We’ve got to love St. Patrick’s Day — favorite holiday of small children, Bono, and the makers of green food dye. And is there anything more iconically St. Patrick’s-y than those roguish tricksters, the leprechauns? And is there anything more fun than convincing your kids that one such leprechaun has secretly invaded your house?


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Legend has it, leprechauns are tiny creatures who drink heavily and cause mischief, wreaking havoc on unsuspecting, innocent humans — often while said humans are asleep and unaware. Think of the leprechaun as the Elf on the Shelf’s evil Irish twin.

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So when March 17 rolls around this year, why not work some magic — and, OK, play a friendly prank — on your favorite kids by trying to convince them a real-life leprechaun has paid their home a visit? Fair warning: Kids may love these fun tricks so much, you’ll be stuck doing them every year until they go to college. Worth it.

Image: Helmut Smits

If March 17 falls on a weekday, continue the trickery on the way to school with this simple but spectacular rainbow-on-the-windshield trick inspired by Helmut Smits. All you need is colored foam paint(just have a wet rag handy to wipe it off quickly so you can see to drive) — kids will adore the bright surprise.

Image: smashville247.net

Leprechauns love to make mischief, so make copies of your beloved family photos — or just take a dry-erase marker to the glass-framed ones — and give your kid devil horns, buckteeth or a Tom Selleck mustache. Go nuts. Think classic high school yearbook-style defacement. In fact, you might want to take a picture of your handiwork — you know, for kiddo’s actual high school yearbook.

Image: Modern Parents Messy Kids

This one can be a little tricky, but depending on how deeply your kids sleep, try putting this free printable four-leaf clover temporary tattoo(you’ll need to stock up on the special printer paper first)from Modern Parents Messy Kids on your children while they sleep. They’ll be stunned to discover a leprechaun was in their room and they didn’t wake up! If they’re light sleepers, you can always try a St. Patrick’s Day sticker instead or just slather on some green lipstick and give them a smooch.

Image: Studio DIY

Since leprechauns love wreaking havoc, feel free to “TP” your kids’ rooms — or any room, really — with these super-simple shamrock streamers. Some other festive mess ideas: Fill your bathtub with green balloons or blanket everything under some green silly string. You can even turn the water from your faucet green for a truly magical leprechaun trick. Simply follow these step-by-step instructions.

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All of these tricks are guaranteed to elicit many an excited early-morning holler from the kids when they awake to discover all the shenanigans the leprechaun was up to. Plus, you know, rumor has it that if a leprechaun likes your house, he tends to come back every year. So maybe keep a few of these tricks in your back pocket for future years of monkey business.

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And hey, if the last green cupcake just happens to mysteriously disappear on St. Patrick’s Day… blame it on the leprechaun.