The following is my all time favorite cheap thing to do on a random weeknight. I’m fairly convinced that 90% of what is wrong with the world today could be solved if grownups would simply remember how, and find time, to play. This week’s thrill is offered with the intention to ignite that dormant spirit of playfulness. Go forth and be goofballs.

Here’s your plan:

Step 1: Choose a target. Ideally, an easy going friend or couple or collection of friends who live near you, have a front door with at least a few feet of yard in front of it, and might be willing to engage in some shenanigans.

Step 2: Choose an accomplice. Who wants to run around in the middle of the night on a school night making mischief by themselves? Plus, having an accomplice doubles your buying budget.

Step 3: Head to your local Dollar Store. If you don’t have a Dollar Store, a Walgreen’s or Fred Meyer or Rite Aid will usually do. Find the toy aisle and locate the army men – you know, the cheap little plastic ones kids used to play with way back before Nintendo DS. At the Dollar Store, you should be able to purchase a package of 100 army men (or firefighters or police officers if you’re the pacifist type) for $1. Buy five. We’re maxing out the budget on this one. If you have an accomplice, this would be the best time to use them and their five dollars and buy 10 packs of army men.

Step 4: Giggle a little. This whole thing is very silly.

Step 5: Don’t miss this step: OPEN ALL THE PLASTIC BAGS OF ARMY MEN and put them into one big, soft, canvas bag. Crinkly plastic negates any and all efforts to be sneaky.

Step 6: Go time. Wait until you suspect your targets are sleeping and set up a battle in their front yard. Aim all the men at the door if you want to be belligerent, or create two armies and have them war with each other. If it’s windy, curse a few times as you fail to get the darn dudes to stand up on their own. Get creative. Put them in mailboxes, suspend them in midair, line them up in patterns or spell words. Let the spirit move you.

Step 7: Stand back and admire your work. Take a picture in case a squirrel or cat knocks the whole display over and you need to prove how awesome and artistic your original concept was.

Step 8: Try not to say anything doofy to your friends the next day like: “So, how was YOUR morning? Anything unUsual happen?” so as not to have the spotlight of suspicion aimed squarely at your forehead. Though, if you’re me, you’re the first one they’ll blame anyway.

Step 9: Sit back and wait for your target to retaliate. Reduce, reuse, and recycle those little guys. Spread the love through your social circle. Attack each other. It’s what friends do.

Go play. And send me pictures if you do. 🙂


  • Jeanne July 21, 2010 at 6:37 am

    >I love this idea! I did something sort of similar when I was in college. My BFF and I knew where another friend kept his key, so we broke into his house, made him cookies, did all his dishes and totally rearranged all of the furniture in his room, adding girly touches here and there. Somehow it was one of the funniest nights ever. Your idea sounds even better. awesome.

  • Tamara July 21, 2010 at 11:02 am

    >Dear Karyn,You have turned me into a monster and I have set in place a plan for this very evening. Pics to follow on my blog I am sure.Tam

  • Shannon July 21, 2010 at 12:17 pm

    >yes! army men madness will take over the city! if i could figure out how to post a picture in the comment section, i'd post a ton right now. but alas, i have no idea…too bad the wind claimed so many of our soldiers last time.

  • Lisa P July 21, 2010 at 4:52 pm

    >This is great…my sister will crack up!

  • Joy Eggerichs July 22, 2010 at 10:39 am

    >I love all things war. I saw the pictures of when you did it to Chris's house. well, I can only assume it was you now that this blog is screaming "guilty!" (-:

  • Erika July 22, 2010 at 4:45 pm

    >Love this. Sharing your blog with my friends 😉