As Halloween approaches, we gear up for another season of costumes, parties and excessive calories. We dress up children and deliver them to homes where they collect more than their fair share of treats. But what ever happened to the tricks? In its original context, “trick-or-treat” was a promise of mischief to any house that didn’t deliver an acceptable confection, and for years children have dutifully carried on the tradition of TPing trees, ringing doorbells and egging houses. This year, recapture some of that youthful spirit of mischief with some good-natured tricks of your own.
First, you’ll need a picture of your target (preferably a friend or roommate) in an appropriately compromising ‘full moon’ position. If you’re not fortunate enough to have an image of your friend’s bare assets handy, it’s not difficult to Photoshop his or her face onto any cartoon or photo readily available online. Or, if you’re artistically inclined, pen your own cartoon likeness. Your friend is sure to appreciate the extra effort!
Post the picture on a window facing in, and close the curtains or blinds. When the time is right, peek out the window and remark to your target that there’s a beautiful full moon out, maybe the most impressive you’ve ever seen. He or she will draw the curtains to reveal their own revealing form. To get the most mileage out of your prank, tape copies of the picture to all the other windows where they can be found again and again.
Plant plastic, rubber or plush spiders (rats and snakes work, too!) in cabinets and closets. Make sure they’re positioned precariously.
When your target opens the first cabinet or closet, make sure you’re there to witness the reaction. Even the most composed individuals have been known to emit a satisfying squeak or two when taken off guard. A handy camera or camera phone is useful for immortalizing the moment, and will allow you to send dignified pictures via email or phone until long after the joke dies. You can try planting your crawly surprises in some, but not all, likely places, so your target never knows what to expect!
For weeks leading up to Halloween, leave anonymous love letters at your target’s door. In addition to the usual mysterious mushiness, they should all hint at the unlikelihood of the pairing and how the atypical nature of the admirer. Sign “Jack” or “Jackie.”
Leave a carefully crafted jack-o-lantern at the door with the final note. Be creative with the letter, but it should probably thank the target profusely for taking a chance and insist that they’ll be very happy together. This one is more enjoyable — and sweeter — if you know the target is in a position and of a temperament to welcome a new addition to the family. A puppy, kitten or other small pet makes an excellent alternate Jack or Jackie.
Choose an unsuspecting co-worker and change his or her computer setting on the sly. Wallpaper the desktop with embarrassing photos or spooky Halloween images and change the screensaver to something appropriately obnoxious, like “I’m not gullible; it just looks that way” or “Caution…Haunted Computer” Add scary sound effects for an added touch.
Watch your target jump, laugh or hang her head in shame. The fun goes on as they scramble to restore their settings and the computer continually shrieks, moans and cackles. Unless, of course, your co-worker is the “who moved my cheese” type, in which case, you’re better off trying this one someplace else!
Show up to an office party or any decent-sized gathering, dressed in a completely concealing costume. Remain quiet throughout the evening or limit your vocalization to grunts and moans but take every opportunity to interact with people otherwise. Put your arm around their shoulders, steal their hats, get them drinks, and nod and mime along with conversation.
You’ll drive your friends crazy until you reveal yourself at the end of the night. As a bonus, you’ll be able to study your friends’ body language and behaviors as they try to decide how to react to you.
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