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Bobbing for Apples
Bobbing for apples is one of the oldest and most traditional Halloween games. It also, over the centuries, has developed many variations. All are similar in that they require very little preparation or materials. Here are two variations on bobbing for apples. We'll call them the wet and the dry versions.
Bobbing for apples the wet version
This is the most classic version of the game. You'll need to get a tub or similar container capable of holding water, some towels to dry the contestants off, and of course a good supply of apples. The first thing to do is to remove all stems and leaves from the apples. Next fill the tub with some apples and fill to within a few inches of the top with water.
Contestants take turns trying to retrieve an apple with only their mouth by placing their heads in the tub. As simple as this sounds it is quite tricky. Generally prizes are awarded to the first person who can successfully retrieve an apple. Other variations include awarding prizes to all who retrieve apples or to those who retrieve specially marked apples.
There are many ways to make this game more or less challenging. The use of smaller apples makes it easier; larger, harder. The larger and deeper the tub and the fewer the apples the more difficult it is to pin one. Harder apples are more difficult to bite than softer dessert varieties. The addition of rules such as you can only go after one particular apple also creates a more challenging game.
For a real challenge first fill the tub with apples and ice before adding water. This will surely wake the dullest competition.
Another fun version is the group bob. You'll need a very large tub and have everyone dive in at once. First one up with an apple wins.
Bobbing for apples, the dry version
For hydrophobes and/or those who would rather remain clean and dry there is another popular version of the game that doesn't involve bobbing. For this version you will again need apples, several lengths of string or twine, and a suitable place where you can hang apples from. Tie the string or twine to the stems of the apples and tie the other end to either a tree branch or a pole supported by a couple of ladders. The object is the same to retrieve an apple using only your mouth. Again, small, soft apples make the game easier and large firm ones harder. Group bobs can also be accomplished with this method as well. Simply tie more apples along the length of the pole or branch spaced far enough apart so contestants have room to maneuver.
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