I want to take a moment to recognize San Luis Obispo, California as the happiest place on earth. Nope, not Disneyland, and not your local BevMo! It’s San Luis Obispo all the way. (We even have the press to prove it!)
Strangely, there was a time when I would have sold my left leg to leave this bucolic town. I grew up here, you see. It took living in New York, San Francisco, Italy and New Zealand for me to understand how good I’d had it back home.
And now that Seabass is under my mama fin, my appreciation has gone through the roof. This town is A REVELATION! There are parks galore, a children’s museum, weekly rain-or-shine farmer’s markets, summertime concerts in the plaza, storytime at the library, incredibly free symphony dress rehearsals at the Performing Arts Center, hikes hikes and more hikes, parent and child activity groups, a kids’ warm water swimming pool and seasonal happenings too numerous to count. But I’d like to give a shout-out to just one of them: the annual Halloween Munchkin March.
This march starts at the SLO Children’s Museum and winds its way through downtown, where shopkeepers stand at their doors in costume with bowls of candy. Babies, kids, and even some spirited parents are dressed in costumes ranging from Marie Antoinette to a banana to a ladybug. While I would have loved to dress Seabass as, well, a seabass, this year, he made due as a monkey. And the cutest monkey you ever did see, of course.
Along the parade route is a shop called Jim’s Campus Camera, which has provided free professional Halloween photos for eons. The line snaking out of the shop was a mass of seething costumed humanity: kids screaming, pushing candy into their mouths, pulling each others’ masks off and generally melting down in every possible direction. It was great.
After getting Seabass’ picture taken, we continued with the Munchkin March to its completion at a local park where there was free pizza and soda awaiting participants. This was really the grand finale for most of the children in attendance. Wearing costumes in various states of unravelling, they swung on swings, painted their cheeks with pizza sauce, skidded down the slide, and spun themselves into a sugar-induced frenzy on the merry-go-round. By that time, Seabass was well primed for a nap, but I could tell he was jealous of all those psychotic kids. Next year, little buddy, next year.