Spooky Specters to Haunt Halloween in the Florida Keys
FLORIDA KEYS -- Quirky and laidback year-round, the Florida Keys turn to mischievous mayhem on Halloween. Hauntings take place throughout the island chain from Key Largo all the way down to mile marker (MM) 0 in Key West, the southernmost city in the continental United States.
Brave divers can earn prizes for creating the most horrific jack-o-lantern during the annual Underwater Pumpkin Carving Contest set for 8:30 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 19. Hosted by Amy Slate's Amoray Dive Resort, MM 104.5 bayside in Key Largo, the contest is open to all certified scuba divers. Buddy teams each receive a hollowed-out pumpkin to turn into a scary creation. The fee is $85 per diver for the two-tank, two-location dive, and teams are encouraged to sign up early since space is limited. For details, visit www.amoray.com. or call 800-426-6729.
Howl and squeal with gusto during the free, on- and off-the-water excitement of Haunted Robbie's (MM 77.5) set for Thursday, Oct. 17. Islamorada's family-friendly marina is to host a 5:30-7 p.m. spook-tacular show for costumed ghouls age 12 and under. Attractions include a kids' corner, candy, fun, food and refreshments. Starting at 7 p.m. the excitement amps up for older spirits with harrowing canal rides, a scary maze haunted by ghostly pirates and denizens of neighboring Indian Key, food, wine tastings and more. Visit www.robbies.com or call 305-664-8070.
For Halloween happenings in the Middle Keys, venture into Crane Point's Haunted Hammock, inhabited by ghosts, ghouls and pirates starting at 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 31.The beautiful 63-acre Crane Point Hammock, located at MM 50.5 bayside in Marathon, turns into a spooky haunted habitat. Geared toward youngsters age 12 and under, the fright-filled fun is free to the public. Visit www.cranepoint.net or call 305-743-3900.
Also Oct. 31, costumed goblins and ghouls can trick or treat at Marathon's outdoor Gulfside Village shopping plaza, 5800 Overseas Highway. The annual community Halloween party is open to the public from 5:30 to 7 p.m. with refreshments and treats for children, parents and grandparents to enjoy.
Days and nights of ghoulish delight are planned for the annual Haunting of Fort Zachary Taylor, a Civil War-era fort beside Key West's Atlantic Ocean shore. Live "shows" are set for Oct. 18-20, 24-25, 27 and 30-31, treating visitors to otherworldly celebrations not suitable for mere mortals. Attendees are encouraged to don devilish costumes Oct. 19 for the Vampires Ball beginning at 8 p.m., and tricks and treats for the little ones are planned for Kid's Day, scheduled 5-7 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 20. Ghost-seekers can access Fort Taylor and its surrounding state park from an entrance on Southard Street past Thomas Street. Kid's Day entry is free with park admission. Admission to the haunting is $13 per adult, $10 for military personnel, $8 for kids and free for children under age 5. Hours are 8-11 p.m. (midnight on Halloween). Learn more at www.hauntedkeywestfort.com.
Revelers can unleash hidden heroics or devious alter egos Friday, Oct. 18, through Sunday, Oct. 27, during Key West's annual Fantasy Fest celebration. The 2013 festival includes 10 days of masquerade balls, costume contests, parties and uninhibited escapades, all climaxing in an epic grand parade Saturday, Oct. 26. The traditional Children's Day offers food, games, arts and crafts as well as a costume contest. The family fun takes place Sunday, Oct. 27, from noon to 5 p.m. in the island's Bayview Park at Truman Avenue and Eisenhower Drive. For Fantasy Fest information, visit www.fantasyfest.com. For Children's Day details, call 305-292-8912.
Florida Keys event calendar: www.fla-keys.com/calendarofevents/
Florida Keys visitor information: www.fla-keys.com or 1-800-FLA-KEYS
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