6 DIY Leprechaun Traps to Make St. Patrick's Day Even More Festive

These simple leprechaun traps are like Elf on the Shelf for St. Patrick's Day—but they're way less work.

Santa Claus has cookies and milk. The Tooth Fairy has pretty tooth-shaped pillows. But for decades, all poor St. Patty had was pinching. Now, thanks to the best-selling children's book How to Catch a Leprechaun ($10, Barnes & Noble), there's a fun way to excite your little ones over St. Patrick's Day: leprechaun traps.

The tradition is similar to Elf on the Shelf at Christmastime but with way less work for Mom and Dad. Rather than moving an elf to a new location each night, you set up a leprechaun trap the night before St. Patrick's Day. If you wake up to find gold coins or treasure in the trap, you'll know you've caught a leprechaun.

The best part about this tradition is that it can be easily executed by the kids—all you have to do is add the coins once they're asleep (unless a leprechaun beats you to it). To start this tradition with your family, grab a copy of the book How to Catch a Leprechaun to learn a bit about St. Patrick's Day and to educate the kids on leprechaun-catching. Then set them loose with craft supplies! Check out a few of our favorite versions to inspire your own DIY leprechaun trap.

Rainbow Road Leprechaun Trap

Every leprechaun knows that at the end of a rainbow, there's sure to be a pot of gold. Borrow this idea from Harli of Ms. Harli's Honeys: Lay down a sheet of rainbow-striped paper ($12 for a 12-pack, Walmart) for leprechauns to follow, then let the kids decorate the sides of a box covered in green paper. Prop it up with a wooden skewer cut in half. When a leprechaun comes to steal your pot of gold, the box will fall, trapping him inside.

Leprechaun Garden

A secret trap door is a sneaky way to catch a leprechaun. Build a ladder of painted green crafts sticks, then mount it against a small box (like the wooden one seen above). Cover the top with bright colored paper in hopes that a curious leprechaun will climb the ladder and fall in. Tonya Staab decorated her scene with free printable signs from book publisher Harper Collins to make the trap even more enticing.

Cozy House Leprechaun Trap

Kids will love decorating this adorable DIY leprechaun trap, made by Jess from Everyday Party Magazine. Help them paint a small wooden birdhouse in a rainbow of colors and allow it to dry. Place the house on a decorative platter, surrounded by chocolate coins and sparkly foam dots (available at crafts stores). Print out or make your own colorful rainbow on cardstock and attach it to the roof of your trap to attract leprechauns by the dozen.

Green top hat made from green paper and
Courtesy of The Suburban Soapbox

Green Top Hat Leprechaun Trap

There's nothing like the promise of free gold to lure a leprechaun to your trap. Kellie from The Suburban Soapbox made the festive hat out of green poster board, then topped it with a pipe-cleaner rainbow (complete with cotton ball clouds!) and a black pot filled with gold candy—aka individually-wrapped Rolos ($7, Target). We're loving the ladder made from green paper straws, too.

"Gold Inside" Leprechaun Trap

This DIY leprechaun trap, courtesy of Mrs. Henry in First, uses recycled materials to attract a leprechaun. The shipping box balances on a cardboard tube covered in rainbow stripes and attached to a string. When the leprechaun steps inside the box, a simple tug on the string will trap him. If your kids awake to find the box face-down on the ground with gold coins inside, they'll know the trap worked!

Leprechaun trap made from brown cardboard box
Courtesy of Modern Parents Messy Kids

Leprechaun Trap Box

This homemade leprechaun trap is super easy to make. Steph from Modern Parents Messy Kids transformed a plain brown box with a stripe of green paint, sparkly shamrocks, and a pipe-cleaner rainbow. Chipboard boxes like this one are inexpensive and can be found at most crafts stores, so why not buy a trap for each child to decorate?

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What should you put in the trap to lure a leprechaun in?

    Leprechauns are curious creatures, so the most effective leprechaun trap is one that tempts them with color, riches, or treats. Fill your leprechaun trap with rainbow-hued goodies, something green, or the promise of shiny gold.

  • What should a leprechaun leave behind?

    Many people choose to have leprechauns leave something related to gold behind, like gold coins or gold foil-wrapped chocolate. Really though, leprechauns can leave whatever kind of treat your family or children like best, whether that's a certain candy bar or fresh cookies.

  • When do leprechauns visit your home?

    Lore states that leprechauns pay a visit to families the eve before St. Patrick's Day, which is traditionally celebrated on March 17. The only rule: Everyone must be sleeping for the leprechaun to visit!

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