It’s nearly Halloween, and that means it’s time for all sorts of fun spooky activities. One of these tried and true holiday classics is bobbing for apples. Now, this is usually a relatively safe activity, but it can be dangerous at times. Let’s talk about some of the risks.

The Dangers of Bobbing for Apples

When it comes to Halloween parties, bobbing for apples is a pretty solid mainstay. Chances are, if you’ve ever been to a Halloween party, you’ve probably bobbed for apples at one time or another. Now, we’re not trying to turn everyone into a worrywart. We just want you to be prepared, just in case danger presents itself.

Fun is fun. That said, we’ve talked about unexpected drowning hazards in the past. Believe it or not, it only takes a few inches of water for a person to drown. That goes double for toddlers and babies who may not have full control of their bodies yet. In fact, according to the CDC, drowning is the principle cause of death for children under the age of four.


When there’s a bucket filled with liquid, parents and guardians should stay extra vigilant. Don’t be lulled into a false sense of security. Active supervision will prevent little ones from wandering into a potentially dangerous situation.

Beyond Drowning Danger

Besides the danger of an unattended body of water, there are other hazards that can come from bobbing for apples. For one thing, there are diseases and illnesses to worry about. There are plenty of waterborne pathogens and bacteria that may be present in the water. These can be transmitted from the mouths of other children.

When playing the game, kids submerge their open mouths into the water and bite at various pieces of fruit. In this way, the areas of a bobber’s nose, mouth and eyes can be particularly vulnerable to potential infection. In this way, it is quite possible for a participant to catch the common cold or even something worse like E.coli, Salmonella or even crypto. Flu season is rapidly approaching and this water-based game is an easy way to spread the illness.

Overhydration: Can You Drink Too Much Water?

Beyond this, it is possible for kids to scratch their eyes on the sharp stems of the apples. Plunging into the cold water, it is hard to know what lays just under the surface of the water. This can result in eye injuries or other scrapes and scratches.

Alternative Fun: Dry Apple Bobbing

Of course, there are alternatives for people who simply love bobbing for apples but want to prevent the hazards listed above. Instead of the traditional “apples in a bucket” plan, why not try dry apple bobbing? According to this article in Southern Living, this seems like a fun alternative. Instead of a bucket of water, the apples are suspended from strings that hang across a rope. Kids stand underneath the apples and try to grab them with their mouths and teeth.

Each child gets their own apple to limit added exposure. It eliminates the risk of shared water and severely cuts down on the risk of infection. Besides apples, parents may even chose to substitute cookies or donuts for an added fall treat.

This year, give this alternative to bobbing for apples a try. It may help to put a new spin on some autumn fun.