Bob for Apples

Apple bobbing, more commonly known as "bobbing for apples," is a traditional Halloween game enjoyed by children of all ages. It requires nothing more than a large tub of water, enough apples to cover the surface, and a group of people willing to get their faces—and so much more—soaking wet. It's a lot of fun to play, and we'll show you how!


  1. Find a suitable tub. You can use a bucket, a cooler, anything big enough for at least one head to fit in. Place the tub on a table or cart that is strong enough to hold it when it is full of water. The top should be about waist-high to participants in the game.
  2. Fill tub with cool (not cold) water. Fill it about 3/4 full. Take care not to overfill so that water won't be sloshing and splashing out—much. Make sure that the water is not cold or hot.
    • If you're playing inside, place some towels at base of the tub so that the floor won't get wet.
  3. Float several apples in water. Put as many as will fit in your tub, but not so many that the apples don't move: you want a challenge, right?
  4. Select the first player. You are not allowed to use your hands for bobbing, so each player must put their hands behind their backs at all times.
  5. Say "Go". Each player must try to grab an apple in their teeth. Give them 20 seconds to do this and have the other players count "1000 one, 1000 two" while the player is dunking.
  6. Select the winner. The person who catches an apple in the quickest time is the winner.
  7. Clean up. Take a towel and dry off, and have fun!


  • If you really want to win, and you just don't care about getting super wet, here is what you need to do: hold your breath and push the apple all the way down to the bottom of the tub before attempting to bite it. The side can work too, but it is trickier!
  • To make the game harder, take the stems off the apples.
  • If you want to play a similar game but don't want to get wet, you can also hang apples from the ceiling with string and have players try to catch them without hands.
  • A tub filled with water is extremely heavy. Make sure you have some provision for transporting it back and forth.
  • If you want to vary the fruit, try other floating fruits, such as oranges, pears or peaches.
  • Consider variations to the game: The game can be made more challenging by putting fewer and larger apples in the tub that won't fit in your mouth easily. Use smaller and softer apples to make it easier for little children to have a go.
  • Provide towels for all players. Even the losers will be wet.
  • If allowed, wear goggles.
  • With small children, you can put a tub on the floor and let them bob while on their knees.
  • Between players, remove bitten apples from the tub and replace them with fresh ones. Or ask each player to take out his or her bitten apple at the end of each round.
  • Even if they lose, let them have an apple (particularly the one they tried to nab).
  • You can stick quarters in some of the apples.


  • Never bob for apples with braces, the front brackets could be torn off.
  • Do not allow sick people to play.
  • Always supervise children playing this. Do not let a child stick his or her head under the water for a long period of time.
  • Bear in mind that many germs can be passed from person to person through the water. Therefore, the tub of water that is full of apples is also full of germs! Keep in mind, also, that bobbing for apples is a centuries-old pastime, so the likelihood of you catching a horrible, face-eating disease and dropping dead is about as likely as Michael Meyers knocking on your door.
  • If you can't stand the thought of dunking your head into the dirty water, then bobbing for apples isn't for you.

Things You'll Need

  • Towels
  • Water
  • Apples (one per player)
  • Container such as a bucket, metallic tub, washing up bowl, large pot etc. - size needed will depend on whether the game is for children or for adults
  • Prizes

Related Articles

Sources and Citations

  • VideoJug. A video of children bobbing for apples. Additional source of information for article. Shared with permission and appreciation.
  • Open Site: Free Internet Encyclopedia Bob for Apples - additional information source

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