The notion of having a family code word so that children can safely identify who is actually here to pick them up and who is bluffing has been around for a very long time.
My parents never bothered to come up with a family code word for my sister and I because if my mother had to work late for one reason or another, we simply stayed in the afterschool program until she was done and was able to pick us up. As we got older, we lived fairly close to our respective high schools and either walked home or took a five-minute bus ride to get home.
That being said, it was definitely all the rage for parents to come up with an agreed-upon family password for their children when I was growing up, and I know many of my childhood friends used to use code words to verify whether or not the person supposedly there to pick them up was legitimate, since their parents were stricter than mine were.
The idea of using a code word has also evolved from just being a way to keep a child safe during pick-ups at school if for one reason or another mom and dad can’t make it.
Blogger Bert Fulks’ article went viral after he posted about the code word he uses with his children to subtly let him know that they’re in an uncomfortable position and want to go home ASAP.
Typically, many family passwords are unique to that family or are based on a child’s favorite animal, television show, etc., but below is a compilation of some of the more hilarious code words parents and their children have come up with in both the past and the present.
According to blogger Bert Fulks, he created the “X-plan” as a way to keep kids safe and help them get out of sticky situations that they did not feel quite so comfortable in. And for the record, no, it does not require calling Charles Xavier and the rest of the X-Men in order to save them.
For example, let’s say a teen is at a party and their friends try to use peer pressure in order to get them to do something they’re not comfortable doing for one reason or another. All this teen has to do is implement the X-plan by texting the letter “X” to their parents so that they can call their cellphone and pretend as if something’s come up and they need to go home ASAP.
Another way to implement this code word is to have a child’s emergency contact know that the letter “X” is the correct password and use it as a way for the little one to verify that the person picking them up is legitimate.
Kid Power points out that another example of a family code word to keep children safe is by using the word “octopus.”
While Squidward from Spongebob Squarepants might be a bit annoyed that the family in question came up with that idea, it is pretty brilliant because let’s face it, it’s not that likely that someone is going to guess it. They’d probably assume that a child and their family would go for more cutesy animals such as a lion, a tiger, a bear or a dog. Octopus are certainly cool animals in their own right but sorry Squidward, they are just not cute.
Reddit user Kimota94 points out that he and his wife came up with the most epic code word ever for their daughter, although it is one that might make felines everywhere hiss in annoyance.
They chose the word “peabrain” in honor of their sweet but not-so-bright cat of the same name because it wasn’t a common name for any pet and therefore, no tricksy person that was trying to be a creep would be able to take a random guess and guess correctly. Sadly, Peabrain went to the Rainbow Bridge not long after they implemented the code word for their daughter but I’m sure she looked down on her family and facepalmed every time they practiced using it with their child.
For children that grew up in the time when Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers was all the rage, it wasn’t unusual to have themed birthday parties based on the show or to dress up as your favorite Ranger for Halloween. I was a huge fan of the show as a kid and I remember dressing up as Kimberly/the Pink Ranger for at least three years in a row during Halloween.
Tagsmcgabs admits on Reddit that he and his brother were such huge fans of Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers that when their parents asked them to implement a code word, they immediately chose the phrase “White Ranger” after the character of Tommy on the show.
Reddit user Stoneybunny writes that when she was a little girl, her parents asked her to come up with a family password and she decided to go with “leopard spots” because as a kid she adored cats both domestic and wild.
Just why? Leopard I can kind of see being a code word since they’re a cool big cat and not as adored as lions or tigers are by children everywhere, but why add the spots? Was she really into those cheesy leopard fashion items like the furry vests in bold colors or the denim leopard print jackets when she was a kid?
Kozinc writes on r/WholesomeBPT that their code word as a child was “cucumber peach” and I can’t stop laughing at that one because it sounds exactly like one of those fancy-schmancy Bath and Body Works products.
Heck, I remember that it used to be all the rage back when I was a teenager for girls my age to purchase cucumber melon shower gel and body lotion. It’s a great code word because no one is going to think of combining two different types of health foods, but man, it makes me giggle because it brings back the memories of every girl in my age group wearing the scent of cucumber melon as a teen.
Of_Silent_Earth adds on a Reddit thread that they were big fans of Disney’s hit animated film The Little Mermaid and asked their parents if they could use the word “dinglehopper” as a code word to verify that the person that was supposedly picking them up was legitimate.
This is such a quintessential Disney nerd move and it’s a riot—mainly because I too was a huge fan of The Little Mermaid when I was young and I probably would have picked the exact same word if my parents were the type to implement a family password as an added safety measure.
Abram_SF notes on Reddit that growing up, they decided to use the code “the eagle has landed” although thankfully, this user never had to implement it when they were growing up.
I still can’t get over the fact that they actually used “the eagle has landed” as a family password and I really want to know who originally made that suggestion—was it Abram_SF’s parents or did their younger self manage to come up with that one all by themselves? Just imagining a young child saying that phrase as a code word makes me laugh; it would be a great scene on a family sitcom or comedy flick.
Science_With_A_Smile points out on r/WholesomeBPT that when they were growing up, every family member agreed on using the word “pepperoni.” I guess they were all really big fans of eating pepperoni pizza or at the very least adding sliced-up pepperoni to their antipasto during holiday parties or family events.
Not only was Science_With_A_Smile and the rest of their siblings told by their parents to demand that whoever picked them up use the code word, but as they got older and started hanging out with friends they also used it as a way to subtly let their parents know that they wanted to get picked up and come home ASAP.
