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How to Participate in Hacktoberfest

· 5 min read
Bekah Hawrot Weigel
Developer Experience Lead

The countdown to Hacktoberfest has begun! Hacktoberfest, the month-long open source challenge sponsored by DigitalOcean, rewards contributors who sign up and complete four pull requests to open source projects that have opted into Hacktoberfest every year. It’s a great way to grow with the community, find support, and contribute to open source. Together, let’s walk through how to participate in Hacktoberfest, amplify your experience, and transform your contributions into the story of your journey, career ambitions, and community connections.

How to Get Started with Hacktoberfest

Hacktoberfest is an opt-in event. So to get the full benefits of Hacktoberfest, make sure to check out how to participate.


  1. Sign up between September 26 and October 31.
  2. Read the documentation.
  3. Ask for help when you need it - if you need a community, check out the OpenSauced Community.
  4. Get those PRs in before November 1 to repositories that use the hacktoberfest topic in their repository!


  1. If you’re participating as a maintainer, add the hacktoberfest topic to your repository and issues you want worked on during Hacktoberfest.
  2. Including a file - find out more about what makes a good one here.
  3. Include a Code of Conduct.
  4. Get ready to review PRs!

About OpenSauced

At OpenSauced, we’re on a journey to bring inspiration, collaboration, and innovation through open source contributions. We help contributors turn contributions into stories that showcase their growth, innovation, and impact, and maintainers to understand the health, activity, and community around their projects.

Your Hacktoberfest Journey

Your Hacktoberfest journey will be unique to you. Start by defining the goal of your journey. This will help you to make progress, stay on track, and to meet your goal. Start with one, and then break it down into more specific pieces.

  • Do you want to contribute to open source for the first time?
  • Do you want to showcase mentoring and leadership skills to help you get a promotion?
  • Do you want to get better at a certain technology, writing documentation, or something else?
  • Do you want to grow your project and support new contributors?

Remember, Hacktoberfest isn't just about coding. Projects need help with documentation, design, testing, content creation, community support, and more. Some projects create ways for you to submit PRs for non-code contributions. For instance, they may have a list of articles or tutorials in their repository. If you write a blog or tutorial, you can submit that to a repository with that issue open.

Resources to Help You Set Your Goals

Places for First-Time Contributors to Start

If you’re a first-time contributor, we’ve got you covered. One of our goals at OpenSauced is to make learning how to contribute to open source a positive experience. In preparation, we have documentation, a course (that gets you your first PR!), and support resources to help you get started and learn what you need to level up your open source experience.

Finding Issues

Instead of jumping into issues immediately, consider spending some time exploring different repositories’ issues and discussions. Engaging with other contributors and maintainers can provide insight into the project's direction, where your skills might fit best, and the support you’ll receive. Remember, that good first issues don’t exist; the best first issue is the one that you write yourself. So if you see a bug, if you read through unclear documentation, if you have an idea for a feature that will make running the project easier for everyone, write that issue and, if you’re willing, ask to be assigned.

Engaging in discussions is another great way to contribute to open source, learn more, and share your willingness to collaborate. Engaging in these discussions might lead you to find a good issue to work on. Remember, the official Hacktoberfest documentation emphasizes the event's ethos, fostering collaboration and quality contributions.

Showcasing Your Open Source Legacy

Being a good contributor isn’t just about submitting PRs. It’s about investing in the holistic Hacktoberfest journey. Creating pull requests, issues, and even blog posts into one story that show a well-rounded contributor.

Pull requests can demonstrate the quality of your code, but that’s not the only thing that makes you a good developer. You also need to have good communication skills, the ability to collaborate and explain your decisions, and a willingness to look at a project and see how it can be improved. At OpenSauced, our highlights feature allows you to highlight all three of those things. If you’re documenting your growth journey, highlight the work that you’ve done that’s relevant, showcase your expertise, and create a digital portfolio that speaks to your willingness to learn and grow.

Image of highlights for blog post, issue, and PR

Here’s my challenge to you: hit the trifecta this Hacktoberfest. Make your PRs, write an issue, and publish a blog post to showcase your open source journey and the depth of your contributions. Tell the story of why it mattered to you in your highlight. Remember, telling your story isn’t just for self-promotion — it's a tool to create connections. It’s a way to share your journey with mentors, peers, and industry professionals. And not only that, it shows a picture of your potential impact on future projects. Open source contributions don’t stop in October. Use this as a jumping-off point to become a repeat contributor, supporting the growth and mission of the open source projects that you contribute to.