Halloween tricks


Shaving cream ambush

Halloween was different when I was a kid.

Back in the 1970s and ’80s, we would rush home from school to hit the streets armed with pillowcases to store prodiguous amounts of candy collected from virtually every house in the neighborhood. We also were allowed to cruise the streets without any parents, which lent a Lord of the Flies vibe to the evening and meant that mischief was very much a part of the equation. For instance, every kid in my neighborhood has several cans of shaving cream tucked away on his person, equipped with aerosol tops for distance shooting, and by the next morning we — and our whole neighborhood — would be covered with it.

The flour sock

Nothing more than a common tube sock loaded with garden-variety white flour, the flour sock was designed — likely by some juvenile delinquent — for close combat during shaving-cream fights. Swing it around like a mace and whap your foe with it, leaving him dazed in a cloud of powder.

TP bomb

Though popular on Halloween night, a good TP bombing is fun any time of year. Simply arm yourself with a dozen or so rolls of toilet paper and start tossing them up in the trees, allowing the trails to stream to the ground. A yard that has been properly TP-ed is actually quite beautiful, and a good rain makes the whole wonderland disappear.

Soapy windows

Here’s an old-school Halloween prank that never really got big in my old neighborhood. Just take a bar of plain soap and froth up the windows of all the cars in the driveway. Honestly, though,. I don’t get it — you’re basically halfway washing the guy’s car. Not much of a prank, if you ask me.

The flaming bag of fun

This one’s a classic. Put something gross in a paper bag — dog crap works great, if you’ve got any and pick a house to prank. Leave the bag just outside the front door, light it on fire, ring the doorbell and then run like hell. If all goes as planned, the resident will open the door to see the flames, and then stomp on the fire to put it out. It wouldn’t be a classic if it didn’t work just about every time.

The scare

Halloween is the one time of year when it’s okay to, say, hide in the bushes near your front door dressed in a hockey mask and leap out screaming to scare the neighborhood children as they approach.

The pumpkin smash

If you’re a total jerk, then you’ll have no problem swiping a pumpkin off a front stoop, no matter how detailed and elaborate the carving, and then smashing it on the street out front of the house. True, a pumpkin makes a wonderful sound as it explodes, but you’re still a jerk for doing it.


Eggs are nature’s hand grenades — the perfect size and weight to be heaved as a ballistic, and filled with disgusting goo that, if not immediately washed off, destroys car finishes, certain items of clothing and some types of home shingles. Throwing eggs and watching them splat is immensely satisfying, but it can be dangerous. My pals and I were ambushed by kids from the next town over on Halloween 1982, and an eggshell sliced one of our crew’s ear open.


“Mooning” is nothing more than flashing your bare butt at someone. But it’s important to remember that this one must be executed with escape in mind. More than one mooner has tripped over his own pants in haste. That’s why it’s always best to moon from a moving car — if it’s cold you can keep the windows closed and perform what is known as a “pressed ham.”

The hose

The hose is significant on Halloween because it is the perfect countermove against would-be tricksters. Have it all hooked up and ready at the side of the house, and if you get the sense that a trick is imminent, get to your battle stations and, when your prey gets close enough, soak them down.