KEY LARGO, Florida Keys — Divers interested in participating in the 25th annual Underwater Pumpkin Carving Contest Saturday, Oct. 28, should pack carving tools along with their dive gear for the quirky event in Key Largo waters.
Crafty carvers are to descend 30 feet beneath the surface in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.
Their task: transform the naturally buoyant pumpkins into masterful sculptures incorporating the theme of “Mermaids and Sailors” — or, if they prefer, carve playful sea creatures or traditional jack-o’-lanterns’ toothy grins.
As dive knives pare away stringy shreds of pumpkin flesh, quick-swimming reef fish typically dart in for a closer look and a nibble before the tidbits float away.
Divers can join in to celebrate the fall harvest fun with Amoray Dive Resort, located at mile marker 104.5 bayside.
The top pumpkin chosen by judges wins its carver a dive trip for two.
The entry fee is $99 per certified diver for the two-location dive including tanks, weights and a pumpkin ready for carving. For $69 per person, snorkelers are welcome to observe the underwater carvers in action and explore the reef. Check-in is at 12:30 p.m. and the boat departs at 1 p.m.
Space is limited, so contestant divers are encouraged to sign up early for the special pre-Halloween event.
Event information: amoray.com or 800-426-6729
Divers carve underwater to create frightfully fun Halloween pumpkins, much to the delight of reef fish seeking nibbles of pumpkin tidbits. Photo: Frazier Nivens
A team of divers carves a jack-o'-lantern with a skull and crossbones and a cutout of a shark during the 2022 Underwater Pumpkin carving contest. Photo: Frazier Nivens