It's still a whole week before Oct. 31, but walk into Hobby Lobby or Target or Kroger and you can almost see the boxes of ornaments and strings of lights standing there with their arms crossed, tapping their feet and glancing not-so-subtly at their watches, impatient to take over all that primo shelf space the Halloween candy's been occupying for the last two months.
So get out there now and check out these orange and black seasonal goodies before the green and red launch their coup d'etat:
• Pumpkins tiny, gargantuan and in-between — priced from 60 cents to $60 — are available at the Arkansas Garden Center (15603 Cantrell Road). You'll need a forklift to take home the largest ones. I'd somehow missed this until recently — it's right next door to the Good Earth, which happened to be closed on the Sunday afternoon we ventured out. But it's worth the trip: Tons and tons of plants, of course, but also some really cute non-living Halloween decorations. My favorite is a little witch tea-light candle holder ($18) — the candle sits in the witch's lower jaw, which swings free from the rest of her face. They also have big hanging spiders and bats (about $7), yard stakes and other fun stuff.
• For getting in the mood culinarily, no place is better than Williams-Sonoma (Midtowne shopping center). Their Halloween pancake molds ($20), a jack-o-lantern and a skull, are a serious feat of engineering. You might need three hands to use them correctly, but the pictures of the finished product on their web site do look tasty. Other choices: A loaf pan shaped like a pumpkin patch, complete with picket fence around the outside ($30) and a Dremel pumpkin carving set ($20).
• If you're wanting a spooky accessory to accent your costume — or just jazz up your workaday office attire — the Argenta Bead Com-pany (703 Main St., NLR) has a fun selection of skull beads in various sizes, handmade by a local artist, plus some other assorted Halloween-themed pendants.
• Speaking of costumes, if you're among the legions who descend on Savers each year to put yours together, don't forget they've moved from their Riverdale location. The new store is at 4135 JFK Blvd. in Park Hill.
• Save the date: More to come in my next column, but mark your calendars for this year's Holiday House, Nov. 6-8 at the Statehouse Convention Center. General shopping hours are noon to 9 p.m. Nov. 6, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Nov. 7 and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 8. Check the Junior League of Little Rock's Web site, www.jllr.org, for details about special events and a list of this year's merchants.
• I stopped by the new Destination Maternity store at the Promenade at Chenal last weekend (no, DSW is STILL not open). It's a combination of the Mimi Maternity store that had been in Park Plaza and a second location of Motherhood Maternity, which has a store in McCain Mall (they're owned by the same parent company). The combo store is a good idea in that there's a wider range of prices and styles in one place — Mimi Maternity's clothes are significantly more expensive and a little more fashion-forward than Mother-hood's, which is the place to go if you don't want to spend a fortune and/or weren't a pre-pregnancy size 6. If you know you're not interested in the higher-priced items, or if you wear a plus size, stick with the McCain Motherhood store — more merchandise overall, and a larger plus-size selection.
Hog fans just can't quit blaming the refs for the NCAA men's basketball tournament loss to North Carolina. Now the Arkansas Senate has gotten in on the act, with this resolution introduced by Democratic Sen. Keith Ingram and getting bipartisan co-sponsorship from that brutish and short sandlot roundball player, Republican Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson.
Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen ruled today that he had no choice based on a past Arkansas Supreme Court decision but to dismiss a lawsuit by Death Row inmates seeking to challenge the constitutionality of the state's lethal injection process.But the judge did so unhappily with sharp criticism of the Arkansas Supreme Court for failing to address critical points raised in the lawsuit.