Don’t be frightened if you see creatures dressed in black, emerging from the murky depths, wearing masks and brandishing knives. It’s just your local dive shop’s annual Underwater Pumpkin Carving Contest!
Underwater pumpkin carving combines the fun of diving with the challenge of keeping a buoyant object underwater (while using sharp implements). It also provides an opportunity for diving buddies and shore support to get to know one another. Besides, who doesn’t love pumpkins?
How Does Underwater Pumpkin Carving Work?
We asked M Essential’s Carolyn Niederhauser, who will compete in her second underwater pumpkin carving contest this year. “Divers and their buddies arrive at the dive site with their pumpkins, carving tools and weights,” she said. “They scoop out their pumpkins, put on diving gear and head for the water. And that’s where things get interesting!”
Carolyn offers these tips and tricks:
- Neutral buoyancy is not your objective. Make sure you and your pumpkin have the right diving gear, like M Essentials Ankl Weights, to keep you both on the bottom.
- Weight your tools so they don’t float to the surface—but bring a backup dive knife, just in case.
- Practice above water. Carve a pumpkin or two a few days before the event. If you need some ideas, there are hundreds of pumpkin patterns available online. Stick to the simple ones—you won’t have a pattern on your underwater pumpkin. And don’t toss the seeds—turn them into a delicious, healthy snack. Here’s how to bake pumpkin seeds.
- If the water is cold, make sure you can grip your knife safely while wearing gloves.
- Bring the right tools. M Essentials Samish Stiletto Tip Dive Knife and Blakely Sheepsfoot Dive Knife are perfect for pumpkin carving.
Underwater Pumpkin Carving Rules
Charlynn Andrews owns Gone Diving in Bellingham, just down the street from M Essentials headquarters. This Halloween she’ll host the shop’s seventh annual Underwater Pumpkin Carving Contest. “It’s a fun event for divers and non-divers of all ages,” said Charlynn. “We have a potluck and all non-divers get to vote on the pumpkins. We award prizes for categories like lamest, most creative and most aquatic pumpkin. Everyone looks forward to this event!”
Gone Diving’s rules for underwater pumpkin carving:
- No pre-carving your pumpkin and planting it at the dive site before the event!
- BYOBP (Bring Your Own Blank Pumpkin). No pre-designed or scored pumpkins allowed.
- Scoop out the inside before you enter the water. We don’t want to introduce fish to pumpkin pulp.
- You have one hour to scoop out the pumpkin, draw a design if you wish, put on diving gear, carve and get back to shore.
- Stay safe! Make sure your partner knows if and where you’re carrying extra weight.
Underwater Pumpkin Carving is Fun For All
Divers say the best part of underwater pumpkin carving is the opportunity to get their friends and families involved with their favorite activity. They get do a quick dive and challenge themselves with something different. Many find new dive buddies. And if you’re new to a town, it can be a great ice-breaking activity for joining a dive community.
For shore support, it’s a chance to have fun while waiting for their divers. The kids love the excitement, as well as the scary and silly pumpkins. For grownups, meeting new folks, munching on donuts, sharing potluck goodies, and voting on the pumpkins make it an event to look forward to each year.
Whether you’re on shore or on the bottom, an underwater pumpkin carving contest is a perfect way to celebrate Halloween, meet new divers and learn more about your local dive community.
Does Your Local Dive Shop Host a Contest?
If you’re looking for some fall underwater fun, contact your local dive shop. Chances are, they sponsor an underwater pumpkin carving contest. Stop in and pick up your supplies: a new dive knife, Ankl Weights and post-dive dive gear care: BC Life Cleaner & Conditioner, Wetsuit and Drysuit Cleaner, or Zip Care Liquid Zipper Cleaner & Lubricant. You’ll find everything you need for a successful underwater pumpkin carving experience!