Halloween is the one time each year when you can get away with a lot of (legal) things - scaring trick-or-treaters is probably one that'll bring you the most joy, even if it makes some kids cry.

Okay, you don't want to make children cry. That's not the point (though, you might get a kid here or there get genuinely frightened by your pranks, just a heads up).

My dad did the zipline ghost/skeleton trick for years (and he still does). Over the years, he's had kids scream, cry, and even say, "WOAH! THAT'S COOL!!!!" No matter what you choose to do to scare trick-or-treaters, make sure you're ready with some really good candy to make up for any tears that might be shed. (There was an adorable little boy that ran away crying after my dad scared him with the zipline ghost one year; my dad ran downstairs and out the door with a bowl of candy and told the boy to take whatever candy he wanted. Needless to say, his apology was accepted tenfold.)

Oh, but be sure to film the action Halloween night so you can relive the memories!

Here are some easy but effective ways to scare trick-or-treaters on Halloween night. 

  • 1

    Scarecrow Prank

    This one is classic and never gets old. Have someone dress up as a scarecrow (or anything creepy) and have them sit on a chair/bench somewhere near the front door, sitting very still as to look like a statue or display. When trick-or-treaters approach the front door or bowl of candy next to the scarecrow, the scarecrow jumps up and scares the children.

  • 2

    Drone Ghost

    If you have a drone, attach anything creepy to it and fly it around the neighborhood. This isn't as scary as it is creepy and eerie, but it's still really cool.

  • 3

    Zipline Ghost

    My dad has done this for years and years, and it's always super popular among everyone in the neighborhood. If your home has a second story window somewhere above the front walkway, attach a zipline from there to near the entrance of that walkway and fly a ghost or skeleton down from that window whenever trick-or-treaters walk up your driveway.

    The ghost in the video doesn't look frightening whatsoever, but when it's dark outside and the ghost lights up or has a scary face....it's a totally different story.