So a few weeks back, I made a leprechaun trap with my older daughter. And it has been lurking on my dining room table since then, constantly reminding me that I now have to come up with a clever way to trip the trap.
In a previous post, I explained that my mom is a second grade teacher and has been instructing her class to make leprechaun traps long before #leprechauntrap was a thing. On the night before St. Patrick’s Day, her students leave their traps on their desk, poised to snare a wily leprechaun.
A person who shall remain nameless traipses through the classroom after the students have gone. The intruder trips several traps, knocks things over, stamps shamrocks all over and leaves glitter and green footprints everywhere. But when the students return the next day, by far the strangest thing their eyes discover is a boot hanging from the flag pole.
You see, every St. Patrick’s Day in my mom’s classroom, there’s a small note on the board.
“I had a great time playing in your classroom, but I lost my boots and hat. If you find them, leave them out and I’ll be back tonight. ~ Liam the Leprechaun”
Throughout the day the students find another boot in the corner, and then the hat. And what’s that? Green felt flapping in the door? Did someone rip his coat on the way out? And why is there one shiny gold button inside one kid’s trap?
They return all the missing items to a table in plain sight for Liam’s return visit. The next school day, the clothing is gone, but a pile of chocolate gold coins is waiting in its place, as a thank you.
My mom has set the bar pretty high. Since this is the first year I’m doing a trap, and I’ve yet to find little black boots, I’m saving Liam for next year.
My plan is to knock the trap over onto its side. I’ll have gold or green glitter pouring from the window, as though the little leprechaun did get stuck and moved around so much he flipped the thing over and crawled out the windows.
But that’s just part of the fun. When I pick up the leprechaun trap to clean up … I’ll do my best surprise face to find there’s something jangling around inside. Our friend, in his haste to escape, must have lost some chocolate gold coins inside the trap!
From the leprechaun trap, I plan to leave a path of green footprints down the table, up the wall, out the door … leading to the fridge.
One peek inside and my girls will discover that darn leprechaun has turned a pitcher of milk GREEN!
This tradition of green footprints and a pitcher of milk dyed green is something my mom used to do for my sister and I when we were kids. We looked forward to it every year.
As my sister and I got older and realized it was our mom and not a leprechaun sneaking into our kitchen each year, we thought we’d surprise her.
We waited until she’d gone to bed and then snuck down to the kitchen. My sister grabbed the food coloring, and I hit the fridge. But to one-up her, we grabbed her half-and-half. About 27 drops of food coloring later and that half-and-half was so green. We shook it up, went to bed and waited.
The next morning, my mom padded downstairs in her slippers and poured herself a steaming cup of coffee. Out of habit, she added a teaspoon of sugar, uncapped the cream and poured. She shrieked and recoiled as a green liquid cascaded into her cup.
My sister and I cackled. “Happy St. Patrick’s Day!” we shrieked. My parents laughed, once my mom had recovered from the shock. But as she looked in the half-and-half container, she gave us that look. That MOM LOOK.
“Girls. You know how I dye a pitcher of milk green every year?”
“Yup. We so got you this time,” we said, so proud of ourselves.
“Um, yeah. But keyword is pitcher.”
“Oh.” (Confident smiles wipe off faces.) “Oops.”
It didn’t dawn on us that the reason she poured the milk into a small pitcher before dying it green is that it was usually the amount of milk we’d use in our cereal that day. And only that day. We’d dumped half a bottle of food coloring into a half gallon of her half-and-half, meaning she drank putrid greenish-gray coffee for the next several weeks. Oops.
Ah well, treasured memories, right? Right, Mom?
No matter how you choose to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with your kids, leprechaun trap or not, just be sure to enjoy the time with your family. You never know which goofy traditions they’ll love so much they pass onto their own kids.
P.S. Haven’t made a leprechaun trap yet? There’s still time. Here’s my guide to a simple leprechaun trap in 6 easy steps.
Be sure to share a picture of your leprechaun trap or the clever way you tripped it in the comments section below.