Halloween in paradise means you can expect a lot of ocean-themed festivities mixed in with the usual ghosts and ghouls! In the Upper Keys, there are three awesome events going on to get you into the spooky mood.

  1. Sat. Oct. 23, from 5 to 9 p.m. MarineLab Haunted Lagoon

We all love haunted houses and snorkeling, so why not put them together? Join MarineLab’s Haunted Lagoon at 51 Shoreland Dr., Key Largo this weekend to do just that. There will be fun on land and below the surface. Festivities include creepy critters, snacks and refreshments and of course the haunted snorkel through the emerald lagoon. 

Snorkel is open to all ages, but critters under 7 years old must be accompanied by an adult. Participants are encouraged to bring their own snorkel gear, but gear is available for any who need free of charge.

The event is free, and the snorkel is $5. Donations support MarineLab’s educational programming throughout the year, bringing schools and groups to learn about the Florida Keys coastal ecosystems.

  1. Saturday, Oct. 30, boat leaves at 1 p.m. Underwater pumpkin carving with Amoray Dive Shop 

After a year hiatus due to the pandemic, we’re pleased to see a locals’ favorite event (and possibly the Keysiest Halloween tradition yet) taking place. Amoray Dive Shop in Key Largo will host their annual Underwater Pumpkin Carving dives. 

Check-in starts at 12:30 p.m. and the boat leaves at 1. On the 2-tank trip, which costs $125, enjoy a shallow dive site with lots of sand for the main event. Draw your design on the boat or freehand it when underwater. Enjoy this Halloween activity while immersed in the most beautiful place in the world — the Florida Keys waters! As a bonus, watch the fish enjoy the pumpkin guts you carve out. 

Pumpkins are provided and will be pre-hollowed and weighted to ease descent. Pro tip: bring your own carving tools and think about your design in advance, in case you want to bring special tools. 

Register with the dive shop as the boat tends to fill up. Email [email protected] for more information.

  1. Saturday, Oct. 30, starting at 6 p.m. I.CARE Costume Contest 

To round out the weekend’s events, I.CARE will be hosting a costume contest to benefit the reef. It’s costumes for corals! Come dressed as your favorite underwater critter to earn a raffle ticket, or purchase one. Prizes include a Mares dive regulator for best costume, a Sea Kayak with paddle and lifejacket, two-night stay at Islander Resort, sunset cruise with Islander Girl Snorkel Tours, dinner at Ziggie and Mad Dog’s and more.

All proceeds from the raffle and silent auction benefit I.CARE and help them restore Islamorada’s corals. I.CARE is undertaking a massive, ecosystem-wide restoration effort and bringing the local community along with them.

The event is free and takes place at Florida Keys Brewing Co. at Morada Way. Enjoy live music, craft beers, great friends and some of the craziest ocean critter costumes around.

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Tiff Duong is a self-made mermaid who loves all things cheesy (romantic and dairy) and thrives in the 3 am hour. She believes in leaving it all on the field and has never met a (mis)adventure she didn't love.