‘The littlest big Halloween Carnival’ returns to benefit Solana Beach schools

By Jeanne Ferris

The littlest big Halloween Carnival is back. The scent of cotton candy is in the air and clever costumes are being created by fine young minds. This “fun”tastic event will be held at 780 Santa Victoria on Sunday, Oct. 21, from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. The proceeds from this 40 years-plus tradition benefit the children’s enrichment programs at both Solana Vista and Skyline Elementary Schools, hosting in alliance with the Solana Beach Foundation for Learning (SBFL).

An ongoing yearly challenge is the endangered enrichment program, which is referred to in the school curriculum as “wheel.” “Wheel” includes art, physical education, science and technology — subjects not available at most schools statewide. This includes supporting materials and teachers’ salaries.

Co-chairs extraordinaire, Michelle Becker and Halle Shilling, will once again be at the helm and are always assisted by a cast of volunteer parents and school staff. Breakfast is donated by Top of the Bagel, Solana Beach Coffee Company and Coast Pediatrics Del Mar.

“This year we have a photo booth,” says Becker. “Go in with a friend and get four colored candid photographs and two copies.”

“We also have Boom Blaster. This is a race to the finish with two players pumping really hard on plastic pumps,” adds Shilling. “The first one to pop their balloon wins.”

Check in for the Children’s Costume Contest is 11:30 a.m. A performance by the All Star Dance Academy is at 12 p.m. and the American Family Martial Arts demonstration is at 2 p.m. A live DJ from Xtreme Fun will emcee and provide dance music.

Available for purchase on the premises: Tony’s Jacal, Subway, Caffe La Bocca, Chief’s, Fish Market, Pizza Nova, California Pizza Kitchen, and the oh-so-yummy handcrafted bake sale.

Raffle prizes are varied: Norwood Music Studios, Woody’s, Zinc Café and The Habit — to name a few. The silent auction features Premier West Stables, Solana Beach Little League, North Shore Girls Softball, Forever Fit, Pure Barre and retail merchants such as David Alan Collection, Ceramic Designs, Mistral, Billabong, the Miscellany Shop and more.

The teachers and principals — in addition to working the carnival on their day off — donate themed outings. This makes for priceless childhood photographs and lifetime memories. Hot auction items are year-round personalized reserved parking at Solana Vista, front row seats for the beloved Solana Vista’s Third Grade Play, Skyline’s Talent Show and the 6th Grade Graduation ceremony (with reserved parking).

“My favorites are the costume contest and the cake walk,” said Natalie Feldman, 5th grader. “I also love collecting the game rings and turning them in for prizes.”

Game booths (assisted by student volunteers) include the cakewalk, crazy hair, face painting, soccer kick, the dunk tank, giant inflatable slides and the famous Haunted House assembled by Skyline’s 6th graders and the stamina of Mrs. Harrah (6th grade teacher).

Everyone except the family pooch (please, no dogs) is invited.

Please visit the SBFL website,, for volunteer and donation opportunities to help continue the legacy and high standards in the Solana Beach School District.