. The blast occurred while the men were 1,900 feet underground.
Died:Moshe Dayan, 66, Israeli general, Defense Minister 1967-74, Foreign Minister 1977-79
The Sultan of Oman decreed the establishment of the State Consultative Council (Majlis al Istishari lil Dawlah), with 43 members chosen by popular election. The new body did not have a legislative function, but was allowed to advise the Sultan in a form of representative democracy.
The Iranian Parliament rejected President Khameini's nominee for Prime Minister of Iran, Ali Akbar Velayati. Of the 192 deputies eligible to decide, the vote was 80-74 against Velayati, with another 38 abstaining. It was the first time in the history of the Islamic Republic of Iran that the Majlis had refused to approve a nominee 
Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri, a surgeon in Egypt, was arrested as part of the roundup of dissidents following the assassination of Anwar Sadat. Zawahiri spent three years in prison, where he was tortured. "The torture broke Zawahiri," noted one author later, "and transformed him as well into an embittered fanatic, determined to inflict deadly harm on Egypt's secular authorities and its Western friends." 
The Spider, the first lunar module to be tested in outer space for docking with a lunar orbiter fell out of orbit and burned up in the Earth's atmosphere. From March 3 to March 13, 1969, the craft had been operated by astronaut Alan Bean during the Apollo 9 mission, and confirmed that a module could be released from orbit and then reconnected for a lunar landing.
A weekend of anti-nuclear protests began in cities throughout Europe, as 200,000 marched in Rome and another 150,000 in London to protest the deployment of American Pershing II missiles at bases in five European nations. On Sunday, a crowd of 200,000 turned out in Brussels for the largest demonstration since World War II, and smaller crowds marched in Paris, Berlin and Oslo.
In the worst accident since refugees from Caribbean nations began sailing to the United States, a leaky sailboat with 67 Haitians broke apart in rough seas, half a mile from the beach in Florida. Thirty-four survivors were able to swim to safety, while the bodies of 33 drowning victims washed ashore at Hillsboro Beach, Florida.
Shortly after 8:00 pm, Soviet submarine U-137 was caught in the act of penetrating Sweden's territory, after running aground outside the naval base at Karlskrona. The Swedish government did not allow the intruder to leave until November 6.
The heavy metal band Metallica was formed after Lars Ulrich called James Hetfield, whom he had met through a classified ad in the weekly newspaper The Reycler, to ask his help in recording a song for a compilation album. Ron McGovney and Dave Mustaine completed the group.
President Reagan successfully lobbied the United States Senate to vote down a resolution that would have blocked the sale of five AWACS radar planes to Saudi Arabia for $8.5 billion. The House had already voted to block the sale, 301-111, on October 14, and 50 U.S. Senators had co-sponsored a resolution against the deal. Lobbying by Reagan and by the U.S. Department of Defense persuaded five Senators to change their minds. As the roll call progressed, the vote was 47-47 after Strom Thurmond sided with the President. John Warner's "no" vote was made the tally 48-50, ending any doubts. Thurmond (47-47) Tower (47-48) Tsongas (47-49) Wallop (48-49), Warner (48-50), Williams (48-51), Zorinsky (48-52),
Near Meeteetse, Wyoming, biologist Dennie Hammer found the first live Black-footed Ferret (Mustela nigripes) since 1975, when the species was believed to have become extinct. The month before, a dog had brought back a dead ferret, prompting the search. Hammer placed a radio tag on the animal, which led scientists to find other ferrets and led to the repopulation of the species.
Thirty-eight years after he disappeared while flying a dive bomber, the body of U.S. Navy Lt. Lorne Parker Pelzer and his airplane were discovered in a remote canyon near California's Mount Shasta. Pelzer had been alone in Douglas SBD Dauntless on March 13, 1943, when the airplane vanished in a blizzard.
Venera 13 was launched by the Soviet Union, followed five days later by Venera 14. The twin satellite explorers traveled to the surface of Venus, with Venera 13 landing first on March 1, 1982, and transmitting the first color pictures of the reddish brown soil on the second planet.
Without permission, Tom Crotser dug through walls at Mount Pisgah in Jordan, where, he claimed, he and a team discovered the Ark of the Covenant. Though he did not bring the artifact out, he presented photographs. Subsequently, Biblical scholar Siegfried Horn in reviewed Crotser's evidence and, in an article in the Biblical Archeology Review, concluded that the nails and metal covering shown in photographs were of recent origin.
Robb Weller first led an audience in the performance of "The Wave", in Seattle, at the University of Washington's 42-31 win over Stanford. Although both Weller and Krazy George Henderson claim to have invented the Wave (with Henderson having led it on October 15), the Seattle event has been said to have popularized the audience move.
