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Join in second Halloween stroll

Kathleen O'Connell and Heather Spicer would like to stretch the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday season to include Halloween.

The two West Linn mothers are inviting everyone, especially children and pets, to the second annual Spooky Stroll, to be held Saturday, beginning at 3 p.m. in Tanner Creek Park.

The two women, deeply entrenched in the MOMS Club of West Linn, quickly developed their idea last year with a few sponsors.

Although a little anxious before the 2005 parade day, the two were elated when hundreds of people showed up to participate and watch costumed kids and adults of all ages stroll through Tanner Basin.

'The parade gods were smiling down on us last year,' O'Connell said.

This year, MOMS Club members Jennifer Pek and Amy Perry have joined them, and they've more than doubled the number of sponsors and organized the event to be bigger and better - much like the Halloween parade that entranced O'Connell when she was a child in upstate New York.

O'Connell said this is a typical small-town, family activity - the kind of fun activity that brings smiles to everyone's face.

But it's more than just a parade.

Among other activities are a variety of craft tables for kids as well as dancing and music.

The Bettys, an all-girl jazz group of area high school students led by the alto saxophone of West Linn High School junior Hailey Niswanger, will entertain after the parade.

The Spooky Stroll is operating on donations from local businesses, O'Connell said, and since the MOMS club is a nonprofit group, all money left over will be donated to the city's holiday program for needy families. Last year, excess donations were given to the police department's drive to gain Viggo, a police dog who just arrived this month.

This event is a good example, O'Connell said, of city government and a community group collaborating on an activity that makes West Linn a nice place to live.

Donating cash to cover expenses are the following local businesses: Bank of America, Wells Fargo Bank, U.S. Bank, Dahn Yoga Center, Dragonfly, West Linn Dance Center, Smile West Linn (dentist), United Studio of Self Defense, and The Play Boutique.

Among the in-kind donations, O'Connell said, are cookies from MOMS Club member Amy Murphy of Dinners Done Right; cocoa coffee and cookies from Starbucks; candy treats from the Candy Basket; Bales Market, boxes of juice from Howden Art; baked goods from Safeway; pencils and stickers from Dragonfly; craft materials from Abrakadoodle, the Dancing Easel and The Play Boutique.

A bright red engine from Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue and several police officers on bicycles will lead the parade. The parade's 'caboose' is slated to be a police vehicle that will help anyone who tires of walking along the mile-long loop.

The parade begins and ends at Tanner Creek Park near Parker Road. The route includes Wild Rose Loop, Ponderay Drive, Crescent Drive, Sabo Lane and Nomie Way.

Parade walkers will include anyone who is costumed - moms, dads, kids, grandmothers, grandfathers aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins.

It's a family affair.

In fact, all pets are welcome, O'Connell said, but they should be on leash.

And hopefully, costumed.