With St. Patrick’s Day comes plenty of green, but what if you’d rather have gold? You’ll need to set a few leprechaun traps to find out where the elusive pot o’ gold is hiding (hint: it’s not at the end of the rainbow). We’ve got the best tutorial on how to make a leprechaun trap, so give it your luckiest shot!

Looking for other fun St. Patrick’s Day activities for kids? Check out our favorite St. Patrick’s Day crafts, St. Patrick’s Day science experiments, and the best St. Patrick’s Day jokes for kids.

What You Need to Make a Leprechaun Trap

A cardboard box or shoebox
A stick (or pencil in a pinch)
A pillowcase
Food (see below)
Optional: some sparkle

Leprechaun Trap Step One: Make the Bait

Rainbow rice krispies are fun for a leprechaun trap
The Gracious Wife

Leprechauns, despite the rumors, do not subsist on pints of Guinness and shamrock-shaped cookies alone. They like a variety of foods, but most of all they appreciate a rainbow of flavors like the ones found in these rainbow recipes. Bonus: you get to keep the leftovers. This can be the most time-consuming step. If you are in a hurry, just grab a pack of Skittles and move on to step two. 

Step Two: Make the Leprechaun Trap

little boy who made a leprechaun trap
Amber Guetebier

The leprechaun is usually just under a foot high, although the size varies depending on age (they shrink as they get older) and origin.* So the best method here is a simple box trap. 

Get a smallish box, like a shoebox. A plain box works fine but if you want to increase your odds of getting a leprechaun,  paint the box green, a color most pleasing to them. Decorate it with anything that gives it that special glitz: glitter, coins, gemstones, or just an artistic use of the brush. 

Find a stick or pencil to prop the box up. You can even use a piece of cardboard, cleverly disguised as a friendly sign.


Step Three: Add Bait to Your Leprechaun Trap

Place the “bait” on a plate underneath the lid. No string is needed. Once the leprechaun takes his first bite of your delicious food, he’ll dance with joy. This dance almost always leads to kicking the stick over. Voila. He is trapped. If you’ve got preschoolers, how cute is this printable bait template from Mama Cheaps for leprechaun traps?

Hint: Don’t bother waiting up for the leprechaun. They never show under a watchful eye.

Related: 17 Easy St. Patrick’s Day Crafts That’ll Bring You Luck

Step Four: Get the Gold

Wait at least three hours before checking your leprechaun trap, but if you can, wait a full night. (Parents, you can leave a small note or coin in place of the treat from the escaped wee man). If your trap is empty, better luck next year. If, however, you caught your leprechaun, you’ll need to transfer it from the trap into your home. Use a soft pillowcase, and scoop up the entire box including (hopefully) the leprechaun. Remember, your goal here is to get him to reveal the location of his gold, not bring harm to him. Be firm but kind, and be persistent.

More Tips for Your Leprechaun Traps

Once you have him inside, lock your doors and close your windows. Leprechauns are master escape artists.

Be ready to barter. They are very clever and can trick you out of just about anything, but you will need to offer something in exchange for the gold (i.e., his freedom). Do not believe him when he tells you it’s “at the end of the rainbow.” They like silky fabrics, velvet, and shiny things.

Be sure you have enough food: they can eat an incredible amount of food, so be ready to lay out a feast or at the very least, a decent tea party.

If you can get them to tell you where the gold is, you truly have the luck of the Irish!

*While it was once true that a leprechaun could only be found in Ireland, there are generations of leprechauns that have naturalized in the woods, parks, and gardens across America. Rumors of how leprechauns came to the U.S. include stowing away in luggage, sliding across rainbows (totally unfounded), and the most plausible: paid passage. They are, after all, in possession of copious amounts of gold.

Editor’s note: No leprechauns were harmed in the making of this article. 

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