Two-person teams attempt to carve pumpkins worthy of praise and prizes. Image: Bob Care

Days and nights of ghoulish delight are planned for the 13th Annual Haunting of Fort Zachary Taylor, a Civil War-era fort beside Key West's Atlantic Ocean shore.

FLORIDA KEYS — Halloween 2014 brings mischief to the Florida Keys with eerie events scheduled from the continental United States' southernmost city, Key West, to the island chain's northernmost spot in Key Largo.

Among the haunting highlights is the Underwater Pumpkin Carving Contest. Divers can earn prizes for subsea slicing during the annual challenge, which is set for 8:30 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 19, hosted by Amy Slate's Amoray Dive Resort at mile marker (MM) 104.5 bayside in Key Largo. Buddy teams can creatively carve hollowed-out pumpkins at depths of 30 feet in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. The 2014 pumpkin carving theme is "Your Favorite Fish."

The fee is $85 per diver for the two-tank, two-location dive including tanks, pumpkins, weights and snorkel equipment. However, divers must bring their own carving tools. Space is limited so divers are encouraged to sign up early. For information, visit or call Amy Slate's Amoray Dive Resort at 800-426-6729.

Explorers' hair will likely stand on end while they weave through the Matecumbe Massacre Maze hosted at Robbie's Marina, MM 77.5 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 30. Islamorada's family-friendly marina is to stage a free "spook-tacular" show for costumed ghouls age 12 and under. Attractions include a kids' corner, candy, fun, food and refreshments. Starting at 7:30 p.m. the excitement amps up for older spirits with a costume contest, food and beverage specials. A live band is to play throughout the night's events. Visit or call 305-664-8070.

In the Middle Keys, Crane Point's Haunted House inhabited by ghosts, ghouls and freaky characters will set a spooky tone for the year's eeriest holiday. The fright-fest begins at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 30, at the 63-acre Crane Point Hammock, located at MM 50.5 bayside in Marathon, and is free to the public. The entrance of the Haunted House is at the center of the property from the right-of-way. Visit or call 305-743-3900.

From Friday, Oct. 17, through Sunday, Oct. 26, Key West will be filled with costumed partygoers for the city's annual Fantasy Fest masking and costuming extravaganza. The 2014 festival is themed "Animeted Dreams & Adventures" and includes 10 days of masquerade parties, costume contests and uninhibited festivities, all climaxing in an epic grand parade Saturday, Oct. 25.

The festival's traditional Children's Day offers food, games, arts and crafts as well as a costume contest. The family fun takes place Sunday, Oct. 26, from noon to 5 p.m. at the island's Bayview Park at Truman Avenue and Eisenhower Drive. For Fantasy Fest information, visit For Children's Day details, call 305-292-8912.

Days and nights of ghoulish delight are planned for the 13th Annual Haunting of Fort Zachary Taylor, a Civil War-era fort beside Key West's Atlantic Ocean shore. This year three spooky sections of the enchanted citadel will be the stage for live "shows," treating visitors to otherworldly celebrations not suitable for mere mortals. Events will take place Oct. 17-19, 23-24, 26 and 30-31, and attendees are encouraged to don devilish costumes. Tricks and treats for the little ones are planned for Kid's Day, scheduled Sunday, Oct. 19, from 5-7 p.m.

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

Florida Keys event calendar:
Florida Keys visitor information:
or 1-800-FLA-KEYS

Social: FacebookTwitterKeysVoices.comYouTube

Posted On: September 23, 2014


Read full article at Monroe County Tourist Development Council Website