Matchbox Switch

Stories have the power to engage your imagination and sometimes even scare you. It depends on your willingness to suspend disbelief. Try this out with nothing more than a matchbox.

Guide lines
Ready, Steady, Go!

Pull out a matchbox and show it to someone.


I don’t know, I read this on the Internet… maybe you can help me out?

Asking for help should lure them.

Lend me your ears

Pull out two matches and position them so they’re sticking out the matchbox like two antenna alongside one another. Place a third match sticking out the box on the other side.


I saw this online tutorial that shows you how to make a plug switch out of wood… but I don’t get it because it should be impossible… it’s wood, right?

Shake the box to confirm that it’s just a regular matchbox.


But if I place two matches this side as the plug pins, one out the back as the switch…

Adjust the back match as if it’s a switch.


Which means this side is on, this side is off.

When it’s off you can touch the pins, should I touch it?

Your onlooker will probably give you the go-ahead. Cautiously touch the pins with no effect.


It’s off so there’s no electricity running through…

Get them to touch it to confirm that it’s off.

Seal the Deal and Reveal

Now move the box away from them and push the ‘switch’ to the other side.


But this is the “on” side, and once it’s on you shouldn’t touch the pins.

Pretend to be a little nervous as it is now “switched on”.


Are you game to touch the pins again?

Your onlooker might apprehensively get closer to touching the pins, but before they do… suddenly move the “plug” closer to their fingers and makes a loud buzzing sound.

They should quickly retract their hand with caution.

Some extra lines you can try

  • I know, it’s really shocking.
Looks like you’ve met your match.
The power of imagination, it’s electrifying.
Alternative ending

Find a new person to try it out on, using the first person as your ally.

Get your ally to pretend to get shocked by the matches during the demo, then ask the new onlooker if they’re still game to touch it.

Anticipated responses and retorts

Do you have an electric personality?

That was shockingly punny, er, funny.

Do you ever wet your bed?

I see I have met my match.

Does that work with safety matches?

Only if you are earthed.
Good follow ups
When & where
When to use it
  • When you want to draw someone’s attention.
  • When you want to keep the curiosity going.
  • When you want to create some intrigue.
Where to use it
  • the canteen
  • informal gatherings
  • team building events
  • at a coffee shop
  • socializing at the bar
Getting ready
Items required
  • A box of matches
  • Take out 3 matches and make a 2-pin looking plug and an on/off switch.
Training required
  • Get your acting skills honed.
Watch out (potential unexpected effects)
  • You may give people a wee fright.

type type

Do It Yourself (DIY)

material material

a matchbox

size size

should fit in your pocket

durability durability

if you don’t smoke it should last longer

source source

a friend

time to impact time to impact

pretty much there and then

size of audience size of audience

best as a one-on-one

possible health risk possible health risk

don’t scare anyone

reusable how many times you can use it

probably just once

training needed training needed

you may need to get your story and act down pat

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