Chubby Bunny is an informal recreational game that involves the placement of an increasing number of marshmallows or similar items such as cotton balls into one's own mouth and stating a phrase that is intended to be difficult to say clearly with a filled mouth. The game is often played where marshmallows are readily available, such as around a campfire. Variations include similar sounding phrases such as Fluffy Bunny, Yummy Bunny, Chubby Monkey, and Pudgy Bunny.
Although the origins of the game are unknown, it may go as far back as 1959 when the Peanuts comic strip from February 28 of that year showed Snoopy's mouth being filled with an increasing number of marshmallows.
In the game, each participant usually places a marshmallow into their mouth and says "chubby bunny" or something similar. If they are able to state the whole phrase, usually in a comprehensible manner that the other participants wholly concur to, they pass that round. Each successful player then adds an additional marshmallow to the one already in his or her mouth and repeats the phrase. A player who fails to complete the phrase is eliminated from the game. The process continues until only one player remains. After the penultimate player loses the game, the winning player might have to place one more marshmallow into his or her mouth and may have to state the phrase once more. The winner of the game is the player who fits the most marshmallows into his or her mouth. Some variants of the game require the winner to actually ingest the marshmallows.
Cases of deaths
At least two people have died of suffocation from choking on marshmallows:
- On June 4, 1999, 12-year-old Catherine "Casey" Fish died after choking on four marshmallows while playing Chubby Bunny. The contest was scheduled for the annual Care Fair held at Hoffman Elementary School in Chicago's North Shore area. It was to be supervised, but Casey and some of her friends began playing while the teacher was momentarily away. She collapsed, and was taken to Glenbrook Hospital, where she died a few hours later. Fish's parents subsequently sued the school district and appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show to warn about the dangers of Chubby Bunny.
- On September 12, 2006, Janet Rudd, 32, from London, Ontario, Canada died in a Chubby Bunny competition at the Western Fair. St John Ambulance volunteers initially came to Rudd's aid prior to the arrival of Paramedics from Thames EMS. The paramedics arrived with equipment including a defibrillator and suction devices, but were unable to remove the blockage in the unconscious woman's throat.
- Mikkelson, Barbara (2006-09-15). "Chubby Bunny Death". Snopes.com. Retrieved 2008-04-17.
- "Fluffy Bunnies — the Game". h2g2. 1999-10-13.
- "Glenview Elementary School District 34". Chicago Tribune. Tribune Company, reposted by Online Legal Marketing Ltd. 2005-06-05. Retrieved 2007-05-21.
- Keating, David J (2005-05-26). "Civil trial begins in 'Chubby Bunny' death". Medill News Service. Medill School of Journalism. Archived from the original on February 26, 2006. Retrieved 2007-05-21.
- Hageman, Joseph R (1999-08-24). ""The Chubby Bunny Game" May Be Hazardous To Your Patients' Lives". PedsCCM.org. Illinois Pediatrician, reposted by PedsCCM. Retrieved 2007-05-21.
- Matyas, Joe. "Woman who choked on marshmallow dies". London Free Press. Archived from the original on October 19, 2006. Retrieved 2008-04-17.