Eden Pines will be ready for annual event

The streets of Eden Pines Colony in Big Pine Key are dark, and the air is filled with the sweet smell of shaving cream and chocolate on Halloween night. And, for a short moment in time, there were questions on whether the neighborhood, which was hit pretty hard during Hurricane Irma, would be willing, or even able, to host the annual Trick-or-Treating neighborhood party.

“The kids in our community, Big Pine Key and the neighboring islands, know Eden Pines as the yellow brick road from Oz, but our roads lead to buckets full of treats and loads of fun for families,” said Ann Haack, who has been decorating her Coconut Palm house for three decades of Halloweens. “It’s tradition, it’s classic, and it’s a great way to give our kids a brief break from everything the wicked witch Irma took.”

The residents in the neighborhood said no way were they going to let this storm take Halloween away from the kids.

“Although a part of me would like to forget about it,” she said, noting the mountain of candy she usually starts collecting in September is missing, “a part of me is reminded it is for the kids. They deserve the event.”

Donna Kajsasz, lead teller of First State Bank of the Florida Keys’ Big Pine Key branch, knows that this year the residents of Eden Pines needed a hand with candy donations. “We have been getting a few bags donated every day,” she said. “But they are going to need more candy than that.”

The local banks, fire department, and police force are usually sites for upset candy bellies the night of Halloween, passing out water and hot dogs to famished little ghosts and ghouls.

Desiree Perez, who works at Keys Federal Credit Union, was at The Home Depot and grabbed a few “candy” boxes and dropped them off to businesses in town. Along with First State Bank, Keys Federal Credit Union and Centennial Bank, there are also candy donation boxes at Coldwell Banker and The UPS Store. Perez plans on picking up the donations on Friday and will be distributing the candy over the weekend to the residents.

A fan-favorite, the haunted woods of Violet Drive, will be back, too. There will also be face painting and a bounce house, and DJ on the corner of Oleander and Fern starting at 5 p.m.

Haack added, “I am looking forward to this Halloween more than ever.” She will have a “Melting Pot” theme of cheese dip with Irma mixed in. In the past, she’s had everything from butcher shops or body parts shops, and even the shower scene from “Psycho.”


As for the piles of debris on the side of the road, Monroe County Commissioner George Neugent said it was the highest priority to be picked up before Halloween for the safety of the children. The residents were already thinking of ways to incorporate the mounds of debris into their decorations, but are much happier to not have to use them in their decorations. Passes started last Saturday for debris removal in Eden Pines Colony.





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