HALLOWEEN IS ONE of my favorite holidays. It’s a great day to dress up and be silly with no expectations whatsoever. There are no cards to send out, you don’t have to cook and you don’t have to entertain the relatives.
It’s a good thing for Larry Schmidt because he wouldn’t have the time anyway. He’s been working for months on a kid-friendly Halloween event at his Glenview home.
“My comrades and I belong to the San Francisco Bay Area Puppeteers Guild,” he says, “and we’re putting on a marionette show in my driveway. There are other spooky things to see in the upper area of the yard as well, and of course, candy at the door.”
Schmidt says he got the idea from the magical Halloweens of his youth growing up in the Oakland hills.
“The parents of a friend erected a witch in their yard every Halloween to amuse the children,” he recalls. A neighbor with a microphone would make the witch “talk” to the trick-or-treaters as they came up the sidewalk.
“With this inspiration,” Schmidt says, “I became a haunter of my parents’ yard with a talking witch stirring a kettle perched atop a huge rock.”
Schmidt continues this tradition today as an adult who enjoys sharing the holiday with kids. His house is at 3854 Greenwood Ave. and the puppet show starts around dusk and runs continuously until the kids are tucked safely in their beds.
PARTY HEARTY: Republican, Democrat or independent — you can party down with your party on election night at a bash on the USS Potomac.
Organizers call Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s “floating White House” a real bipartisan ship, ready to host the bash of the decade from 5-8:45 p.m. on Nov. 4. For $195, (which is tax-deductible) you get food, wine and even an appearance by “Franklin D. Roosevelt” along with his faithful dog “Fala.”
If staying on dry land is more your style, Kelley Nayo at the Knitting Basket tells me she and neighboring merchants are hosting an election night party at her shop in Montclair.
There’ll be food, wine and a “funky good time,” she says, admitting that she is an Obama supporter.
“But this is not a political party,” she says. “It’s about recognizing the importance of coming together as a community when change is imminent.”
SUPER MOM: A local kids’ product (invented by a hills mother of six) is showing up in some major national chains.
What’s even more miraculous is that founder Jennifer Adams Bunker has six kids of her own! I guess the old adage is true: If you want something done, give it to a busy person.
CAFFEINE CAFE: There’s a new hot spot for coffee in downtown Oakland. It’s a Grind is an artsy little beanery at 11th and Clay, run by retired Chevron employee Mary Forte.
Not much of a coffee drinker herself, Mary says she just wanted a place for people to be comfortable. Her place is comfy alright. Even stars like Danny Glover and Joe Montana have been seen getting a cup of Joe in her shop.