pass the lobster?
January 21, 2008 6:50 PM   Subscribe

help me with an ongoing prank involving a large plastic lobster

so several years ago i found a large (24in) plastic lobster at a garage sale and put it in my mom's refrigerator. she responded by hiding it in my car, and we've been passing it back and forth ever since. i mailed it to my little brother for his birthday, my dad hid it deep in my kitchen cabinets when he helped me move into a new place.
now i want to kick it up a notch by foisting it off on them in a new, totally unexpected way. so far i've thought of sawing it into little pieces and mailing them a chunk every day, but i do want to preserve the integrity of this treasured family heirloom. where in my parents' house/vehicle can i put it and/or what's a clever way i can get it to them?
posted by genmonster to Grab Bag (38 answers total) 26 users marked this as a favorite
I'm not sure if this will be the most surprising or clever, but it would probably be amusing.

Do they like lobster to eat, by any chance? If so, send them a gift of a few live lobsters. Find someone local to do the sending, and toss your plastic lobster pal into the box. When they see the box, they'll probably assume it's just the plastic lobster coming for a visit. And then they'll pick up the box. And the box will move.

When this happened to my mom (minus the plastic lobster, just the live ones), she dropped the box and started screaming "it's alive!" It was quite hilarious.
posted by plaingurl at 6:56 PM on January 21, 2008

Hide it in their toilet.
posted by Corduroy at 6:59 PM on January 21, 2008

If you can go to there house and break something of theirs or buy them some sort of present that involves a delivery man, then you get him to sneak the lobster in. I'm not sure how close you are to them and what your relationship is, but I think getting some stranger in on it to sneak it in for you would be pretty cool.
posted by andoatnp at 7:00 PM on January 21, 2008

Best answer: If they work, talk one of their co-workers into letting you hide the lobster at their workstation. Put it next to the computer with a cup of coffee and a half-eaten donut. Maybe have some kind of lobster-related web site on the monitor when they arrive at work.

Or, you could put some metal rods in it and turn it into a lawn ornament for them without their knowledge.
posted by Hildago at 7:02 PM on January 21, 2008 [1 favorite]

Oooo plastic lobster games. I used to play this with my family. The best lobster prank I ever pulled was putting it in the freezer, then taking it out and putting it under my Dad's pillow. We had a 12" one, though. You might need to hide it at the bottom of a duvet or something.

Another idea is to wait until they go on vacation, then put it on a post and plant it as a lawn ornament.
posted by Eringatang at 7:03 PM on January 21, 2008

You could pull an Amelie, and with the help of a few Internet friends, have Mr. Lobster photographed in various parts of the world (Eiffel Tower, Taj Mahal, etc.). Send your family the photos in the mail.
posted by nitsuj at 7:05 PM on January 21, 2008

Put a real one in their mailbox, if they have one.

Seconding the toilet.
posted by C17H19NO3 at 7:05 PM on January 21, 2008

Can you get a hold of a bunch MORE? Ones that look just like it?

And then could you mail them the lobsters one after another? And tell them that they have to find the 'real' one - which you've cleverly made identifiable with a subtle yet unmistakable mark?

Or, instead of mailing (assuming you can get a bunch) can you make lawn decorations, a la flamingos?
posted by Dipsomaniac at 7:06 PM on January 21, 2008

I'm trying to think of some kind of food big enough to fit a 24" lobster inside ... Giant pot of gumbo? Wedding cake? Prize-winning watermelon hollowed out and somehow glued back together?

That's a big plastic lobster.
posted by ClaudiaCenter at 7:06 PM on January 21, 2008

Bury it in their backyard and send them a treasure map.
posted by frieze at 7:08 PM on January 21, 2008

disconnect the batter and put it under the hood.

put it in there bed, under the covers.

if can, go over their house like 5 minutes before they get home, but the lobster in the shower and turn on the water.

similar to above, but you cook them a meal and set the table with the lobster in a chair (on books of course) with a full plate setting. Bonus points for leaving half eaten food on it.

Leave it a winter coat.

Leave it in an umbrella.

Put it in front of their computer, with the mouse under a claw. Bonus points if it's on porn site.

