At Steff's Stuff, the front window sparkles with a Halloween tree.
The scariest thing about Longboat Key during the Halloween season might be that temperatures are still above 80 degrees on any given day, but there are still some classically spirited decorations up and down the Key. The Halloween decorations of Longboat Key are more silly than spooky, but friendly witches and smiling scarecrows are all part of the fun, too.
The southern third of Longboat Key, from the entrance to the island until about Turtle Coffee Bar, is modestly spooky.
A few neighbors put out decorations that you might miss if you blink on the way by, like the skeleton in the yard at 680 Halyard Lane. The benevolent bones are seated in the front-yard chair — seems like someone spent too long in the sun.
Down Gulf of Mexico Drive, there's a house in Buttonwood Harbor with happy haunts set back from the street at 630 Buttonwood Drive. Like many of Longboat Key's decorations, these are more silly than spooky, with an open-mouthed ghost, a grinning vampire and a smiling witch.
From about Turtle Coffee Bar to the Spanish Main neighborhood is a smorgasbord of spooks.
In Gulf Shores, number 96 is a showstopper. The little porch is decked out with garland, pumpkins and even a manatee who looks ready to go trick-or-treating. At night, the pumpkins dangling from the gutter pipe glow, and there's a lantern hanging from the number to guide you where to go.
The titular Stephanie Claussen of Steff's Stuff has decorated her store's front window at 5380 Gulf of Mexico Drive with a white tree that might be mistaken as a bit of premature Christmas cheer before you take a peek at what's dangling on its boughs — multicolored plastic skeletons. Also in the window are pumpkins and candy-corn-colored candles.
St. Judes Drive North is a hotbed of haunts. A grimacing skeleton in fluttering robes welcomes you to the street at 752 St. Judes Drive North, where a creepy clown guards the mailbox and a few dearly departed are trying to come back up through the soil. At 780 St. Judes Drive North, a girl swings on the tree in the front yard, but judging by her hollow sockets and the grimace on her face, she probably doesn't play well with others.
836 and 828 Spanish Drive North are next-door neighbors who share a mailbox stand and a taste for trinkets. The mail carrier is welcomed by a friendly witch, and both houses are decorated with smirking ghosts and pumpkins and smiling scarecrows.
Longbeach Village is where you'll find the most festive facades on the north end of Longboat Key.
At 650 Cedar St., the residents found a new use for scarecrows — trying to scare away reckless drivers on their street. A row of scarecrows trim the edge of the yard and flank a sign reminding drivers to slow down in the neighborhood.
On Russell Street, there are a pair of houses with nautical decor. At _, there's a mermaid skeleton hanging from a palm tree that's surrounded by pumpkins at its base — combining classic fall decor with Floridian flair.