Even if they won’t admit it, your friends love to have the pants scared off ‘em. You KNOW this is true. So while you can have a decently frightening time this month visiting haunted houses (or, better yet, Knott’s Scary Farm), you can even more fun by scaring the crap out of your friends when they least expect it. Not only is it way cheaper, but you can make your memories last a lifetime by posting your prank on the interwebz for all to see (and delight in your friends’ screaming like little girls). October, what with its built-in mischief and mayhem, is the perfect time to try out your very own scary-awesome tricks and treats on those least-suspecting subjects: your all-too-trusting bff’s. You only have 22-ish more days to get this done, though, so you’d better take our crash-course in scare tactics and then get to work. Disclaimer: you are responsible for any shitstorms invoked or bodily harm incurred in the execution of these pranks. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

5. Phantom Stalker.

Pumpkins are not only delicious treats, but also excellent props for the lazy prankster. To freak out a friend this October, just procure some pumpkins, carve menacing faces into them (if you’re feeling especially motivated), and leave one on his doorstep every night for a week. For maximum effect, start sticking knives into the pumpkins towards the end of the week in order to up the ante. On the final night of your prank, hide in the bushes while someone calls him on the phone to ask if there’s yet another foreboding pumpkin sitting on his doorstep. When he comes outside to check, jump out of the bushes and proceed to scare him, as the title suggests, into crapping himself with fear. And be sure to have someone record the event for posterity.

4. Haunted Graveyard, Park or Other Open Space.

Most pranks are only as good as the prep work you put into them, so find someone to assist you and take some time to lay the groundwork a week or two before you attempt this one. Start by starting some rumors (… maybe someone has gone missing near a graveyard, park or other open space), then suggest that in the grand tradition of scary movies, you and a few friends go investigate. Once you have your location, pre-set items like articles of clothing, blunt objects or other remnants of a struggle, and arrange for your co-conspirator to bring your friends to the designated location at a designated time (like the middle of the night), and be sure to choose a fairly dramatic co-conspirator who can get everyone riled up once they arrive and realize you aren’t there. As soon as people seem sufficiently freaked out, run in wearing a mask and brandishing a shovel (or a chainsaw, if you’re going for prank of the month) and screaming. The rest will probably take care of itself.

3. Hit-and-Run.

This one demands that you know the roads around your town well, because you have to make sure before attempting it that you’ll have a clear on which to drive recklessly in the middle of the night. The premise is simple: you’re driving with someone down a poorly-lit street when you accidentally hit something – or someone – and, in a panic, drive off without waiting to see if anyone’s dead. Just give your passenger a task (like reading a map or Googling something), and when he or she is distracted, slam on the breaks and yell “what WAS that” just before gunning it and speeding away from the scene of the crime. Your passenger will be horrified, most likely, until you explain that it was all just a hilarious joke. So hilarious! Just make sure whoever you’re with is wearing a seatbelt and doesn’t know any lawyers, because getting sued by your friends sucks.

2. Bump in the Night.

An easy yet effective way to scare the crap out of someone is to make them think something is in their room late at night. If you’re technologically inclined, then you can put a small, battery-operated tape player under your friend’s bed with a recording of 3-4 hours of silence followed by whispering and heavy breathing. When your friend wakes up in the middle of the night to a number of disturbing sounds, you can be sitting next to the bed, maybe wearing a mask of some sort. If you’re just creepy, then you can forgo the recording in favor of making the noises live.

1. Goodbye, Cruel World.

Okay, this one is kind of scary but also kind of cruel, so know your audience before attempting it. In the weeks leading up to Halloween, as you may have noticed, there is an assortment of fake blood products readily available for you to use in all of your haunty pursuits. If you want to really freak out your friends, gather a supply of it, spread it around the kitchen, bathroom or basement, and arrange yourself to look like you got attacked (or, if you’re really feeling assy, like you decided it was time to off yourself for good). Go as far as you dare – leave a note, even – but remember that you’ll probably have to deal with some pissed-off people afterwards, especially if your girlfriend happens to find you first. When someone approaches to take a pulse, leap up and yell “surprise,” or “gotcha,” or “I don’t love you anymore!” Sometimes these things can kill two birds with one stone, as it were.

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