This year, if the kids ask you what trick-or-treat really means, show don’t tell with one of these cute tricks that are big on laughs (and low-to-no scare). Think of it as your PSA to all those kids who think Halloween is all about the candy. Read on for our faves.

pirate with halloween candyphoto: James Wilcox via flickr creative commons

Rock Candy
If you are a fan of It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, this prank might become a family tradition. Slip a rock into all your kiddo’s treat bags when they aren’t looking, so when they get home and empty out their loot to be inspected, they’ll get to be Charlie Brown and say “I got a rock.” As the years go on, it’s even more fun to try to be as stealthy as possible before the kids catch you in action.

Handy Bowl
Keep a straight face and tell the kids they’ll need to practice trick-or-treat etiquette before hitting the streets in search of sugar. Cut a hole in the bottom of a cardboard box or plastic bowl, stick your hand in the hole and cover it with candy. When your kids reach in for a treat, be ready for serious screeching when you grab and tickle their hand!

prankspices_rmkoskeflickr_HalloweenPranks_Halloween_national_redtricycle photo: rmkoske via flickr creative commons

What’s for Dinner?
It’s not your average leftover night. Watch them squirm by “spicing” up the meal with creepy ingredients like pine fingers, glow worm larvae and divination leaves, and they’ll be begging for Monday Meatloaf.

Monster Drop
We all know monsters are partial to hiding behind closed doors, so get chills and thrills from your littles by stuffing a gaggle of Halloween balloons in your kid’s closet as they sleep. Looking to increase the scream factor? Try adding a dangling bag o’ bones to the clothing rack.

cockroachlunch_MorenaHockley_HalloweenPranks_National_Redtricyclephoto: Morena Hockely via Morena’s Corner

Lunch with a Friend
Add a big bug to their lunches, backpacks, beds or even cereal boxes for an insect-eresting prank that even has even us jumping in our chairs. We love how jokester and mom Morena creates her own set of creepy crawlies, you can find the how-to on her blog, Morena’s Corner.

Creeping Fingers
Let the kids know someone’s always watching by giving them a little surprise when they head for the bathroom first thing in the morning. A toilet bowl decal that looks like creepy eyes and fingers is perfect mix of scary and funny— and won’t be too much for the tiny tots at home. Grab one here.

boodcupcake_favorboxbakery_pranks_Halloween_national_redtricyclephoto: Favor Box Bakery via Etsy

BOO’ing
Doorbell ditching has gotten a major upgrade, because this sweet trick is still a hot Halloween happening. Have the crew create a bag of treats— candy, coloring pages, and Dollar Trees goodies work well (we love this personalized cupcake for special ghouls from Favor Box Bakery, too!). Set the bag of swag in front of the chosen friend’s door, ring the door bell and scamper away quickly before they answer. Include the all-important “Boo-ed” sign for your target to proudly display in their window so future BOO’ers know they’ve already been hit. Want the info on how to to pull this off? Check out our story here. 

Where Are Thou, Pumpkin?
Kidnap your child’s jack-o-lantern and leave a mysterious note in its place leading them on a scavenger hunt or giving playful demands to ensure its safe return. Turn it into a family adventure by teaming up with your kids to hijack an unflappable neighbor’s pumpkin and coordinate a thrilling scavenger hunt for a friend.

SmartieSwitch_SandraDenneler_HalloweenPranks_Halloween_National_redtricyclephoto: Sandra Denneler via Project Denneler

Treat Confusion
When the goblins saunter and princesses sashay to your door to collect their loot, hand out a classic Halloween treat, a Tootsie Roll. Little do they know that under the wrapper lies a roll of Smarties, instead. Imagine their surprise when they untwist the wrapper! Find out more over at Project Denneler.

Cotton Toes
Stuff cotton balls or paper towels into to the tips of your kid’s shoes, making it seem as though their shoes have shrunk or their feet have grown rapidly. The faux growth spurt works especially well for kids dressing as the Incredible Hulk or a superhero — they’ll love thinking their alter ego has spurred lightning-fast growth.

eyeballice_Holly_HalloweenPranks_National_redTricyclephoto: Holly Sosa via Our Holly Days

Eye-Opening Refreshment
Quench their thirst with these visionary (and super creepy) ice cubes that you can easily make at home. Add to anything from water to witch’s brew and your little goblins will get a eerie eyeful. Find out how to make your own version over at Our Holly Days.  

What kind of silly-spooky stunts have you pulled on Halloween? Let us know about it in the Comments!

— Maria Chambers & Gabby Cullen