Boo Fail

I’ve written about Boo Baskets before. But I have an update.

For the first time in 5 years, we got caught.

Boo Baskets are not a thing in Southern Oregon. When I texted the moms of the four families we picked to tell them we would come a’booing, I found myself explaining the entire concept, four times.

My friend Leah—and she’s six months pregnant so I’m going to cut her some slack—didn’t tell her husband. Which led to this:

Leah’s house has enormous front windows. They also own a huge English Bulldog named Ozzy. The house sits a block from the town football stadium–I’ll take responsibility for choosing a Friday night when their street was packed with cars, mostly driven by mostly sober teenagers.

We had a strategy session in the car after we cruised the house. It was decided Shea would man the getaway car, the girls and I would hide behind Leah’s minivan and Gabe would do the real sneaking.

We neglected to notice the fence around the front yard to keep Ozzy in. And the screen door that swings instead of shuts so that he can get in and out.

Gabe made it to the door and back the first time, no problem, except that nothing happened.

“Did you ring the doorbell?” I whispered. He smacked his forehead and went back. I remembered too late that Leah told me the doorbell doesn’t work so I had to send him back a third time. “Knock loud!” I told him over the minivan.

And he did.

He barely made it back to the minivan before we heard the door squeak open and closed. Usually this is followed by “Hey, look what we got!” but this time there was nothing. Dead silence. So Gabe peeked. I wish I had a picture of the terror in his eyes when he came back down. He pointed, mouthed “A MAN” and then made himself into a tiny ball.

Well, dang. Sure enough when I looked around the corner,  I saw a man who I hoped to God was Leah’s husband crouched around the other side of the minivan, preparing to launch himself right where Annie was hiding.

He wasn’t wearing his Welcome to my house face either.

So first I got big and then I got loud:  “Hi! I’m Jen. You must be Jason! Did Leah tell you we were coming?”

He shook his head no, and you best believe I noticed that he didn’t actually speak to me. So I shoved Annie out where he could see her and pulled Kate–who, bless my smart girl, was already talking as fast as she could about her “great friend Ella”.

It took thirty seconds of explaining before his jaw relaxed, but then he was all in.

“Knock again” he told Gabe. “I’ll make sure the girls answer the door.”

Down we crouched and off Gabe went, for the fifth time in case you’re keeping score at home.

We heard the girls answer the door and find the basket. Squeals of excitement. The it got quiet. Gabe peeked, nodded that the coast was clear and I grabbed Annie’s hand and stood up.

To a chorus of screaming.

Ella and Anna came around the corner just as I moved and caught us stone cold.

Ozzy came out the gate and peed on my foot, he was so excited to see me.

(Later I told Gabe he was lucky that Ozzy must have been somewhere else, or we would have gotten caught the first time.

“He was right there, mom. He saw me. He wagged his tail like he was excited.”


At this point we had been gone so long that Shea came up the street to find out what the heck was going on, and that is how we met Jason, Leah’s husband.

Leah was not at home.

Best laid plans and all that.

For a reminder of how Booing works go here. Or Google it. There’s lots of cute ideas out there.

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