Buttons arranged on scrapbook paper to look like a leprechaun's pot of gold at the end of a rainbow ...
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11 Easy Leprechaun Pranks To Pull On Your Kids

They’ll never know.

by Cat Bowen
Originally Published: 
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Leprechauns are known tricksters. And this time of year, many families have fun with that idea by playing pranks around the house and blaming the leprechauns. It's like Elf on the Shelf, but green. The idea is a pretty cute one, but it's fairly new to many parents out there, and not something seasoned parents want to spend too much effort on, so here’s a list of leprechaun pranks to pull on your kids that are easy, quick, and don't require a ton of effort. Many of these ideas work best if you prep them the night before, but a lot of them can also be set up while they’re at school.

Unlike the elves so popular at Christmastime, there is no stuffed leprechaun that your kids meet at the beginning of the season, warning them of hijinks to come. Oh no, leprechaun pranks are a thing of St. Patrick's Day, and St. Patty’s day only, and you do not see hide nor hair of your tricky little sprite.

If your children are unfamiliar with leprechauns, you can begin with reading a St. Patrick’s Day children’s book like How To Catch A Leprechaun, which details the exploits of one of the little tricksters as he goes house to house, pranking families. It reads like a St. Patrick's Day version of The Night Before Christmas and your kids will undoubtedly love it, and want to read it every year. If you do read it, it's a good idea to follow some of the tricks that transpire in the pages — like gold coins everywhere, or green glitter in their shoes — to give your leprechaun some truth.


Tattoo yourself or your kids

Place temporary tattoos (St. Patrick’s-themed if possible) on parts of your body that are not easily visible to you, but are to your kids, like the backs of your legs and arms. Pretend like you had no idea they were there and blame that silly leprechaun. Or “the leprechaun” could tattoo your kids while they’re sleeping.


Give yourself a terrible St. Patrick’s Day manicure

If having your nails done all the time is your thing, you might already have a cool St. Patrick’s Day nail design in mind. If not, you could grab a bottle of green polish and paint your nails as if a toddler did, blaming, of course, Mr. Leprechaun himself.


Swap items around the house

Mix up their clothing drawers, toy bins, or bath time essentials and leave “evidence” that the leprechaun was pranking them by leaving behind a gold coin, a piece of green fabric, or even a sprinkle of glitter.


Hide 4-leaf clovers around the house

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Cut out a few paper or felt four-leaf clovers (props if you can fold origami ones) and tuck them around the house, focusing on areas your child visits pretty frequently. For extra credit, you can print or write out a St. Patty’s day riddle or joke on each one.


Tuck gold coins everywhere

Place gold "coins" in the kids' shoes and in their pockets. Buy gold chocolate coins at the party store, and fill their coat pockets and shoes with the goodies, too.


Turn the house green

With green streamers everywhere. This time of year, green streamers are really cheap. Hang them all over the house before the kids wake up, and make them go through the crepe paper jungle.


Dry erase a poem or limerick on the mirror

Using a gold or green dry erase marker, write up a little rhyme or limerick on the bathroom mirror. Something like, "There once was a family who lived here, and the leprechaun knew so he came near, now all is a mess, and the rainbows are blessed, just because the leprechaun came here." Or something infinitely better.


Green hair

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Spray your hair green the night before and pretend not to notice. Granted, this works best if you're a stay-at-home parent, but it also works if you can wash it before work. Spray your hair with the temporary green spray early in the morning or just before they come home from school, and proceed as normal, pretending you didn’t notice. Your kids will flip out. Bonus points if you're the coolest mom and can use the actual temporary dye.


Rainbow their door

Make a rainbow door trap at the front door or their bedroom door with either a roll of paper that you've colored, a paper ring curtain, or ROYGBIV streamers. Make sure there's gold at the bottom.


Have a green meal

Go for a totally green breakfast. Make green pancakes, green smoothies, green oats, green eggs, or even green grits, and blame that leprechaun. Surely, it's the work of magic.


Fill the house with silly string

Spray green silly string over everything you know you can get it off of. I'm thinking the fridge, the table, the bathroom, and anything wipeable. They'll love it.


Green milk

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Just lace a few drops of green food coloring in the bottom of your child's glass, and fill it with milk. It will turn green as it pours.


Change all the light bulbs

I found this one on Pinterest: replace some of the light bulbs in your house with green bulbs. Or, if you're like me and your house is fully Alexa'd, turn all your Philips lights to green and set them on a timer before bed.


Sprinkle green glitter (just a little bit) here and there

Green glitter in their shoes. Don't use too much, but place the glitter for maximum poof, right under the tongue of the shoe.


Have a green bath

Fill the bathtub with green bubbles or, using a green bath bomb, draw your child's bath, and just before they're meant to get in the tub, drop a bright green bath bomb in the tub. What's great is that they'll also smell nice and clean.

Whether your kid wakes up to an impressive explosion of St. Patrick’s Day decorations in the morning of March 17 or they come across small, silly signs throughout the day that the leprechaun made a visit, these easy leprechaun tricks don’t require much effort, but make a big impression.

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