Ralphael Weitzman, 9, and Alex Joy, 7, appraise dozens of pumpkins before declaring their favorites at the MARC pumpkin patch, open daily 9 a.m. to 6:45 p.m.. MANDY MILES/Keys Weekly

Daytime temps in Key West felt like 93 degrees this week, but fall officially descended on Seminary Street, where the MARC Pumpkin Patch opened Sept. 30.

From munchkins to monsters, orange orbs and other gourds of all sizes — and colors, even — are piled high on pallets, and priced according to size. Not all pumpkins are orange, and the Monroe Association for Remarkable Citizens has an assortment of white “ghost pumpkins,” as well as kabocha, which look like light green pumpkins, but are actually a type of squash. There’s also a selection of the oblong gourds that fill fall cornucopias as well as “knucklehead” pumpkins that are intentionally bred to have warts, or bumps, all over the skin for a creepy look.

“We wanted something for everyone’s taste, style and budget,” MARC plant store manager Dominick Fornaro told the Keys Weekly. “This is the 12th year we’ve done it, and it’s always been a good time for everyone, although this year we’ll be ensuring safe social distancing and enforcing our mask requirement.”

The organization — which provides employment, activities, job training and life skills to developmentally disabled adults — ordered 8,005 pumpkins for this year’s patch, which will be open daily from 9 a.m. to 6:45 p.m. “until they’re all sold, or until Halloween, whichever comes first,” Fornaro said.

Pumpkin prices start at 50 cents for the munchkins — roughly the size of a baseball — and go up to $25 for the monsters.

Forty or so local businesses will host a ‘mask-querade’ event for Halloween trick-or-treating from 5 to 8:30 p.m. on Oct. 31 at the Coffee Butler Amphitheater at Key West’s Truman Waterfront. CONTRIBUTED

Tricks & treats at Truman Waterfront

COVID concerns have dominated discussions about Halloween trick-or-treating this year in the Southernmost City, but a group of local businesses will host a “Mask-querade” event at the Coffee Butler Amphitheater from 5 to 8:30 p.m. on Oct. 31.

“So far we have about 40 local businesses committed to setting up and decorating socially distanced tables throughout the amphitheater, where costumed kids 13 and younger can trick-or-treat at each table,” said Paul Menta, owner of Key West’s First Legal Rum Distillery and co-founder of the new Mom & Pop Key West group of small business owners. 

Kids’ lives have been interrupted and thrown into upheaval for the past six months, “and so many of them haven’t complained and haven’t had a say in what’s happening,” Menta said. “They deserve this.”

The event is free, but tickets will be available online Oct. 10 that will designate various start times for groups of kids to avoid overcrowding, Menta said.

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