THE START OF OCTOBER... can mean a few things, from temperatures taking a sudden dip (fingers crossed) to a few more rain showers (fingers really crossed) to holiday decorations making their way onto store shelves (that's just pretty much the way it is, nowadays). A lot of people, though, choose to use the beginning of the month to plot what they'll wear at the close of the month, when hordes of haunted happy revelers'll be out in full fearsome regalia. But you don't need to construct a monster-themed costume or be a witch this year; you only need to fashion a pair of diaphanous, flitty-pretty butterfly wings, and you'll need to do it soon. Why? October is when the monarch butterflies wing their way into Central California and the Monterey Bay area, as part of their annual migration. There are certain places they favor -- Goleta and Pismo Beach are common stops on the butterflies' travel itinerary -- and then there is Butterfly Town, USA, also known as Pacific Grove. PG is so wild over its tiny tourists that it hosts a Butterfly Parade every early October, the better to get locals in the monarch mood and, to perhaps, alert any early butterflies that the time is nigh to take to the trees for a few months.
SATURDAY, OCT. 3... is the date of the Butterfly Parade and Butterfly Bazaar, and, yes, people do dress up in their sprightliest insect get-ups. There's also a Butterfly Ball that night, too, if you feel like dancing to mark the monarchs' return. Of course, if you want to know more about this fascinating migration, the life and journey of the monarch, and more, the Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History is your information HQ. There's a monarch gallery at the museum, which delves into the delightful orange-and-black-of-wing beauty, and there are tips on when and how and where to spy the superstars around PG, when their season arrives. And that season is definitely nigh: The butterflies do so love to winter near our Golden State shores. Yes, we used "winter" as a verb, like we're fancy or something, but some time spent admiring one of the fanciest of butterflies, in vast, tree-filling profusion, can make one get in touch with their loftier self.