christy's halloween

Duck apple

A barrel full of water and apples makes for a wonderful evening for adults and children alike. Add some on a string as well and watch the unwary get an eyeful of apple instead of a bite of the delicious fruit.

Success at duck apple requires quick reflexes and a wide jaw, it often helps to have apples which are slightly smaller than usual so that small mouths get a chance to catch them too. Any you capture you can eat, if you happen to like apples that is.

Today’s writing prompt is a ‘what happened next?’ based on the picture Halloween, by Howard Chandler Christy. The picture was published in Scribner’s Magazine in January 1916 and is one of series of paintings of what is known as the Christy Girl, a picturesque and romantic type of society women.

Please feel free to leave your effort, or even a link to it if it’s on your own website, below. Alternatively, if you are time strapped share the title you might use, a first or last paragraph, or even a stanza from a poem, or some lyrics.

And here’s my effort .. please be kind 🙂

A shrill voice rang out ‘Hector’. Time slowed as every head turned to watch the unfolding disaster. Waiters rushed from all sides of the room with dishcloths, towels and mops to prevent a cascade of water flow through the gallery and onto unwary dancers in the ballroom below.
Charity turned and whispered, ‘look mama, Aunt Edith has an apple in her hair’.
I hushed her, ‘Charity you know very well that young ladies never talk about another unless it is to compliment’. I winked to show solidarity and we both chuckled quietly as Edith was led, sobbing, from the party by Uncle Hector.

(Image Halloween, 1915, Howard Chandler Christy)


  1. Hi Linda

    I love this picture and the image of Aunt Edith’s hair apple! And Charity’s mother’s very British reaction of outward sympathy but secret delight.

    I’m going to give this a go – thanks for the prompt

    1. The last time I did apple bobbing was at my housewarming party in about 2008. 20 adults all having a go at either the water version on the string version. To say it was hillarious would be an understatement Lesley and yes, there was apple everywhere, as well as water!

  2. In England we call the game “Bobbing for Apples”…here’s my take…

    ~ ~ ~

    The respectable ladies were dancing, daringly holding skirts above their ankles, with back-skin exposed. They danced sedately, keeping their hair piled up and those vulnerable napes and shoulder-blades glow-free.

    The maids were in the hall-way, bobbing for apples. No doubt they knew the fruit floated in the finest apple-champagne, a very different thing from rustic cider, but still as free of bubbles and easier to sneak into the punch bowl. Maria, Sophia, and Eleanor, three pretty maids from school, already rosy-cheeked and egging each other on, bowed over the fountain, and made a show of it: a show for the “gentlemen” who, bored as they were of staid and stately footwork, leaned where they could ~ politely ~ leer into reflections of low-cut bodices.

    Maids are never as unknowing as the gentlemen believe. And the job of the chaperone is not to shield her protegée, but to advance her cause. Eliza watched the blue corner with approval.

    But at every party there would be a Becky, a Lizzie, or a Meg, no better than she ought to be, in a borrowed gown and knowledge of the back-stairs, and hair just as elegant, and speech she’d learned from ladies. And a candle, obviously. Maybe, she also had the magic learned from mothers and crones, and knew the darker ways.

    This time I called myself Lily, such a pale decorous name, to lead a gentleman into the darkness with.

    What can I say? It’s more fun than bobbing for apples.


    1. Oh my, how daring you are Lily… as you say, no better than you ought to be 😉

    2. Clearly she didn’t have a lily white reputation Lesley.

      You’ve just outlined an episode of Downton Abbey which was never made. Think they missed a trick….👏🫢

  3. A Total Ducking Disaster

    Lady Smythe desired a world where people knew their place
    An elegant Edwardian – a lady weaned on lace
    She loved – and lived – to entertain, it gave her so much joy
    Hosting all the upper crust, though never hoi polloi

    Now Lady S loved party games – they made her spirits soar
    She felt they fostered bonhomie, and esprit de corps
    Hearing it was popular at Halloween themed fests
    Thought apple ducking just the thing for her distinguished guests

    Thus her silver punch bowl brimmed with lots of bobbing apple
    Sundry types of red and green – all rather hard to grapple
    If guests could only use their mouths while face down in the water
    The contest got competitive, with no-one giving quarter

    Now Hattie Hardy-Huffington, who always dressed in style
    And thanks to her quite dazzling teeth was famous for her smile
    In company she barely spoke, (‘twas said that she was shy)
    Though it wasn’t till that evening that society found why

    Young Hattie ducked her head down and she sank those pearly whites
    Into a juicy Granny Smith (too easily, by rights)
    When just about to straighten up and so display her prize
    She felt a mini tidal wave come crashing in her eyes

    For Bunty Bufton Tufton who had sashayed ‘cross the floor
    (On hearing of some fruit-based fun and eager to see more)
    Had slipped and fallen forwards and for just a girl of twenty
    ‘Twas often said (behind her back) she’d embonpoint aplenty

    Landing face first in the bowl, she made a mighty splash
    The genteel, evening ambience was shaken by the crash
    The appled water thus displaced, the liquid levels rose
    Heading straight to Hattie’s face and shooting up her nose

    Her coiffured head withdrew at speed, on getting such a shock
    Dripping from décolleté and ruining her frock
    Without a chance to think at all, the lady cried out loud
    Grabbing the attention of a fascinated crowd

    For everyone could clearly see young Hattie’s mouth transformed
    Alas, no longer non-pareil, it seemed to be deformed
    As in the punch bowl water – barely floating underneath
    A pristine, perfect, Snow White set of beautiful false teeth

    The surreal sight was bound to be a conversation stopper
    As faux pas go it must be said, that Hattie’s was a whopper
    The poor girl couldn’t style it out – those gnashers weren’t her own!
    She grabbed some tongs to fish them out, then made a dash for home

    Through a perfect storm of mishaps – and in public – she had sinned
    (It would have been less cringeworthy had she just broken wind)
    For as she ran that evening Hattie heard such cruel roars
    Of laughter from her erstwhile friends come bursting through the doors

    The apple ducking brouhaha at Lady Smythe’s soirée
    Became the stuff of legend – it’s remembered to this day
    So when I got this picture prompt I wasn’t that perplexed
    For Linda, it’s the gospel truth – that’s what happened next!

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