How to be a Crazy Uncle and Mess with Kids’ Heads

Every family has a “Crazy Uncle Bob”.  He’s the bachelor with no kids of his own, and he’s basically a big kid himself.

All the kids identify with Crazy Uncle Bob, and he’ll play with them for hours, getting them all wound up and hyper.

And JUST when the chaos is at a maximum…JUST when it’s bedtime…JUST when the over-stimulated rug-rats are on the verge of having a major meltdown…THAT’S when Crazy Uncle Bob bails out and says goodbye, and leaves the parents to deal with the situation.

I myself happen to be a Crazy Uncle Bob (or Crazy Uncle Friar, if you prefer).

And it wasn’t a role that I chose.   It was a CALLING.

It’s my SWORN DUTY to spread love and chaos, and to undermine parental authority.

Because that’s what Crazy Uncles do, you know.

Anyway, without any further ado,  here are some of my time-tested Crazy Uncle Friar techniques for messing with kids’ heads.



Pick up a kid so his feet don’t touch the ground and tell him to “JUMP, BOY! JUMP!”.   Of course, they’ll try.   But (as per Newton’s Third First Law), since there’s nothing to push against, the kid goes nowhere.  (If they’re under four years old, this’ll really confuse the hell outta them!)

If a kid’s small enough, put them on a blanket, fold it up like a sack, and sling it over your shoulder.   Announce loudly to the whole household that you’re “taking out the garbage” and you’re throwing it outside for the raccoons to eat.     (Warning:  This plan might backfire, though, because the little beggars will think this is so funny,  they’ll ask you to do this again and again…and again and again…).

When partaking in horseplay, body slam a toddler.  (Well, not really, but pretend to….).   They’ll squeal with delight at the concept of being “SQUISHED FLAT” by a 200 lb. adult.

If you’re a big guy, take a heavy object that a little kid can’t possibly lift (like a large brick).   Pick it up an toss it around like it’s paperweight.   Make a big deal how strong you are…they’ll think you’re Superman.

Offer to feed kids fictitious awful meals, like Lima-bean milkshakes with raw onion juice.   Ask them is this is what they’d like for breakfast.   (“Nooooooo!!!!!”).

Take a random word.  Any word.  Something a kid would never use.  (For example:  Internal Combustion Engine, Bogus, Magnolia).   Repeat it loudly,  over and over, getting all excited when you do so.  Soon their little brains will pattern on the word and they’ll start repeating it everywhere (much to the parents’ delight).  If you do it right, they’ll be saying your favorite word for not just weeks, but YEARS afterward. (I’m not joking, I’ve seen his happen!)

If the kids are old enough, start poking fun of at their Politically-Correct cartoons.   Seven-year-olds, for example, will delight in your observations that Caillou has such a large head, it should be a light bulb.  In fact, whey don’t they attach a basket to Caillou’s head, and use it like a hot air balloon?  (This is a guaranteed comedy classic!)

Shake your head from side to side, and growl like a big old grizzly bear.  For some reasons, kids imprint on this…even new-born infants.   In fact, I’ve had toddlers as young as 18 months try to imitate my bear impressions.   (It’s hilarious trying to watch them bob their head…they just don’t have the muscle coordination yet!)

Talk to kids like Foghorn Leghorn.  They love it.  “Whassa matter, BOY?   Don’t you have any sense, BOY?  You gotta keep your EYE on the BALL…get it?   EYE-BALL.  Thassa JOKE, son!”

They also love it when you point at them and quote Hank Hill“That boy AIN’T RIGHT!”

Buy a five-year-old a Lego playset requiring him to assemble thousands of pieces…THAT’LL keep them occupied!  (It will, too…the kid’ll probably put it together faster than the grown-ups can!)

Buy toys that encourage agression.    Hell, little boys are going to act like little storm-trooper berserkers anyway, so you might as well give them an outlet.  Toys R Us has foam swords and shields. I once bought some for my nephews (aged 2 and 4).  The 2-year-old instantly started wailing on his brother, screaming “BAYNH-YOW…BAYNH-YOW…BAYNH-YOW..!”   It was a huge hit.

