"Weird" is a relative term in the Florida Keys. So, the sight of a bunch of people in dive suits popping out of the ocean with carved jack-o'-lanterns in hand is, well, almost normal.
They've been doing this around Halloween for the past five or six years at the Amoray Dive Resort in Key Largo. And, apparently, they're getting better at it. When they started the annual underwater carving contest, the pumpkins went in whole. But just try to cut a perfect eyehole with slimy pumpkin innards clouding up around your dive mask.
"It was very messy," said Amy Slate, the resort's owner.
Now the divers go in with pre-gutted pumpkins. The annual underwater team photos for the contest are priceless. Divers have put goggles, hats and sunglasses on their pumpkins. There have been shots of people administering oxygen to their jack-o'-lanterns, although it is hard to say whether that does them any good.
Even though all this is pretty tame stuff for the boa-wearing, goofy-sunglasses crowd above the surface, it draws some puzzled glances down below.
"The fish," Slate said, "are curious."
-- Manuel Roig-Franzia