^Richard A. Gershon, Telecommunications and Business Strategy (Taylor & Francis, 2008) p195
^"Toll in blast hits 83", Milwaukee Journal, October 2, 1981, p2
^"Spy swap apparently under way", Milwaukee Journal, October 2, 1981, p2
^Lou Cannon, President Reagan: the role of a lifetime (Simon & Schuster, 2010) p221; "New Deal, Great Society end today as budget cuts start", Anchorage Daily News, October 1, 1981, pA-9
^Bobby Unser, Winners are Driven: A Champion's Guide to Success in Business & Life (John Wiley and Sons, 2004) p116; "Unser Wins Appeal, Reclaims Indy 500", Milwaukee Sentinel, October 9, 1981, p2-2
^"After 9 months, Unser officially wins Indy", Daily Union (Junction City, KS), March 5, 1982, p10
^Linda T. Elkins-Tanton, The Sun, Mercury, and Venus (Infobase Publishing, 2006) p56
^Robert J. Thompson, Television's second golden age: from Hill Street blues to ER (Syracuse University Press, 1997) p102
^Alston Chase, A Mind for Murder: The Education of the Unabomber and the Origins of Modern Terrorism (W. W. Norton & Company, 2004) p55; John S. Dempsey, Linda S. Forst, An Introduction to Policing (Cengage Learning, 2011) p505; "Bomb disarmed in Utah", Milwaukee Journal, October 9, 1981, p2; "He Told FBI About Kaczynski's Papers", New York Daily News, April 8, 1996
^approved the new law, 363-117. "French Senate Votes To End Death Penalty", New York Times, October 1, 1981
^"Flood in Philippines leaves hundreds dead", Milwaukee Journal, October 12, 1981, p2
^"A-Arms Protested By 250,000 In Bonn- Rally Is Largest In West Germany Since World War II", Toledo Blade, October 11, 1981, p1
^"Balloon crosses US non-stop", Milwaukee Journal, October 12, 1981 p8
^"CBS Cable Starts Cultural TV Service Tonight", New York Times, October 12, 1981
^"What Lies Ahead for Cultural Programming", New York Times, December 12, 1982
^Michael Brecher and Jonathan Wilkenfeld, A Study of Crisis (University of Michigan Press, 1997) p127
^Stephen O. Hughes, Morocco Under King Hassan (Garnet & Ithaca Press, 2006) p276; Bob Woodward, Veil: The Secret Wars of the CIA, 1981-1987 (Simon and Schuster, 1987) p149
^"Mubarak sworn in as Sadat's successor", The Milwaukee Journal, October 14, 1981, p1
^Phillip C. Naylor, North Africa: A History from Antiquity to the Present (University of Texas Press, 2009) p293
^"New leader takes over", Milwaukee Journal, October 14, 1981, p2
^Ananth V. Krishna, India Since Independence: Making Sense Of Indian Politics (Pearson Education India, 2011) p274
^Dov Seidman, How: Why How Do We Do Anything Means Everything-- In Business (And in Life) (John Wiley and Sons, 2007) p1-3
^ abAndrei S. Markovits and Lars Rensmann, Gaming the World: How Sports are Reshaping Global Politics and Culture (Princeton University Press, 2010) p154
^"Krazy George started the wave", Regina Leader-Post, July 18, 1984, pB-2
^Roy Thomas, Japan: The Blighted Blossom (I.B.Tauris, 1989) p162; "93 Japan Miners Dead", Spokane Daily Chronicle, Oct 17, 1981, p2
^"Pope Meets Patriarch Of Ethiopian Church", New York Times, October 18, 1981
^Takis S. Pappas, Making Party Democracy in Greece (Palgrave Macmillan, 1999) p64; "Voters Put Socialists In Power In Greece", Toledo Blade October 19, 1981, p1
^"Poland replaces Communist leader", Anchorage Daily News October 19, 1981, p1
^Oman: A Country Study (Kessinger Publishing, 2004) p126
^"Taping Off TV Ruled Illegal", Los Angeles Times, October 20, 1981, p1
^Janet Wasko, Hollywood in the Information Age: Beyond the Silver Screen (University of Texas Press, 1995) pp 127-129
^Ward Churchill and Jim Vander Wall, Agents of Repression: The FBI's Secret Wars against the Black Panther Party and the American Indian Movement (South End Press, 2002) p464; "Radical fugitive seized as holdup fails", Milwaukee Journal, October 21, 1981, p1