Forget lame-ass cartoons like Caillou and the Urinestain Bears.    It’s time to teach the kids about falling anvils and exploding cats.    Buy them a box DVD set of Bugs Bunny cartoons for their birthday.   The earlier, the better.

Instruct them to scream as loud as they can.   The parents will really love the noise.   While you’re at it, take a snapshot of the screeching banshees with their mouths open all the way to the tonsils. (I’ve done this too!).   Ah…what a treasured photo to put on the mantelpiece, and admire for years to come.


Every visit must have a mandatory WWF wrestling match in the living room.   It’s even better if the kids ask you to “catch them”.  You dont’ really have to run after them.  Just let them do laps around the house and growl “RAHHHR” every time they zoom buy.     It burns off a lot of their pent-up energy, it does.  (Just try not to break any lamps).

As an added bonus, hide behind a wall.  Next time they run by, jump out and yell out “AAAAAGGGH!!!”  and scare them out of two years’ growth.    Their high-pitched scream will equal the frequency of squeaky-rubber shoes on a gynasium floor.  But by the next lap, they’ll beg for more!

On Easter, parents will try to get the kids to eat right.   Don’t let them.   As a Crazy Uncle, it’s your duty to buy them the biggest honkin’ Easter Bunny in the store.    Just watch the little ruffians chow down on the chocolate, like starving kids gulping down bread.    The sugar buzz that follows will be AWESOME!

(Just make sure you get out of Dodge before the sugar crash, though!)

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23 Comments on “How to be a Crazy Uncle and Mess with Kids’ Heads”

  1. Alright, this was just plain awesome. Now, all I need is the crazy aunt with a niece version. Please. Please. Please!

  2. Ed Says:

    Very similar to grandparents revenge! Hmmm. I wonder if this is why neither of my kids have kids yet?

  3. You know what happens when you marry the crazy uncle? You live with this stuff going on in your house none stop for the rest of your life.

    what was I thinking? It’s fun…but loud…very, very loud…

    Friar, you and John have SO much in common…

  4. Betsy Says:

    Don’t forget: Purchase no toy that doesn’t make loud noise. Drum sets preferred. 🙂

  5. Steph Says:

    Every kid needs a crazy uncle or aunt. Their parents don’t let them do ANYTHING!!

    My sister is always wailing about how much I spoil the kids. One of their favourites is to sit on a blanket and I gather the edges and whirl them around on the hardwood floor.

    Friar: are you good with all kids, or just your nieces and nephews? (I only let go with my nieces and nephews or some friends’ kids if they’re really crazy and not shy themselves; otherwise, I’m not a kid person at all.) Have you thought of being a Big Brother?

  6. Writer Dad Says:

    You would be a great uncle for my little ones. Right now, their crazy Uncle Bob is their grammy, who is at least your crazy Uncle Bob squared.

  7. Beth Partin Says:

    I love the first cartoon. Crazy Uncle is a man of great strength.

  8. Brett Legree Says:

    This is pretty funny, because it’s a true rendition of the real Friar!

    My kids are *still* drawing Garpak as a result of you showing them last winter!!!

  9. Friar Says:

    Aww….I’m only an expert on the Crazy Uncle Stuff. Though I suspect much of the Crazy Aunt stuff would be similar.

    Hmm..does this mean you’re a potential Crazy Grampa?

    Heh heh. John sounds like my kind of guy.

    Imagine us in a room TOGETHER with the screaming kids!

    GOOD ONE! 🙂 I dont’ know why I didnt’ write that one down.
    If not a drum, then an obnoxious gun or something (I once gave out electronic space guns…ZZZZZap! ZZZZZap!

    Unfortunately (or fortunately), I’m this way with ALL kids. It’s a natural born talent.

