Bobbing For Treats: A Twist On Classic Fun

Bobbing for apples is a classic Halloween party game. According to the Roman tradition, the conquering army merged their harvest celebrations with traditional Celtic festivals. The game may come from the Roman celebration of Pomona, the goddess of fruit trees, or from a Druidic rite associated with water (Wikipedia, 2023). Bobbing for apples has been around since at least the 14th century, when it was illustrated in a medieval manuscript (Martha Stewart, 2022).

The game involves floating apples in a tub or bucket of water, then trying to grab one using only your teeth. Today, bobbing for apples remains a popular activity at Halloween parties and festivals. It’s a fun fall tradition that brings a spooky seasonal twist.

Supplies Needed

Bobbing for apples is a classic fall game, but you’ll need a few key supplies to get started. The most important is a large tub or bucket, made of plastic or metal, that’s big enough to easily fit a participant’s head. Fill the tub about halfway with water. Next, you’ll need a collection of apples or other treats that float. According to Amazon, popular choices are apples, donuts, or cupcakes decorated to look like apples.

Make sure the treats are bite-sized and easy to grasp. For safety, be sure to remove any sticks or stems from apples before the game begins. Once you have a filled tub and floating treats, you’re ready for some bobbing fun!

Safety Tips

Apple bobbing can seem like harmless fun, but it’s important to supervise children so they stay safe. According to experts from, kids can drown in unattended buckets of water. Never leave children unsupervised around water, no matter how shallow it may seem. When bobbing for apples, align buckets close together so multiple kids can be watched at once.

To avoid the risk of dunking heads underwater, use your hands instead of your mouth to grab apples. This prevents unwanted slips or falls. The GoodRX health site also cautions that illnesses like the flu may spread when sick children share buckets of apples and water. Disinfecting supplies between each use can help reduce health risks.

Finally, the Escalon Times suggests that adults monitor apple bobbing games and ensure buckets or tubs aren’t too deep. Use only a few inches of water, so if a child accidentally falls in, no part of their head goes underwater. Follow basic common sense safety measures for a fun and safer game.

Fun Alternatives to Apples

Apples may be the classic choice for bobbing, but there are many fun alternatives you can use to liven up this game. Here are some delicious ideas:

Candy like lollipops and jelly beans are a sweet treat to fish out of the water. Just be sure to remove any wrappers first! Lollipops with stems make convenient built-in handles that are easy for kids to grab (Carli, 2020).

Mini donuts and cookies float well and add variety. Floating cookies like Oreos or pumpkin sugar cookies bring fall flavors to this game. The hole in the center of donuts provides a nice handle for grabbing (Butler, 2015).

Popsicles make a refreshing, icy treat to fish out on warm fall days. Just be sure to use popsicles without sticks to avoid injuries. Round popsicles work best (Staton, 2021).

Creative Containers

Bobbing for apples doesn’t have to be limited to traditional metal buckets or tubs. Get creative with fun, unique containers to add an extra element of enjoyment to this classic game. Pumpkins, cauldrons, and baskets can all make for festive bobbing vessels.

Carve out mini or medium-sized pumpkins to create the perfect built-in bobbing buckets. Clean them out thoroughly and fill with water and apples. The curved shape makes bobbing a bit trickier and more entertaining. Display your carved pumpkin buckets on a table or benches during your event for easy access.

Metal cauldrons evoke a delightfully spooky vibe and work great for bobbing. Look for inexpensive cauldrons at party or Halloween stores to use year after year. Fill with water and apples, being careful not to overfill. Place on a small stand or blocks to bring the cauldron up to a comfortable bobbing height.

Woven baskets lined with plastic sheeting can also make unique bobbing containers. Look for small or medium baskets that will fit apples comfortably without overcrowding. Make sure to line thoroughly with plastic and test for leaks before filling up. Arrange creatively along with your other bobbing options.

Get inspired browsing sites like Etsy for creative handmade buckets tailored just for bobbing fun. Consider a colorful woven bucket with handles ( or a classic galvanized tub ( The containers you choose can add lots of festive flair.

Outdoor Fun

One way to put a fun twist on classic apple bobbing is to take the game outside. You can hang apples from tree branches or a makeshift structure to create an outdoor apple bobbing station. The fresh air and change of scenery gives the game a whole new feel. According to this Pinterest board, hanging apples from a tree is a great way to set up an outdoor bobbing station.

Make sure to set up the bobbing station in an open area with plenty of space for participants to line up. Fill buckets or tubs with water and position them under the hanging apples. To hang the apples, tie some fishing line or string around the stem and attach to the tree branch. You can hang apples at varying heights for more of a challenge. Make sure to keep a towel nearby for drips and spills.

Taking apple bobbing outside also allows for larger groups to participate together. Set up multiple stations around the yard to prevent long lines. Outdoor bobbing is also more suitable for adults and older kids who won’t require as much supervision. Just be sure to keep an eye on the set up if young children are around. With a few simple supplies, you can transform your yard into an old-fashioned carnival complete with apple bobbing!

Party Games

One way to put a twist on traditional apple bobbing is to turn it into fun party games and relay races. You can divide guests into teams and have them compete in challenges and contests with a bobbing twist. Some ideas include:

Bobbing Relay Race – Set up multiple tubs filled with treats for bobbing. Teams line up and each player bobs for one treat, then runs and tags the next player to take a turn. The first team to get all players across wins!

Bobbing Challenge – See who can retrieve the most treats with their mouths in a set time. Give players 30 seconds to 1 minute to bob as many goodies as possible. The player who bobs the most wins a prize!

Bobbing Candy Fishing – Tie treats onto strings and let guests ‘fish’ for them by bobbing with their hands behind their backs. See who can get the most treats in a set time. Get creative with the strings – hang them at different heights or angles to increase the fun and challenge.

These party games and contests put a fun, competitive spin on traditional bobbing. Set up multiple stations so more guests can participate at once. Offer fun prizes like candy, baked goods, or small toys to amp up the excitement!

Prizes and Goodies

Rather than old, boring apples, toss various candy, toys and other fun treats into the buckets for extra excitement. Small plush animals, plastic vampire fangs, mini Nerf guns, and Halloween bracelets all make for thrilling prizes. For an adult party, fill the buckets with mini alcohol bottles or small gift cards for local restaurants and businesses. Candy like mini chocolate bars, lollipops, gummies, licorice, and Jolly Ranchers please any age group. Check out some creative Halloween candy bowl ideas at to spark inspiration. Get creative with the prizes – incorporate variety, themes, and plenty of surprises to keep the crowd entertained.

Spooky Twists

To really up the spooky factor, add some ghoulish details! Dry ice added to the water will give an eerie mist. Black or orange food coloring can turn the water creepy colors. Floating fake eyeballs, plastic spiders or severed fingers will make kids squeal as they fish around for treats. Hang spooky decorations and Halloween lights around the area. Play Halloween music or scary sound effects in the background. Encourage kids to dress in costume while they bob.

According to Wikipedia, apple bobbing has long been associated with Halloween.


Bobbing for treats is a fun twist on the classic apple bobbing game that kids of all ages can enjoy. With creative containers, fun prizes, and spooky twists, you can turn this classic fall party game into something new and exciting. The important thing is to use common sense safety tips, provide proper supervision, and let the fun begin! Just be sure to have towels handy for drying off smiling faces. We hope these ideas have sparked your creativity. Wishing you a frightfully fun time bobbing for treats this Halloween season. Happy haunting!

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