Pumpkin Carving Templates: Creatures of the Deep Ocean


This Halloween, “trick or treat” yourself with these pumpkin carving templates, featuring a few of the critters we’ve encountered during our deep-ocean dives. From a spooktacular sea star to a ghost shark, you’re sure to find something to carve that will have you thinking, “life is gourd.”

Download all of the designs here (or choose your favorite from below). Then simply print the pattern, cut it out, and get to carving.

After you’ve finished your carving masterpiece, be sure to share your pumpkin photos and tag NOAA Ocean Exploration. You can find us on Facebook , Instagram , and Twitter . After all, if you’ve got it, you might as well “haunt” it!

Disclaimer: These templates may be difficult for novice carvers and are best suited for those carvers with more advanced skills. Note that pumpkin carving may require the use of knives or other sharp objects. Please carefully supervise children participating in pumpkin carving.


CREEP It Real: Bobtail Squid

The inspiration for this template is a bobtail squid seen during the Windows to the Deep 2018 expedition. These animals belong to the cephalopod order Sepiolida. Because of their rounded bodies, sepiolids are generally known as "bobtail squids," but recent DNA evidence suggests that they are actually not closely related to squids at all.

Download the bobtail squid pumpkin carving template (pdf, 168 KB).


GHOST Shark (aka, Chimaera)

Chimaeras have a variety of common names, including some very Halloween-appropriate names like ghost shark and rat fish! They are most closely related to sharks, although their evolutionary lineage branched off from sharks nearly 400 million years ago, and they have remained an isolated group ever since. Like sharks, chimaeras are cartilaginous and have no real bones. This pumpkin carving template is based on a chimaera seen in the Gulf of Mexico.

Download the chimaera pumpkin carving template (pdf, 122 KB).


Darwin’s SLIMEhead

The Darwin's slimehead is a type of roughy, closely related to the orange roughy. They are also known as the “big roughy.” Carve this Darwin’s slimehead and you’ll be recreating a fish seen during a Gulf of Mexico 2017 dive at an area informally called “Okeanos Ridge,” as it was first mapped by NOAA Ocean Exploration via NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer in 2012.

Download the Darwin’s slimehead pumpkin carving template (pdf, 130 KB).


Get KRAKEN: Octopus

The kraken is a mythical cephalopod-like sea monster of giant size that, legend has it, could take down an entire ship with its ginormous tentacles. Thankfully, when we encounter an octopus in our deep-ocean exploration, they are far from frightening! This pumpkin carving template was inspired by an octopus seen while diving on Rose Atoll.

Download the octopus pumpkin carving template (130 KB).


A SCARE Is Born: Sea Star

Did you know that instead of blood, sea stars have a circulatory system made up primarily of seawater? Boo! Carve this not-so-scary sea star based on an animal seen about 30 miles south of the Florida Keys.

Download the sea star pumpkin carving template (144 KB).


All of these pumpkin carving templates are based on real animals, pictured here, that we have seen during dives to explore the depths of our ocean. While it is cold, dark, and largely unknown to us, the deep ocean is much more fascinating than it is scary. And it plays a critical role in all of our lives. The more we explore, the better we can understand this underwater realm and ensure that it is effectively managed and protected... and there’s nothing frightening about that!

We owe our inspiration for these templates to NOAA Education. Have more pumpkins to carve? Check out their templates.

Happy Halloween!