Got some old family photos? take'em down, scan'em and digitally insert the lobster in a photo or two and the photos back where you got'em from.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:08 PM on January 21, 2008 [1 favorite]

Bury it in the garden, with one claw sticking out.

Hang it on a string in front of their front door.

Put it in a big plastic tub of water, freeze, cut away the tub, and then hide the huge ice-block in their fridge. If you boil the water first you should get a decent 'ice-man' look. (You could put their car keys in there as well as a bonus, but that's probably a bit too mean.) Alternatively, put it in jello. Or decorate it with cake icing.
posted by Paragon at 7:09 PM on January 21, 2008

Put a doll's bonnet on it and wrap it in a blanket, then put it in a basket. Leave it on your parents' doorstep.
posted by landedjentry at 7:10 PM on January 21, 2008 [6 favorites]

Hang it from fishing line to hang just outside their front door one night, so when they open the door first thing in the morning, they are eye to eye with said Lobster.

I can't decide if it will add to it, or detract, if it knocks on the door as the wind blows it around, or not.

As an extension of/alternative to this, make a (garden cane or something bendy) kind of sling thing with the Lobster on the end. Get a loop to hold the cane back against its own natural spring with the release controlled by a length of fishing line. Attach the fishing line to the front door somehow* and tie the Lobster to the end of the cane. When the door opens, it releases the cane, and the lobster bounces into view.

Alternatively, do much the same, but with the lobster on a pendulum length that will pass the front door opening. Release the lobster the same way - with a loop and stick. SCHWING!

If you are interested in this, one, a viable way of doing it cheaply and easily has sprung to mind. How much do you want to put into this? This may be good to keep as a finale, as I really like the 'sneaking it into work' idea.

*You wanted ideas, not solutions!
posted by Brockles at 7:10 PM on January 21, 2008

I'm with Corduroy: put it in the top shelf [ie: tank] of their toilet, where it will eventually cause a problem and be discovered, but hopefully not too soon.

Apart from that, any item that your family routinely buys in bulk [flour? rice? firewood?] is a prime location for an eventual lobster reveal.

In with the giftmas decorations is also fine at this time of year. Everyone will think the joke is forgotten until grimastime.
posted by Acari at 7:10 PM on January 21, 2008

Or, send them pictures of the lobster with a tiny gag around whatever passes for its mouth, tied to a chair, perched near a pot of boiling water, etc. Accompany these with magazine-cutout ransom notes.

....I did a similar thing to a teacher's shoe in high school, but after a few days I was peer-pressured out of it by my lame friends. This is much more fun.
posted by landedjentry at 7:12 PM on January 21, 2008 [2 favorites]

Don't saw it up! You might ruin the Prank Lobster forever.

Can you have a waiter deliver it to them on a plate at an anniversary dinner in a swank eatery?

Can you have the lobster "kidnapped" and send them dramatic cut-n-pasted ransom notes, showing photos of the lobster in scary situations?

Hide it under the cover of the barbecue grill.

Wrap it tightly in Saran Wrap, then dip it in chocolate: It's the Choc Lobster! Wrap and send it to them in a big red satin box with bow that looks vaguely at first like it will be proper Valentines chocolates.

I love the lobster-baby-basket and surprise-lobster-in-framed-family-photos ideas. And also that someone else played "hide the fake lobster" with their own family.
posted by pineapple at 7:16 PM on January 21, 2008

Can you get a hold of a bunch MORE?
posted by beagle at 7:30 PM on January 21, 2008

I would find out when they are going on vacation next time around. Mail the lobster to the hotel, explain the situation and have it brought up to the room with all the fixings and a note from you.
posted by bkeene12 at 7:31 PM on January 21, 2008 [1 favorite]

Put it on the dashboard of their locked car, with what appear to be the only set(s) of car keys dangling from its claws.

