Halloween no longer is a holiday. It's a long-lasting state of mind. You notice it creeping up on you around September as the urge to indulge in creepy books and movies is accompanied by a strong yearning for miniature chocolate bars and everything pumpkin spice.
If you came down with pumpkin fever in September, by now you may be checking items off your Halloween candy bucket list. Visited the local haunted house three times.? Check. Found an eye patch for your pirate costume? Check. Tried pumpkin soup but pushed it aside in favor of pumpkin bread, cookies and pie? Check.
Alright already, what can you add to the list by Halloween -- or what some people call All Hallow's Eve -- in Estero and Fort Myers? Take a look here.
Farmer Mike's U Pick Fall Festival and Haunted Corn Maze began in the middle of the month and will continue through October 31. Hours are: Friday, 6 to 9 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 12 to 6 p.m.; Tuesday, October 31, 4 to 7 p.m., which includes trick-or-treating.
1495 Smith Preserve Way, Naples 34102, (239) 262-0304
Ecofriendly Halloween activities are scheduled for October 28, 9:30 to 4:30 p.m. They include a costume contest, science show and spooky scavenger hunt. Mangrove restoration and a wildlife hospital are two of the Conservancy's major projects.
If you're living in Estero, October 31, 6 to 8 p.m., will be a good time to mingle with the ghouls while shopping at the Miromar Mall. Karaoke, a trunk-or-treat event involving specialty cars and a pet costume contest will be part of the fun.
2805 Colonial Boulevard, Fort Myers 33966, (239) 275-8487
Helping to solve a mystery during a "Halloween ghost train" ride on the Seminole Gulf Railroad sounds deliciously spooky. Participate in Murder on the Scottish Line, October 27 or 28, 6:30 p.m., or The Not So Great Train Robbery, October 29, 5:30 p.m. The 40-mile, 3 1/2-hour journey includes dinner.
2500 Main Street, Fort Myers Beach 33931, (239) 463-7333
Living in Fort Myers, you need to take a Salty Sam's cruise sometime. On October 21 and 31 the company will host murder mystery cruises on its Pieces of Eight pirate ship. The Halloween night cruise includes a masquerade ball.
If you are unfamiliar with the latest safe Halloween tradition, it involves a large group of parents setting up trick-or-treat stations in the decorated trunks of cars in parking lots. Our link connects to the Tip Junkie website, which offers an idea of what these events are like. Look around for opportunities like these possible choices:
Of course, on Halloween, there's a lot to be said for kicking back with appetizers, wine and a spine-tingling book or movie in a comfortable apartment community. It's a treat living at the Springs at Gulf Coast in Estero or the Springs at Six Mile Cypress in Fort Myers.