Cutler Bay Spooktacular showcases golf carts tricked out with goblins and ghouls

Skeleton golf carts, jack-o’-lantern golf carts and golf carts made of bloody zombie heads all paraded through Cutler Bay Friday in a neighborly competition to see which was the scariest one of all.

Locals spent weeks decorating their vehicles with goblins, ghosts and more for the town’s annual Halloween Spooktacular and golf-cart parade.

“My husband and I live very simple and boring lives,” said Mirna Lima, standing next to her cart, which was elaborately decorated with skeletal remains and LED lights. “We love Halloween and showing our neighbors that our golf cart is the scariest is the most excitement we get.”

Cutler Bay is known for being a golf cart town. Many residents use them to travel short distances.

The town is home to many low-income families. Despite their economic struggles, parade participants went all out this year.

The Halloween Spooktacular and golf cart parade started out as just a haunted house for children to enjoy. Over the years, the parks and recreation department has added more activities and attractions to draw more people.

Besides the golf cart parade, the event also has a haunted house, a costume contest and a trunk or treat, which offers a safer alternative to trick-or-treating where kids collect candy in a parking lot by visiting car trunks, rather than crossing the streets to knock on doors.

The golf cart parade was added four years ago with only a few participants. When people from all over Miami started to show up to the event, residents made it their mission to outshine their neighbors.

Golf cart parade participants presenting their vehicles in the parade (Gabriela Gutierrez-Gallo/SFMN)

This year’s record-breaking turnout sparked an unofficial competition between golf cart parade participants for the best decorations and getting the most attention.

Kimberly Thomas of the Cutler Bay parks and recreation department said the town has hosted the Halloween Spooktacular for 10 years, and this year’s turnout was completely unexpected.

“People are taking this parade very seriously this year,” she said. “It looks like most of the participants have paid a lot of money to make their golf carts look spooky.”

Some participants added more decorations to their golf carts once they saw more professional-looking vehicles.

Mirna Lima’s husband Sergio was proudly driving the couple’s golf cart and demonstrating the flickering LED lights on the bottom, which changed colors from blue to pink to green and more.

“We spent a large chunk of our stimulus checks on these decorations,” he said with a laugh. “My motto is ‘Go Big or Go Home.’ ”

Mary Franceschi has lived in Cutler Bay for nine years and has attended every Spooktacular event.

“I’ve never seen anything like this before,” she said. “There is usually only one line of golf carts on the soccer field waiting to start moving in the parade but now there are 10 lines of golf carts.”

Gabriela Gutierrez-Gallo is a senior at Florida International University majoring in communications with a concentration in journalism and a minor in social media and e-marketing. Her interests include film history, writing, and photography.