Do people still go for bobbing for apples at Halloween parties? Back before the religious police kicked Halloween carnivals out of the schoolyard, there was a time when kids could actually submerge their entire heads in water on school property and nobody even worried about insurance or lawsuits or the nuts down the street at the Baptist Church taking offense. Bobbing for apples, for the uninitiated, involves trying to procure an apple from a tub of water using only your teeth. It’s actually a lot more fun than it sounds. Although perhaps not as much fun as these TV instances of bobbing for apples might have you believe.
It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
Perhaps the all-time most memorable occurrence of bobbing for apples at a Halloween party occurs during the airing of the annual Halloween classic “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.” While Linus and Sally wait out out in the pumpkin field for the title character, Charlie Brown, Lucy and the other characters are having great fun indoors at the Halloween party. At one point, Snoopy takes a break from his outside pursuit of the Red Baron and sneaks into the party. That much is clear. What is less clear is that Snoopy not only stealthily joins the Halloween party, but submerges himself from view in the apple bobbing tub. When Lucy goes bobbing, she comes up with an apple between her big mouth, but attached to the other side of the apple is Snoopy, setting up one of the all-time classic scenes in Peanuts history. Lucy Van Pelt going completely mental about dog germs.
The Addams Family
If you know anything about “The Addams Family” then surely you know that they are not going to present bobbing for apples in the traditional manner. There must be a strange, twist bit of bizarre Addams-style logic to the fun that can be gained from bobbing for apples. For Gomez and Uncle Fester, this means adding a see-saw to the Halloween fun. Gomez is situated at one end of the teeter-totter and Uncle Fester at the other. When one goes up, the other comes down with their face perfectly situated for sinking into a tub of bobbing apples. Try it if you can.
Ralph Malph has procured for his annual Halloween party what has the reputation for being a haunted house. The whole first half of the episode titled “Haunted” is set up to reveal that Richie Cunningham is apparently a much more anxiety-ridden character than he would turn out to be once “Happy Days” became the most popular show on TV. That whole set-up leads to a scene that pretty much falls flat, but then we get not one, but two different scenes of characters of bobbing for apples. First comes Potsie dressed in some strange generic superhero costume. His attempt to bob for apples has always irked me since he clearly cheats by using his hand to put the apple into his mouth. Since nobody calls him on this, I’ve always assumed that it was the actor cheating and not the character. A few minutes later Fonzie arrives and is enticed to bob for apples. Being the ultra-cool hipster that he is, Fonzie merely plucks an apple out of the tub with his fingers rather than dipping his face into the tub. Same result as Potsie, but at least Fonzie was upfront about cheating.