Bobbing for apples is a game that has been around for centuries. An autumn tradition often associated with Halloween and other fall festivals, the concept of bobbing for apples is, according to, rooted more in romance than Halloween trickery.

As a British courting ritual, young ladies and their potential suitors would vie for certain apples to land a potential mate. Eventually, the tradition faded into obscurity. But apple bobbing was reinvented in the Americas when  immigrants introduced the game to children and adults during Halloween parties.

Recently, apple bobbing has fallen out of favor again, with parents lamenting the unsanitary conditions and potential spread of germs, not to mention the hazard of drowning. Thankfully, there are various alternatives to apple bobbing that can still make for an exciting Halloween game. 

Hanging Apples

Rather than putting apples in a barrel full of water to float, tie strings to the stems. Then hang each individual apple to a clothesline. Without using their hands, participants must eat the majority of the apple of their choosing. Apples can be replaced with other treats, such as doughnuts.

Fishing for Apples

Attach a magnet to an end of string tied to a stick to make a fishing rod of sorts. Cut out paper apples and adhere something metallic to the cut-outs, such as paper clips. Kids take chances fishing out their selections. Each cut-out earns players a prize.

Candy Catch

Participants line up holding a small receptacle, such as a cone-shaped party hat turned upside down or a small plastic pumpkin. While an adult tosses candy into the air, the children try to catch it in their containers.

Apple Toss

As a variation on a beanbag game or ring toss activity, players can aim a plastic apple or pumpkin into a hole or barrel. Red ping pong balls tossed into canning jars or plastic cups can work as well.

Bobbing Twist

Party hosts can still float apples in a bucket of water, having participants bob in a different way. They can try to scoop apples out with a small spoon or two chopsticks. Let imaginations reign supreme while keeping germs out of the apples.