Florida Keys — Though the Florida Keys are known for individuality and quirkiness throughout the year, Halloween means extra fun and frivolity in the island chain — as well as lively hauntings both above and below the water’s surface.
For devilish divers who prefer their spookiness submerged, the annual Underwater Pumpkin Carving Contest is set for 8:30 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 24, hosted by Amy Slate’s Amoray Dive Resort, mile marker (MM) 104 bayside in Key Largo. The contest is open to all certified scuba divers and is slated for the morning dive. Buddy teams each receive a hollowed-out pumpkin that is to be turned into a jack-o-lantern. Sign up early, since space is limited. There is no contest entry fee, and the regular dive boat fee is $80 per diver for the two-tank dive. For information, call Amy Slate’s Amoray Dive Resort at 800-426-6729 or visit www.amoray.com.
Howl and squeal with delight during the free on-the-water excitement of “Haunted Robbie’s” (MM 77.5). Islamorada’s family-friendly Robbie’s Marina is to host spooky boat rides to the underworld plus a kids’ corner, costume contests, food and drink specials and more. Activities are scheduled 6-9 p.m. Thursday and Friday, Oct. 28-29. Call 305-664-9814 or visit www.robbies.com.
Step into Crane Point’s “Haunted Hammock,” expected to feature ghosts, ghouls, pirates, Bahamian spirits and haunted hayrides beginning at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 29. The beautiful 63-acre Crane Point Hammock, located at MM 50.5 bayside in Marathon, takes a turn for the terrifying with trails and spook houses planned to send chills down visitors’ spines. Entry fee is $5, with kids under 6 admitted free. Call 305-743-3900 or visit www.cranepoint.net/events.html.
Nights of ghoulish delight are planned for the annual Haunting of Fort Zachary Taylor, a Civil War–era fort on Key West’s Atlantic Ocean shore. The spooky celebration is set for 8-11 p.m. Oct. 22-25 and Oct. 29-31, with hours extending till midnight on Halloween. Admission to the haunting event is $13 per adult, $8 for kids and $10 for military members. Revelers also can don their most devilish gothic attire for the fort’s Vampire’s Ball, set for 8-11 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 23. In addition, tricks and treats for kids such as magic, balloons and clowns are planned for 5-7 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 24. Participating “spirits” can access the fort from an entrance on Southard Street past Thomas Street. For complete event information, visit www.hauntedkeywestfort.com.
Tens of thousands of revelers are expected in Key West during the island city’s annual Fantasy Fest masking and costuming celebration — to include a spook-tacular event for kids from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 31. The traditional Fantasy Fest Children’s Day is a family event featuring food, arts and crafts, games and a costume contest in Bayview Park, located at Truman Avenue and Eisenhower Drive. Call 305-292-8912 for more information.
For further information about events and accommodations throughout the Florida Keys & Key West, explore the Keys’ official website at www.fla-keys.com.