Bobbing for Apples or Bobbing for Germs?!

Posted by GoGo Goodie on October 16, 2011.

A few years back I was hosting a kids block party and among the many activities I planned was Bobbing for Apples.  I remembered loving this game the times I had played growing up and couldn't wait for all the kids to dive into the tradition.  The stage was set for a fierce game.  A line of eager children formed in my front yard next to a big metal tub filled with water as 3 dozen apples floated on top. The first contestant, Ethan, held his hands behind his back as he knelt in front of the tub.  The apples all seemed to drift to the other side, somehow knowing the end was near.  The stopwatch was set...I called out "on your mark, get set, GO!" and Ethan was off to the races, diving his head completely into the water and chomping at each apple as they tried to defy his bite.  The apples were spit onto a towel next to the bin, one after the other until 60 seconds had expired.  "Stop" I called out and I started to count the apples.  Just then a friend and mother of one of the boys waiting in line casually mentioned "you know they don't allow Bobbing for Apples at Poly any more".

For those of you outside the Pasadena area, Poly stands for Polytechnic School, the oldest private school in the area.  I had to ask my friend "why" Bobbing for Apples had been banned because I was so caught up in the excitement and the tradition of the moment I seriously couldn't think of any good reason!  My friend, who is also a teacher at Poly, simply said "germs".  Once she said this I thought well of course, that makes sense.  One by one these kids are biting into the same apples and spitting them to the side only to have them recycled and thrown back into the tub ready for the next kid in line to spit on!  Did I mention my son is Ethan, the first one in line?  So, selfishly, no problem for germs for him on this day....but, what about the last kid in line?!  Well, what did I do?  I didn't stop the game, we all survived growing up and bobbing for apples, besides I had too many excited kids waiting their turn in line.  

That did, however, end up being the last Bobbing for Apples event I ever hosted.  Since then, I did a little bit of research on the topic and most health officials say the risk of passing along germs is very low.  But let's face it, not many of us mothers want to keep our kids home from school with 102 degree fever as a result of sharing spit with a dozen other kids!  I applaud those of you that will still carry on the tradition and stare down down those germs!  However, I fear, the future of Bobbing for Apples will exist only in stories and halloween lore.

Oh yes, I almost forgot my shameless plug....of course I handed out prizes to winners and halloween goodie bags for all!


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