According to Reddit user Flowergirl713, her family’s password was Coca-Cola. Out of all the sodas to choose from, why Coca-Cola? That’s honestly so random and there are different types of the soda too, like Cherry Coke or Coke Zero. Why not use Sprite, Pepsi or 7Up instead?
They must have been huge fans of Coca-Cola as a kid; I myself was always more of a Sprite or Pepsi drinker before I ditched soda entirely and switched over to drinking flavored seltzer as a college student but my boyfriend and his entire family used to drink Coca-Cola every day for years—apparently they really loved the taste, but to each his own!
The Reddit user TheHarperValleyPTA wins “Funniest Childhood Code Word” for me hands down because of how eccentric and out there it is. They admitted on a post that when they were growing up, they came up with the idea of using the phrase “banjo kazooie” as a way to vet whoever was supposed to pick them up.
How their parents didn’t laugh hysterically when they heard their child pick out such a funny phrase is beyond me—I know I would have been on the floor cackling for a good five minutes and I would’ve made them change it because there is no way that I could say something like that without breaking out into a massive giggle fit.
Vocesmagicae writes on a post on Reddit that they were a very shy child that leaned toward being fretful over every little thing and it made them feel better to have a code word in their family which is sweet, but I can’t make heads or tails out of why they chose the word “watermelon” as their super-duper secret password.
Don’t get me wrong, I was a big fan of chowing down on watermelon during the summer as a tasty treat when I was a kid, but this choice is just baffling. Maybe they were just really big fans of the watermelon flavored Jolly Ranchers when they were growing up.
On a thread in the subreddit on r/WholesomeBPT, the user HorsesAndAshes posts that their family code word is the term “pillow.” Before anyone starts to scratch their heads and wonder if they watched the scene in Netflix’s The Haunting of Hill House when the Crain family reminisces about Nell dubbing letters to Santa Claus “puffalopes” one too many times before coming up with this made-up word, there’s actually a method to this randomness.
“Pellow” is actually the wrong pronunciation of the word “pillow” and that is pretty darn brilliant. As funny as it sounds, I have to admit that it’s genius because no one would be able to guess that word.
On a post on a subReddit forum, I_Am_Da_Fishman proudly writes that back when they were a child, having a family password was all the rage for that generation and they decided to use the term “Captain Underpants.”
They didn’t mention if there was ever a time in which they had to implement said code word, but if they did, I’m not sure how the emergency contact person said it with a straight face. They must have an excellent poker face and must be able to stifle their laughter as well as any Academy Award-winning actor or actress on a movie set.
AThrowAway4Reasons admits that their family code word is “dognoodle” because it is a made-up word that no potential creep that might flag the stranger-danger signs will be able to guess and it is a lot of fun for children to say when someone comes to pick them up from school.
Of course, the word “dognoodle” is an absolute riot because it conjures up the mental image of a canine-snake hybrid—especially since it’s become common for snake owners to call their beloved pets “noodles.” Hey Nickelodeon, instead of Cat Dog, why not make a new animated television series called Dognoodle about a creature that is half-dog and half-snake?
YennOfVen notes on Reddit that they came up with the family password and decided to use “Rainbow sandwiches.”
This is pretty funny and creative, I must admit, but what I really want to know is if they came up with this for their family because they got their child hooked on the old-school Rainbow Brite animated television show or if they introduced their child to the rainbow cookies that are so often sold in bakeries and are known as “Seven Layer cookies” here in New York. Personally, I hope it’s the latter because those cookies are so delicious that they deserve to be turned into a code word for kids to use.
Reddit poster Heaven-In-A-Can writes that when they were growing up, they decided to use the word “lobster” as a code word for school pick-ups and their parents agreed to it.
But why though? Out of all the animals in the animal kingdom, why go for a lobster? Did they love eating at Red Lobster when they were a kid because they are a huge fan of seafood or was it because they thought the character of Sebastian (wait, that was actually a crab...) from Disney’s The Little Mermaid was an absolute riot every time they watched the movie? Inquiring minds want to know about this random choice!
According to Reddit user Rava3396, their family password is “Tinseltown,” but not for the reasons that you would expect. If someone told me that was their family’s code word, I, like many others, would assume it is due to the fact that their child is a huge fan of acting and wants to grow up to be a star in “Tinseltown”—AKA Hollywood.
Nope. Rava3396 adds that they chose “Tinseltown” as a code word for their family not for Hollywood but due to the fact that it is actually the name of a local movie theater near where they live.
When Reddit user Karnadas was growing up, they write that their father came up with the idea to use the word “lion” as the family passcode.
Part of the reason was due to the fact that the two of them loved to watch Disney’s animated flick The Lion King almost every weekend and the other reason was because they were both big fans of the sports team The Bears, so no one would guess that they went for a feline password instead of a grizzly bear or something along those lines. I have to hand it to Karnadas’s dad—that is both funny and clever!
Reddit user Suvefuii notes that when they were a child, their parents asked their children to come up with their own unique family code words because like siblings everywhere, sharing the exact same password was just not fun for everyone involved.
Suvefuii went with the sensible option of “cheetah” since that was their favorite animal thanks to the endless wildlife television shows on The Discovery Channel while their brother also picked his favorite animal—a platypus. Anyone else get the feeling that Perry the Platypus from the Disney animated televisions series Kim Possible was his favorite character too and that’s why he chose “platypus” as his code word?