COSTUME KICKBACKS ... As Halloween approaches and some parents get the jitters about throwing down the bucks to dress their children as generic ghouls, the nonprofit Blossom Birth is offering a novel solution. The educational nonprofit is letting parents drop off costumes in good condition until Sept. 27 so that they can be swapped for a new one — a recycling event that promises to make the holiday easier on the wallet and the environment. And for a holiday for which a third of the kids are Hannah Montana and half are Dracula, it's just far out enough to work (though the attraction of Hannah Montana may have waned in recent weeks, thanks to its star). Interested parents can drop by the pre-Halloween pickup event at Lucie Stern Community Center on Oct. 4, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., or follow this link to find out where to drop off costumes: http://tinyurl.com/pd63fwq.
ATTENTION, ATTENTION ... A public-service announcement about cutting-edge methods for fighting crime deserves cutting-edge production value, right? Well, maybe. Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen this week released a public-service announcement called "The Epidemic of iCrime" that gets points for its message. It advises smartphone owners to use tracking apps so their phones can be found if stolen (but advises against trying to recover stolen phones personally), note the serial numbers of electronic devices to aid in their recovery and enable the GPS-tracking feature on devices. As for the sleepy production value, it could've used some 21st-century iUpdating, with theme music more reminiscent of 1980s Vangelis than the "Bourne Supremacy." Follow this link to see the video: http://tinyurl.com/pb7y525.
ALWAYS DESIGNATE A TWEETER ... It's not too often that drivers dodge a traffic ticket before ever getting one, but that was the case in Palo Alto Thursday for Twitter-savvy drivers. In a effort to bring attention to its newly reinstated motorcycle traffic cops, a Palo Alto police DT (designated tweeter) followed Sgt. Ken Kratt around Palo Alto, disclosing his whereabouts and what types of infractions he would be looking for. Followers of the event learned a lot more than just how to avoid a traffic cop, though. Also tweeted was a picture of the motorcycle mount for Kratt's intimidating AR-15 assault rifle, details on the rigorous training required for being a motorcycle cop, and information on how much time traffic cops end up spending in court to defend traffic tickets (a lot). The high point of the nine-hour event was a toss-up between the DT having to break off to chase down a speeder and the DT revealing his best speeding excuse: "'I just came from a Chocaholics Anonymous meeting. I'm wired on chocolate.' It worked." Check out how the ride went on Twitter at #PAPDvra.