SALT LAKE CITY — Nick Garrett and his northern Utah buddies know how to kid around, from burying a treasure chest filled with chocolate coins on Venice Beach to doing flips off the roof of a house into what they call the "World's Biggest Pile of Leaves."
Three of their YouTube videos have gone viral, generating a little cash for them and even laughs from those who need it most — victims of Hurricane Sandy.
"I got chills when I read one," Garrett said of an email response to a Halloween prank that involved carrying around their own door, bringing "reverse trick-or-treating" to people's doorsteps.
He said the email from a Sandy victim suggested the three pranksters may just be having fun, "but you're cheering up everyone that's having a hard time."
It's easy to laugh watching 21-year-old Garrett, of Ogden, and his friends do back flips and cartwheels into a giant leaf pile that grew to 17 feet high and 60 feet in circumference.
Video of the stunt already has been viewed 1.5 million times, and it was only posted Sunday night.
Similarly, their Venice Beach caper caught 1.8 million views on their "bangakang" YouTube channel — the name a takeoff from Peter Pan and the lost boys who never want to grow up and yell bangarang. With bangarang already taken, they opted for something close.
Garrett, Weber State buddy Tyler White, 22, and carpet-cleaning friend Johnny Murdock, 25, were putting up fliers for their channel when they noticed all the bags of leaves on the streets awaiting the garbage man.
They rented a huge truck and started their own collection Nov. 8, picking up more than 1,200 bags and raking the yards of three or four houses around Logan themselves.
They dumped the estimated 20,000 pounds of leaves at a friend's house in nearby Roy, and the following weekend pulled an all-nighter building the giant pile.
"We've never done anything like that, but in high school we'd always do crazy stuff," said Garrett, who attends Utah State University. "It's every kid's dream to have a giant pile of leaves."
By the time they were done, friends and family members couldn't resist diving in, or jumping off the roof into the pile.
"No one got lost, no one got hurt," Garrett said. "It was all good fun."
The same could be said about their Memorial Day Weekend prank to bury a treasure chest on California's Venice Beach in the middle of the night. The next day, they went back with a metal detector and had close to 200 beach-goers believing they had found something precious as they dug out the chest.
"Once we threw it open and everyone ran to take the gold, they realized it was chocolate and started screaming and cheering," Garrett said.
The laughs were priceless. But the stunt drew 1.8 million views on YouTube, earning them a few thousand dollars in ad revenue.Comment on this story
Ditto for the Halloween prank in which they took the door off Garrett's closet, put up a sign that read "Please knock," then went house to house, getting others to "answer" their door.
"It was super-confusing and we got some weird looks, but everyone was happy," Garrett said. "Parents used to handing out candy actually were getting their own candy."
That video had 500,000 views, including some from victims of the monster hurricane that hit the East Coast two days earlier.
"Their Halloween and Thanksgiving were kind of ruined, but they said we helped cheer them up and lighten their hearts a little," Garrett said.