Will October be a trick or a treat?

There will be plenty of events taking place this month, and a lot of them should move the market. Sure, earnings season kicks in toward the month's end, but there are also plenty of other dates on the calendar that pose challenges, threats, and opportunities.

Here are a few of the days that I plan to approach with eyes wide open.

October 15
Banking bailout critics will have plenty to chew on when Citigroup (NYSE:C) reports on this day. The snapshot will grow panoramic when Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) steps up a day later. Analysts aren't expecting much. They see modest quarterly deficits at both financial bellwethers. But shareholders still have questions.

  • Are they moving closer to paying back the bailout proceeds? Both Citi and B of A have taken steps to begin cashing out taxpayers, fearing the government's meddlesome ways if they don't.
  • How much longer will the token quarterly dividends of $0.01 a share continue?
  • Is lending activity increasing? Are default rates decreasing?
  • Both stocks have soared roughly fivefold since their springtime lows. Have they earned the spikes?

October 16
Spike Jonze's cinematic spin on the classic children's book Where the Wild Things Are hits the big screen on this day.

Time Warner's (NYSE:TWX) Warner Bros. is the studio behind the hyped-up theatrical release. It's not the only company hoping that kids -- and kids at heart -- flock to see the film. It is also the latest potential blockbuster to receive the IMAX (NASDAQ:IMAX) treatment, with a beefed-up version premiering at its fast-growing chain of gargantuan multiplex screens.

Exhibitors have fared surprisingly well during the recession, as consumers take to movie-house escapism.

October 19
Every three months, analysts throw out a profit target, only to see Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) blow past the pros. You have to go all the way back to 2003 to find the last time that Apple didn't beat expectations.

This day shouldn't be any different, as Apple has a way of selling more Macs, iPods, and iPhones than Wall Street is projecting. If you think Apple is humbling the prognosticators now, just wait until the new accounting rules that accelerate deferred iPhone revenue kick in.

October 22
Fare thee well, Vista. Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) new operating system hits the market on this day, and there's plenty riding on Windows 7.

Deservedly or not, Vista got booted around almost as much as it was booted up. Windows 7 hands the software giant a clean slate, at least until the next wave of "I'm a Mac, I'm a PC" ads begin springing up.

This isn't just a big day for Microsoft. Computer makers know that the operating system upgrade process can be a chore for many users. A new platform is often the catalyst for a spike in PC and laptop sales, as users decide to simply buy new machines with Windows 7 pre-installed. The upgrade cycle also historically kicks off a new wave of ad spending in the tech space.

Windows 7 may also be a bittersweet moment for Microsoft. With smartphones, netbooks, and tablets boosting the profile of mobile operating systems, Windows 7 may be the last great traditional operating system. There is unlikely to be a single operating system juggernaut in a few years, much to Microsoft's lament.

October 29
One of the telltale signs of the recession has been shoppers bypassing brand names to load up on cheaper store brands. This has the historically resilient consumer nondurable heavyweights losing some of their all weather shine.

It is under this backdrop that Procter & Gamble (NYSE:PG) will deliver its fiscal first-quarter report. Wall Street sees a profit of $0.96 a share, short of the $1.03 a share it earned a year earlier.

P&G's report matters. If the conglomerate behind Crest toothpaste, Pringles potato chips, and countless other supermarket staples delivers an upward surprise it could be an indicator that folks are feeling comfortable enough with their discretionary income to become loyal to big brands again.

What are you looking forward to this month, beyond handfuls of candy corn? Check in with your expectations in the comment box below.

IMAXis a Motley Fool Rule Breakers pick. Apple is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation. Microsoft is a Motley Fool Inside Value pick. The Fool owns shares of Procter & Gamble, which is a Motley Fool Income Investor selection. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services, free for 30 days.  

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz loves October, but it may just be a candy thing. He does not own shares in any of the stocks in this story. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.