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Fire belly toads, bearded dragons, turtles, frogs, crickets, and a tarantula… all the makings of a creepy, spooky night of haunting. But wait, it's not part of a haunted house; it's a sixth-grade classroom at American Elementary. My daughter's teacher, Mrs. Karen Nicholson, has kept all kinds of creatures in her classroom since she started teaching 20 years ago. Aptly calling her room, Nicholson's Zoo, she uses the animals to help teach the kids about science. The kids enjoy being around their classroom pets. With the myriad of animals and 34 rambunctious tweens, Mrs. Nicholson says her classroom really is like a zoo in more ways than one.

My daughter loves her classroom pets. Almost every day, she has a story to tell us about them. Lately, it's been that Draco, the male bearded dragon, has a crush on Amodalla, his female counterpart. I think all this talk of reptiles permeated my seven-year-old's brain. After we inherited a pet hermit crab named "Rhino," he has been reptile-obsessed for weeks.

For his birthday, all he could talk about was having a reptile party. So, we scheduled Eric of E&M's Reptile Family to bring his creepy crawlies to our house to entertain 20-plus first-graders. They had a ball – even the girls. Eric was phenomenal and held their attention for the entire hour presentation. I even let him put one of his massive snakes around my neck. The reptiles don't bother me at all, but when he brought out the giant Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches, I physically squirmed! EEWWW!

Not only are nocturnal creatures that make you quiver part of this haunting season, but tricks instead of treats also make the Halloween list. In Brian Kantz's Fatherhooding article on page 12, "Strange Bedfellows," he reminisces about the harmless pranks he pulled under the cover of darkness during what he calls, "Mischief Season." He wants his daughters to have these same types of memories; but, he wonders if we've lost our tolerance for benign mischief.

October isn't just about pranks and creatures of the night; it's also the beginning of Fall. What better way to welcome the cooler weather than with transforming your home to match the new season. In my article on page 16, "Pumped Up Pumpkins and Great Gourds," I met with three local florists who shared some of their decorating tips and made beautiful arrangements for us to showcase. KCFM wants to give a big thank you to Garden District Flowers, Log Cabin Florist, and White Oaks Florist for their expertise and talents!

In this issue, Tracie Grimes's Humor At Home article on page 13, "Mama and Paparazzi," has us in stitches. She writes about her OPD (Obsessive Photo Disorder) where she follows her children around to capture red-carpet worthy, Kodak moments of their lives. Just like the paparazzi, she doesn't want her camera to miss a moment, sometimes, even to the embarrassment of her children. Say cheese!

New editorial featured this month is Buffalo, New York-based author Brian Kantz and his award-winning column, "The Newbie Dad." In his article on page 12, "Strange Bedfellows," he writes about the hilarity and amusement of moving his two sons out of their own separate bedrooms to share the same one. This scenario has a lot of advantages and the two boys find comfort in each other's company, especially at bedtime. It's definitely worth the read! October is not all ghouls and ghosts… throw in a reptile, or two, and maybe even some harmless tricks to go with those sinful treats. Enjoy the cooler weather and take some time to smell the Terra-Cotta Roses that are so beautiful this time of year!

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