Wait until they call you, outraged, then tell them where you hid the real keys.
posted by Clyde Mnestra at 7:42 PM on January 21, 2008

Best answer: Mail it to them. No box, just affix postage and an address. Plasticwrap the lobstah first if you want to preserve the finish, but the USPS will deliver just about anything if it has proper postage, and i'm sure that's too big to go in their box. Someone's going to get a 'pick up at post office' slip, and have to accept it over the counter...
posted by pupdog at 7:43 PM on January 21, 2008 [3 favorites]

If the point of the game is pass the lobster, it's all about getting the lobster involved with whatever your family members are doing next. Are they going to a restaurant. Then, as someone suggested, tip the waitress to bring them the lobster. Are they going to the beach? Wrap the lobster in a beach tower. Are they headed to a movie? Talk to theater management about putting the lobster in the concessions area, with a price on it, or placing it in a bag of popcorn. Are they going to a football game? Talk the the stadium about having the lobster in the audience and shown on the jumbotron.

Of course, if you wanted to get a little off the beaten path with it, you could establish a Gmail account in the lobster's name and have the lobster begin sending them emails. You could subscribe to magazines in the lobster's name and have them delivered to your family's house. You could go to a local big box store and have a family portrait-type image taken of the lobster, and then put it onto a wall at your family's house when nobody's looking. Etc.
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:44 PM on January 21, 2008 [2 favorites]

I have nothing helpful to contribute, but I have to say that there are some GREAT ideas in this thread. Makes me want to have a plastic lobster of my own...
posted by Bella Sebastian at 7:47 PM on January 21, 2008

I just have to say the term "prank lobster" is the most awesome thing ever.

In our family, we had a wooden Indian carved by my grandfather that served much the same purpose as ol' Prank Lobster here.

Take them out for sushi and have the restaurant bring prank lobster out on a plate!
posted by at 7:48 PM on January 21, 2008

Have it delivered to their house in a box with a pizza for dinner one night.
posted by junkbox at 8:08 PM on January 21, 2008

Reed College has some long tradition where there is the Doyle Owl. The gist of it is that everybody wants it, and once you get it, you have to display it somewhere public. So students to great lengths to avoid it from getting re-stolen. Can you adapt that idea to put it somewhere both very public in their house, and yet very hard for them to get to or move?
posted by cschneid at 8:17 PM on January 21, 2008

A high-school friend of mine and I have engaged in a similar exchange of sorts -- featuring a bathing suit -- and after much back-and-forth exchanges in the early days, I think that the suit is now passed on only truly momentous occasions.

Struggling to come up with a good idea, I ended up holding onto the stupid thing for more than a year as an accident, lying to my friend that I must have lost it when she finally broke down and questioned me about its whereabouts. A few months later, I wrapped it in a lovely giftbox, and presented it to her upon her college graduation -- in front of all her relatives. I still don't think her grandparents understand. That was nearly five years ago ... I suspect she's been waiting all these years for my bridal shower and the chance to return the favor.
posted by acorn1515 at 8:24 PM on January 21, 2008 [1 favorite]

Send a stripper over. Have him insist he's at the correct address for the bachelorette party and start his routine. Of course, he's wearing the lobster as a codpiece.
posted by hydrophonic at 9:34 PM on January 21, 2008 [1 favorite]

You missed the time frame for this but... switching out the xmas tree topper, if they're the tree types.

Also, if any of them garden (and there's no dog), you can always half bury the lobster there for an eventual reveal.
posted by ruevian at 11:28 PM on January 21, 2008

French movie joke: if you are friends with a flight assistant, an airline pilot or someone who travels frequently and extensively, I'd just give her/him the lobster and have her/him send postcards/pictures of the lobster in front of some recognizable landmark from around the world. Possibly signed "The Lobster".
posted by _dario at 12:53 AM on January 22, 2008

I think it is weird that we have also passed a lobster back and forth with our parents and there are at least three of us just in this thread who have done that. Ours sang, a la Billy the Bass -- it was a hideously awful Christmas present until we started torturing each other with it.

Why lobsters?

