Good Gourd

'Summerween' Combines Halloween and Coastal Culture. It's Perfect for Sarasota.

Amid the palms and beach sunsets, this Florida twist on Halloween decor can still spook.

By Kim Doleatto October 13, 2023

Hand-painted craft pumpkins by local artist Shannon Kirsten.

Hand-painted craft pumpkins by local artist Shannon Kirsten.

Just because it's hot and sunny here in Florida on Friday the 13th and we're probably in for a beachy, balmy Halloween doesn't mean the season can't still spook. But how do you get the look while still honoring the spirit of the holiday?

The answer is Summerween. 

Among the sun and sand, skeletons and ghosts can still reign during Summerween—think surfboard grave markers and cryptic cabanas. So grab your sunscreen and witch hat, and get ready for a tropical trick-or-treat with coastal Halloween ideas that show off just how mermaids can hold hands with mummies and flamingos can be freaky.

Carving Station

Tropical jack o' lanterns.

Image: Gigi Ortwein

Sure, pumpkins rule on Oct. 31, but these tropical fruit jack o' lanterns can offer that same ghoulish glow. And seriously, wouldn’t you rather chomp on watermelon and pineapple, anyway? Click here for the DIY instructions. 

Decorative Gourd Season

If you can't bear to go without that pumpkin spice, check out these handpainted pumpkins by local artist Shannon Kirsten. 


Skeletons are to Halloween what tinsel is to Christmas trees, and they can still spook with a coastal theme. Set them up in a traditional outdoor space—like next to the pool or on the porch—for a funny spin. You can find a variety of them at places like Lowes.

Part of Your World

Mermaid skeleton

You don't have to stop at human skeletons; mermaids can also join in. Buy the one pictured above here

Let's Flamingle

Flamingo skeleton

Flamingos are oh-so-Florida—even after death. Click here to buy the one above.

Skeletal flamingoes

Image: Kim Doleatto

Or buy these black-and-white skeletal buddies here

Under the Sea

Fish skeleton

Feeling fishy? Go coastal with a fish skeleton you can buy here

Chomp, Chomp

And what's more Florida than alligators? Buy this one here.

Get a Grip

Inflatable tentacles

Finally, these octopus tentacles hearken back to high seas and pirate tales. Check them out here.

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