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This year, we have had a true Halloween miracle happen at our house. My 11-year-old daughter wants to be the same character for Halloween as she was last year, which means I don't have to scramble, beg, borrow, or pay out the nose for a new costume. That's proof of a miracle to any mom out there! So, for the second year in a row, she will don Hannah Montana's platinum blonde wig, sparkly clothes, and sing into a fake microphone for the spookiest night of the year. My boys want to be Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow from the G.I. Joe movie, so I'm not completely off the hook in the costume department.

Out of all twelve months featured on the calendar, October is probably my favorite time of year (and, not just because it's my birthday month). I love Halloween and everything that goes with it: scary movies, haunted houses, pumpkin patches, etc. And, by the time October rolls around, the fall weather is a wanted change from the scorching days of summer. As an Idaho native, I really do prefer cold weather. Plus, who doesn't like fall fashions? Jeans, sweaters, scarves!

Another reason I love October is because of its designation as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. My first job out of college was working as a legislative aide for the American Cancer Society's Government Relations Office in Washington, D.C. One of the first bills I lobbied for was related to breast cancer awareness.

This month, I had the honor to interview some Mothers, Shakers, and Community Makers at Links for Life, a local non-profit that helps the women of Kern County by providing breast cancer awareness and support. On page 18, you can check out the stories about Dr. Francesca Hoehne, a breast oncology surgeon, Stana Bright, a two-time breast cancer survivor and president of Links for Life, and Tana Williams, a cervical cancer survivor and co-chair for the 2nd annual Jazz & Jewels fundraising event. With all the events planned for breast cancer awareness month, it's a great chance to have fun while supporting a worthwhile cause.

In the spirit of community, Tracie Grimes's October craft gives families a way to show neighborly friendship and service. In her article on page 13, she describes how you can start a "BOO" chain in your neighborhood. You can "BOO" your friends with a cute poem and fun gifts including a BOO Basket or Spooky Sparkle Soap.

Joan H. Haskins's Nanny's Story Time captures the essence and spirit of Halloween in her tale, "The Pumpkin Went Plop," on page 24. She also gives you a recipe to turn the sticky inside "guts" of the pumpkin into a delicious treat!

October is also celebrated as Fire Prevention Month. To find out what Bakersfield City Fire Chief Ron Fraze and Kern County Fire Chief Nick Dunn have to say about their firefighters, turn to page 5. You can also check out a few tips to make sure your home is safe!

The fall can also be a great time to start a new hobby: geocaching. This growing past-time is a modern-day treasure hunting game involving GPS coordinates that lead you to a secret stash of trinkets. To find out more about this worldwide game of hide and seek, check out "Geocaching," on page 15.

Tracie Grimes's Humor at Home article, "Infamous Firsts" on page 9, is about all the "firsts" parents wait for in anticipation first haircut, first tooth, etc. She recently encountered a "first" with her daughter that made her stop and ponder if all "firsts" are really worth the wait.

October is chock full of events whether it's a fundraiser for breast cancer awareness, a neighborhood Halloween party, or double-checking the fire safety precautions in your home. So, break out your sweater, put on a pink ribbon, and have fun during what I consider to be the best month of the year!

Make sure to "BOO" your neighbor! Happy Haunting!

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