We liked to stick it into other things when packing their car after a visit, or hide it under the blanket in their trunk -- it was a visit-based prank, and the only thing we had to ensure was that they found it after we'd left/they'd left. Do they have pockets on the back of the car's front seats? Do they have neighbors who would help you out? Neighbors can be very helpful in preserving the element of surprise, we found.
posted by Hey, Cupcake! at 5:02 AM on January 22, 2008

Have their religious leader (if there is one) hand it to them during a religious ceremony. A nice donation might make this happen.
posted by probablysteve at 7:32 AM on January 22, 2008

Post "Have you seen me?" flyers around their neighborhood with a photo of the lobster. In the "last seen with" section, include a bizarre and potentially embarrassing photo of your parents. Arrange for them to find the lobster in their basement or attic all tied up and duct taped.
posted by letahl at 7:38 AM on January 22, 2008

If they have one of the pull down attic ladder doors you can get it up there such that the next time they pull it down the lobster tumbles down and attacks.
posted by langeNU at 8:11 AM on January 22, 2008 [1 favorite]

Inside a pillowcase. We used to do the same thing with several ugly objects with family friends of ours. One was a full-sized popporri "pie" (yes, looked like a pie), and the other was a really bizarre set of weighted cloth ducks. We put the pie everywhere we could find, and the ducks were hung from nooses outside their house.
posted by agregoli at 8:22 AM on January 22, 2008 [1 favorite]

* Get your lobster a toupee, fake moustache, and sunglasses, and have him notify your parents that he's on the run from the mob or in the witness protection program.

* Put the lobster in an empty computer tower that looks similar to your parents' computer. Hide their computer and put the lobster computer in its place.

* Get a giant teddy bear, open up a seam, pull out enough stuffing to fit the lobster inside, and hand sew the bear shut again.

* Get another lobster to be your current lobster's boyfriend or girlfriend that current lobster is anxious to introduce to the parents.

* Glue the lobster to the ceiling over your parents' bed, like an insect scurrying across the ceiling.

* Even better--find out when your parents' next dental appointment is and get the dentist's permission to attach the lobster to the ceiling over the dental chair.
posted by happyturtle at 11:24 AM on January 22, 2008 [1 favorite]

My friend and I used to do this with plastic spiders what follows in no particular order was the best places to discover things (not all may apply to you due to size differences):

glove compartment
jacket pockets
toilet tank (don't ask how long that one sat there)
shower (complete with small shower cap)
ice bin in freezer
in a very dilapidated box, sent via slow banana boat from Korea (complete with weird postage, and customs forms)
Polaroid of spider duct taped to small chair with ransom note

Seconding: attic door, stripper, witness protection program.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 12:21 PM on January 22, 2008

this is great. long ago, me & a classmate passed a nasty pink gardeing glove back and forth for several months, these jokes rock. i suggest you....

send the lobster to their friends' house before the next time the friends have your folks over for dinner. arrange it all by phone- have the hosting friends present the lobster in some really dramatic way- "serve" it for dinner under a dome- or put it somewhere your folks will stumble upon it themselves- maybe in a beer cooler during a BBQ or something?- or else have them place it nochalantly in their house, and not say anything til your parents notice it.

have it placed into the fish tank at a chinese or seafood restaurant then take your folks there for dinner. arrange with the waiter to seat you near the tank, then wait til they see it.

i had my friend's roommate hide the glove in his box of oreos, at the back- can you get the lobster into a seemingly sealed package of food or something? maybe a big box of frozen meat or a case of beer? a huge bag of nachos? oh- how 'bout in the centre of a 36-roll package of toilet paper? to do this, just slit the back bottom of the package, remove some contents to make space for the lobster, then use shiny clear sellotape to seal it back up. people tend to look at the front/top of a package when they open it, so they won't notice the breach. hide it in a big bag of yard soil, or manure fertilizer? in a roll of sod? under the pool tarp?

what if you stick it to the ceiling in the living room, or tie it to a hanging plant or light fixture? they might not notice it for days- hilarious.

or, oh oh-- can you get one parent in on the joke, and dress the lobster up as "the other parent" (tiny wig, mustache, glasses, little pajamas, etc) and put it in appropriate side of the bed while the pranked parent is asleep? mom wakes up & rolls over to see a "dad lobster"!
posted by twistofrhyme at 5:07 PM on January 22, 2008

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