During the family beach trips of my childhood, we became very ritualistic. We would have a go-cart night, a night of pizza on the beach, a night of miniature golf, and so on. At least one night, we would organize an event we called "Crabbing."
To go "crabbing", you need some flashlights, a large box and a group of crazy kids. My cousins and I fit the bill perfectly.
We would wait until sundown, and then head out toward the beach. The adults would follow behind, because apparently it's fun to watch your children make fools of themselves on the beach.
When the sun goes down, sand crabs of various sizes sneak out of their holes and run around looking for food. Those poor little unsuspecting suckers.
When a crab was spotted on the beach, we would frantically run down the beach - using our flashlights to spotlight it - and chase it until it froze in horror. Then we would throw sand on it, scoop it up and throw it into the box.
This activity requires two levels of bravery. First, picking up a crab is not easy. In case you didn't know, they are more than willing to pinch the daylights out of your fingers - or anything else they can get hold of. Second, the person carrying the box ends up with a bunch of angry crabs scrambling to get out. And some of them can climb. That person doesn't have enough hands to carry a flashlight too, so you can just imagine that hearing a bunch crabs scrambling to get out doesn't make you feel very warm & fuzzy.
After we caught about thirty, we would turn the box over. Then the crabs would take off in all directions. Inevitibly, my uncle Mike would sneak up behind one of us or even the adults - blade of grass in hand - and poke at his victim's ankles (imititating a stray crab). That trick never failed to get his chosen victim, and he always got a big kick out of the ensuing panic.
So next time your family goes to the beach and can't think of anything to do one night - grab a box and head out to the shore.
(BTW - Daily Post Prewritten - I'm on Vacation!)