One aisle has pumpkins -- the other has baubles and wreaths. Thanks to the sputtering economy and six fewer days between Black Friday on Nov. 29 and Christmas, the lines have been blurred between Halloween and the holidays.
The danger, here, is a new kind of seasonal disorder -- one triggered by apathy. How many ho ho ho's can we take when we haven't hit Thanksgiving yet? How can we think about cards when we haven't bought Halloween Snickers? And how many times can we stand hearing "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer"?
If this is the new normal, I protest. Someone needs to stand up for tradition. I refuse to buy even one gift until I've wrung every bit of joy out of Halloween and Thanksgiving. Holiday confusion is treatable. It starts with you.
Eatery updates: Some of the East Bay's best chefs, brewmasters and winemakers were part of last weekend's hugely successful Taste of the Nation event at the Claremont. Montclarions Charlie and Margaret Dollbaum were pouring their luscious Carica Wines (www.caricawines.com), including their bold Rhone-style Red Blend and their lighter-bodied Grenache. Charlie is a breast cancer doctor at UCSF, but started making wines when wife Margaret bought him a winemaking course at the Hillcrest School auction, about 10 years ago. Today, the boutique winery produces about 1000 cases a year.
Around town: Montclair's old Sarber's Camera location has a new tenant. The skin rejuvenation business Au Natural is moving into the retail space at 1958 Mountain Blvd.
Meanwhile, the Lion's Club is gearing up for its annual Halloween Parade through the streets of the Village. Start time is 3 p.m on October 31 with parents and kids lining up in front of the Bank of America.
Tooth tips: Only a jack-o-lantern likes a toothless smile. The rest of us need to protect our teeth during this season of sugary treats. Hills orthodontist Dr. Reginald Griggs has the top treats to avoid if you have fillings, braces or retainers: caramels, gummies, licorice, taffy, bubble gum, jelly beans and popcorn. Good alternatives include soft chocolates, peanut butter and other melt-in-your-mouth candies. For Halloween recipes, see www.mylifemysmile.org/pressroom.
If you're a Halloween purist, like I am, check out the decorations at the Fat Lady Restaurant (201 Washington St.) in Jack London Square. The Rossi family and their talented staff burned the midnight oil for this year's offering -- the dark side of Greek mythology. Behind the bar is the Parthenon with Athens in flames. Medusa reigns over the Fat Lady table and the angel of death greets you at the door. This is the 28th year for this venerable restaurant's over-the-top Halloween decorations. It's not over till the Fat Lady sings -- through Nov. 7.