The pranksters had been hiding near a small New Jersey park and saying hello to passersby, which some residents found pretty funny. Others wanted them arrested.
All photos by Joe Brown
Locals strolling through a quaint, riverside park in Rahway, New Jersey, started to notice something strange going on in the nearby bushes in recent weeks. Occasionally, the shrubs would move and sometimes they appeared to speak.
On closer inspection, the parkgoers realized that the bushes weren't actually bushes—they were a couple of teenagers in an elaborate disguise. Turns out two kids who were bored after school decided to don a pair of ghillie suits, burrow in a patch of brambles, and pop out to spook the folks who walked by. Sometimes they'd even pose for a quick photo:
"I don't think it's a good idea to scare people in a public places, I saw [these] guys in the park and honestly I got scared and felt really uncomfortable!!!" one resident said. "I go to the park to relax not to be scarred for fun by some lunatic... do it on your property please."
"Don't need these 2 lunatics running around scaring people," another wrote. "Try getting a life asshole."
Soon the Rahway Community Voice Facebook page, once a place to talk about new restaurants and people who don't clean up after their dogs, spiraled into an all-out battleground between those for and against the "Rahway Bushmen." According to their own Facebook page, the duo hoped "to bring smiles and joy to people, to bring people together." Some residents agreed, praising the masked teens for blessing the town with some "good ole fashion pranking."
Rahway resident Rose Northcott, who ran into the Bushmen last weekend, told VICE the teens were totally harmless.
"All of a sudden I heard two bushes just randomly start talking to each other," Northcott said. "At first I thought my mind was just playing games with me, and then all of a sudden one of them stood up."
"All he did was say 'hi,'" Northcott added. "It was the funniest thing that ever happened to me."
Soon, though, someone in the community reported them to the cops, and the Union County Police Department upped the number of officers patrolling the park where the walking, talking bushes were doing their thing, according to NJ.com. The county's public information officer, Sebastian D'Elia, said the teens would be arrested if the cops ever spotted them again.
"It's great until the first person falls and sues the county," D'Elia said. "We never advise anyone to do anything of this nature."
The warning seemed to scare the pranksters pretty good. They gave an "exclusive" interview with local resident Joe Brown, keeping their faces out of the frame as they shared their side of story. They ultimately decided to call off the prank.
"It's more or less an idea to try to make people smile," one told Brown. "Stop being afraid of people wanting to have fun."
While it doesn't look like the leafy duo will be around to give people a good scare this Halloween, they may make a return appearance before the year is up.
"If we can find lights we may come back as Christmas trees," one wrote on the Facebook page. "We'll see what we can come up with."
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