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Don't fall prey to the Halloween prankster

Halloween is the one holiday that never fails to bring out the inner kid — and inner prankster. Houses fall victim to toilet paper, eggs, smashed pumpkins, shaving cream and plastic wraps. Here are some ideas for keeping "pranksters" away from your house this Halloween. Drew Dawson,

Give great treats. The best and most obvious way to keep from getting tricked is to give awesome treats. Most jokes are pulled for fun, but some are pulled out of spite. Being unprepared for trick-or-treaters is like painting a giant "prank me" sign on your house. This philosophy should extend past the idea of trick-or-treaters. Being a likable person and creating few enemies should lower your house's chances of being targeted and lessen the severity of any pranks pulled.

Present a 'vacant' home. Tricks aren't pulled on homes because of the actual structure itself but because of the people inside. The fun in vandalism is decreased tremendously when nobody directly suffers. Making your house appear uninhabited should reduce the prank attempts. Clean up your yard, park your cars in the garage or down the street, and keep your lights turned off at night to give an unoccupied appearance to your house. Put up a "for sale" sign to really fool potential "tricksters."

Leave the lights on. The opposite extreme of my previous suggestion is also a clever way to lower your chances of being attacked this Halloween. There is an unspoken rule in the prank world that reads something like this: "If one is caught or discovered before, during or after pulling a prank, the prank is deemed unsuccessful." This is why most people wait until the sun goes down to engage in prank activity. Nobody wants to get caught playing a joke and many will shy away from making an attempt if they believe the resident is at home and awake. Leave your lights and electronics on at night to give the impression that you are still awake. A barking dog can also do wonders in detouring mischievous passers-by.

Damage control. The more you have in plain sight to be vandalized or used in the vandalism process, the more tempting your house becomes. Leaving objects like pumpkins and cars in plain sight is like pouring "joke fuel" on a prankster's fire. The least decorated houses for Halloween will most likely be targeted less than those resembling a tourist attraction. For most, the fun of decorating is worth the risk. You have to find your own balance.

Don't fall prey to the Halloween prankster 09/26/10 [Last modified: Sunday, September 26, 2010 4:30am]
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