BETTE MIDLER’S kickoff party for her Hulaween Gala took place in her Fifth Avenue apartment the other eve. This aerie has undoubtedly Manhattan’s best view over the Reservoir in Central Park and a new moon hanging in the sky only added to it. … Bette and Martin Von Haselberg are off to China to visit daughter Sophie who is in school there. The star will be here Oct. 31 at the Waldorf for her New York Restoration Project gala which stars Stevie Nicks and honors Willie Nelson. Before invites even go out, they have raised $1.1 million. Call 212 -573-6933 … Ethel Kennedy will present the Ripple of Hope Award to Bill Clinton on Friday at Chelsea Piers. It’s for the RFK Memorial & Speak Truth to Power human rights initiative. Peter Boyle, Lorraine Bracco, Martin Sheen, Sharon Stone, Giancarlo Esposito, Matthew Modine, Robin Wright Penn, Gloria Ruben, Christian Slater, Sigourney Weaver are slated to be there. Call 866-3762569 for information … The Americans for the Arts National Arts Awards happens at Cipriani 42 St. on Oct. 16. The names are grand, from Kitty Hart to Jake Gyllenhaal and Aretha Franklin, to name just three. Call 212-254-6677 … The Quill Awards happen Oct. 10 at the Museum of Natural History with Caroline Kennedy getting the first award.. Call 646-746-6848. … The Theater Development Fund has a gala Oct. 12 supporting the campaign for a new TKTS booth in Father Duffy Square. The Marriott Marquis will offer supper and then a preview of the revived “A Chorus Line” at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre. Call 212-221-0885, ext. 260.

MERYL STREEP will guest edit the November/December issue of “The Green Guide,” an environmentally correct publication vital to consumers who like healthy choices. Streep says she relishes the chance to really work for a magazine that “provides practical eco-choices for daily life.” At the moment, Streep is in Rhode Island with a host of other VIPs dedicated to serious acting — Glenn Close, Vanessa Redgrave, Eileen Atkins, Natasha Richardson, Toni Collette, Mamie Gummer, Hugh Dancy and Patrick Wilson. They are making a film written by Michael Cunningham and Susan Minot, titled “Evening.” Director is Lajos Koltai and the movie is about a dying old lady who thinks back to a charmed weekend in her past. Focus Features is producing.

ELIZABETH TAYLOR is being wooed by her MGM compatriots from the ’40s and ’50s, to salute the late June Allyson. Organizers Karen Cadle and Paul Ryan are desperate to get Miz Liz on board for the Nov. 2 event. Debbie Reynolds, Esther Williams, Kathryn Grayson, Gloria DeHaven, Cyd Charisse and Margaret O’Brien have all been enlisted to woo the elusive Miss Taylor. (Taylor and Allyson did appear together in 1949’s “Little Women.”) Producers of this nostalgic tribute find themselves disheartened by pale media reaction. … “I think of public office in the same way I think of military service. I’m not saying I would not do it. But I certainly don’t want to do it.” This is Warren Beatty talking to Holly Millea in Premiere magazine for November, answering again those old questions about going into politics.

WOULDN’T IT BE GREAT IF: the United Nations moved to Billings, Montana or to Canton, Ohio or to Waco, Texas? Anywhere that needs the business, the traffic, the parked limos of diplomats? Or if someone examined the double-jointed huge mammoth buses in the city that travel half empty and frequently don’t stop to pick people up? Or the put a stop to the trucks coming out of the Midtown Tunnel and elsewhere that giants grind and growl through the streets all day. And wouldn’t it be great if all the taxi drivers who don’t speak English would at least listen to the address you give them?

(E-mail Liz Smith at MES3838@aol.com)