To Catch a Leprechaun

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To Catch a Leprechaun Hat

It's an alarming trend that shows no sign of abating: every year, more and more Spoonful guests fall victim to leprechaun-related mischief around St. Patrick's Day. "It's never the same," reports Margaret Bentley, of Painesville, Ohio. "The children talk about it for weeks in advance, wondering what things the leprechaun will do when he visits our house."

Similarly, the kids in the Dezotell family of Seekonk, Massachusetts, can only imagine what the next St. Patrick's Day home invasion will bring. Green milk? Green toilet water? Green footprints? Trails of shamrock confetti? "One year the kids woke up with green kiss marks on their foreheads," recalls mom Monique, still clearly shaken.

Is it any surprise, then, that kids like 8-year-old Jacob Dezotell have decided to fight back? Every St. Patrick's Day since he was in kindergarten, Jacob and his sister, Elise, age 7, have tried to capture a leprechaun. Despite powerful bait (Lucky Charms cereal!), their traps have caught only chocolate gold coins and candy bars, accompanied by notes taunting them with "Good try," or "Can't catch me!" As everyone knows, leprechauns hoard pots of gold, and if caught, must reveal the treasure's location to their captor. But that's not the payback Jacob seeks. Because the elusive elves are always leaving him chocolate, he figures they must have even more of that than gold!

It's for the sake of Jacob, Elise, and all the other St. Patrick's Day mischief fighters that we offer here three state-of-the-art leprechaun traps. Each is easily made from ordinary household materials and uses lures and baits drawn from the latest research in leprechaun psychology. But please take our designs and customize them to make something unique: leprechauns, as we all know, won't be fooled by the same trap twice!

How to make it

  1. To Catch a Leprechaun - Step 1

    LEPRECHAUN HAT PIT TRAP

    Leprechauns have big egos, so a giant version of their own hat is irresistible to them. Once they step on the false top, you'll have caught a 10-gallon prize.

    So that the top doesn't give way too soon, use a lightweight bait, such as a crumpled piece of gold foil.

    Our hat, a recycled oatmeal container, is wrapped with green felt secured with double-sided tape. To make the trap, we cut a hole in the lid (see image), then cunningly concealed it with a circle of green felt that will give way when the leprechaun steps on it.

    Leprechauns love to break rules. Warning signs are sure to lure them in.

    Natural materials make these woodland creatures feel at home. Our ladder is made from twigs held together with wood glue.

  2. To Catch a Leprechaun - Step 2

    RAINBOW CAGE DROP

    No self-respecting leprechaun can resist a giant rainbow. As he gets close and spies the gold bait, his curiosity will get the best of him. When he pinches the pot, down comes the cage!

  3. To Catch a Leprechaun - Step 3

    A bent wire hanger hidden by a piece of poster board forms the support for the suspended cage. We bent the hook of the hanger into a loop to hold the line.

  4. To Catch a Leprechaun - Step 4

    We tied fishing line to the top of a plastic berry basket, then threaded the line through the wire loop and back down through the basket. We pulled the line taut and secured it under the bait. To conceal the cage, we tucked fiberfill into the weave of the basket, giving it the look of a fluffy cloud.

  5. To Catch a Leprechaun - Step 5

    TRICKY TRAPDOOR

    This trap draws on time-honored technology: a swinging door cut into the top of the box gives way when the leprechaun tries to make off with the bait.

  6. To Catch a Leprechaun - Step 6

    You can never have too many rainbows on your trap. This one is made from pipe cleaners.

    For bait, try chocolate coins, shiny jewels, or even a worn-out doll shoe! (Leprechauns are cobblers by trade.) We glued the coins in a pile to keep them secure when the trap is sprung.

    Our trapdoor is a flap held up by a tab of card stock (taped in place after the box is decorated).

    This climbing wall is sure to entice the wee adventurers.

    Ours consists of small rocks affixed with tacky glue to the sponge-painted box.

    We covered our box with tissue paper (green, of course) attached with glue stick.

    Capture the look of the Irish countryside with stones and bits of moss.

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