    I’m also this way with dogs…they go insane when I’m around. (If I visit you, I’m sure I’ll get Lucy going haywire!) YAP YAP YAP.

    @Writer Dad
    I envy your kids. My Grandma was kind of boring and quiet. (It this the same Grammy, by the way that taught your two-year old to say “I WANT BEER!” ?

    That’s another Crazy Uncle Friar Trick (but you gotta be strong). Hold your arm out, and have the kid swing from it like a tree branch (I can do this for kids up to four..after that, they’re too heavy)

    Wow…I showed them a Garpak cartoon in ONE afternoon, and they’re still drawing it, 6 months later.

    I musta really IMPRINTED on them! 😀

    Next time I’m at your house, I’ll have to draw one on the fridge.

  10. Beth Partin Says:

    Darn! I don’t have too many nieces and nephews under 4 to practice your trick on! There might be a couple in Texas…

  11. Friar Says:


    Acutally, I only have two biological nephews, and a step-niece, and that’s it for immediate family.

    But I’ve an “Honorary” Uncle with at least six other kids. If you bond with a kid early enough in their life, they’ll follow you forever.

  12. This is fantastic — especially the ‘load them up on chocolate’ part!

    We live across the country from our nephews, so when we send them things like swords and loud toys, we don’t have to deal with the evil looks from their parents 😉

  13. Friar Says:


    Ahh…yes. The distant relative scenario…buy them gifts from afar..and let the parents deal with it! 😀

  14. veredd Says:

    I used to have a crazy uncle, until my aunt kicked him out.

    I miss him.


  15. Friar Says:


    Aww…I’m sorry. 😦

    That’s probably why we Crazy Uncles are single…because we’re crazy! 😉

  16. Kelly Says:


    I realize you were looking in a mirror, but you painted an exact portrait of my Uncle Richie. He waited until he was… until later to get married and have young’uns of his own, and he was (is) the best bear-growlin’, tickle-huggin’, chocolate-bringin’, growth-scarin’ uncle ever.

    He also bought me many awesome literary-type books, which I suspect was penance so my mother wouldn’t hate him. So I got my fear of large bearded men in flannel and my love of Louisa May Alcott, among others, from the same softhearted dude.

    Like Wendi, said, when you choose to marry one… let’s just say his kids were NUTS when they were small, and his wife is a SAINT.

    You gave me a big smile of nostalgia with this one!



  17. Friar Says:


    Your Uncle Richie is the kind of guy I wanna meet and drink a few beer with! (Can he come to the Thursday Beer night with me and Brett?)

  18. Kelly Says:

    My father and all his brothers INVENTED beer nights. Now they’re shackled, mellowed, and grandparents, every one, but Richie is still a kick, and most of them would still drive to Canada for a beer if there was something wrong with the taps in good ol’ New England. 🙂

  19. Amy Derby Says:

    My crazy uncle used to do “THE BIRDS, THE BIRDS.” I’m scarred for life to this day…. Tickling also still skeeves me out.

    Amy, the traumatized 😉

  20. Friar Says:


    Yeah, some Crazy Uncles are Crazy, but not necessarily in a FUN way.

    I used to have one who tickled me a lot. He treated it like a big joke….but I never really enjoyed it. I learned to avoid sitting next to him.

    But I don’ think I’m scarred…(I hope???) 😉

  21. Friar Says:


    Tell Richie to get his arse down to Splat Creek, and come have a few pints with Brett and the Friar!

  22. blueduckcopy Says:

    OK, now I know where my brother gets this stuff. Is there like a handbook or something? I think he’s done like 80% of these things to my kids! he also buys them electronic drum sets, million piece puzzles, and BB guns! He taught them he O-H-I-O cheer at the dinner table, now they stand in their chairs and yell it every Sat, over and over, for the length of the game.

  23. Friar Says:

    @blue duck

    Being from Canada, I don’t know the O-H-I-O cheer, but I’ll take your word for it that it’s obnoxious it when kids scream it! Tell your brother I approve!

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