posted by Matt W on October 31st, 2012

Recently, my wife sent Halloween care packages to our sons and other friends and family currently away at college. In the care packages, she put in the standard Halloween fare of candy and baked treats, and other assorted Halloween decorations and a few fake spiders. My son and a good friend of his texted independently that they had received the packages and had already put the fake spiders in their roommate’s beds. My wife got a big kick out of this, and I gave a brief chuckle and said to my wife, “That’s pretty funny, but they really should have used the spiders more wisely, their roommates will never be scared.”

I am a practical joker. We have a saying around our house “Mean spirited… or genius!” Years ago, my oldest got the best of my middle son and my wife’s reaction was that it was “a little mean spirited.” My immediate response was, “That wasn’t mean spirited, it was genius!” Since then, there has been an immediate spontaneous family vote, “Genius,” “Mean Spirited,” “Genius,” and so on. The most common vote is 4-1 as the kids and I usually vote together and my wife usually thinks it’s all a little mean spirited. When my wife votes genius, you have really pulled off a nice prank. And when we agree it is genius, fist bumps are involved. I am proudly the clear leader in “genius rated” quips and pranks around the house.

Anyway, I have always enjoyed the month of Halloween to pull pranks on people. Yes, I take the full month. Years ago for the entire month of October, I placed a co-worker’s lunch at the top of a ladder. He was deathly afraid of heights. Before you think I’m a total jerk, I only prank people who deserve it, and he truly deserved it as he was definitely the practical joker of the place. So he wouldn’t suspect it was me, about once a week, I offered to climb the ladder to get his lunch down. He never caught me (I only get caught when I want to take credit). To another co-worker who was very short and way too cocky, a friend of mine and I spent a few weeks raising his desk a quarter inch at a time. Now if we just left it at that, it would probably just be a “mean spirited” prank, but when we took a picture of him behind his raised desk and submitted it with a local planning award application he was up for, it then became “genius.”

So back to my son. I was talking with him a few days after he had received his package; I asked if his roommate was scared. He said that he had actually pulled the spiders from his roommate’s bed and used them in a much more appropriate way. While a good friend of his was out at the movie Paranormal Activity 4, he had put all the spiders under a shirt he laid on her dorm bed. When she returned from her movie, she had picked up the shirt and saw all the spiders and screamed so long and so loud that multiple people in her dorm had woke up and ran down the hall to check on her at 2:00 AM in the morning.


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