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File:Rsz grenade trap 4705.jpg

Gloval: It was so obvious! We should have known! A Boobytrap of course!
Lisa/Claudia: Boobytrap, sir?

Gloval: Yes, one of the oldest tricks in military history. A retreating enemy leaves behind hidden explosives and such. The aliens who designed the ship left it with an automatic defense system designed to detect and destroy their enemies. The activation of the guns means that unfriendly forces have approached close enough to be a threat to us.
Robotech Episode 1: "Boobytrap"

A version of the Death Trap, except instead of the good guys being put into it, they have to somehow get past it to achieve their objective. Such devices will usually gruesomely kill the first Red Shirt sent into it before the hero correctly figures out how to get past.

Otherwise, most such traps act in exactly the same way as Death Traps. Explosives are a particular favorite, as they will also destroy the installation involved. Expect a retreating character to trick a pursuer into it. Naturally a feature of the Death Course and Temple of Doom.

If you're looking for that other kind of Booby Trap, see the Marshmallow Hell page. "Booby" here refers to the almost-obsolete slang term for "idiot" or "fool".

Also, please note that while some good guys and definitely the audience knows when and where the booby trap is, most characters just don't have these privileges. Unless they feel compelled to do things the "right" way.

Obviously, Truth in Television. Compare and contrast Trick Bomb.

Examples of Booby Trap include:


  • When visiting a haunted hospital in Full Metal Panic!: Fumoffu, Sousuke suspects that a telephone that suddenly starts to ring is a Booby Trap (when in fact, it was "just" set up to scare him and Chidori), commenting that one of his friends was killed with such a device before.
    • Later, in Burning One Man Force, Kurama sets up a booby trap for Sousuke in the arena, which succeeds in dislocating Sousuke's left arm, and giving Kurama the time to deliver an almost lethal shot.
  • As mentioned in the page quote, "Booby Trap" is the title of the first episode of Super Dimension Fortress Macross (and Robotech). It refers to the SDF-1/Macross having been set up to automatically fire at any Zentradi ships when they approached it.
  • In an early episode of Sgt Frog, Giroro rigs the Hinata household with these to ensure no one gets in the way. This requires a quick definition which the Gag Dub makes the obvious joke on.

Narrator: A booby trap is a bomb that's attached to something. Contrary to popular opinion, it has nothing to do with a woman's bosom...99.9 percent of the time.



  • Y: The Last Man has a rat soaked in kerosene, set into a hole in wall of the bad guy's HQ and then set on fire.

Fan Works


  • Star Trek III: The Search For Spock: Blowing up the Enterprise with the Klingons on board.
  • Blazing Saddles. The citizens of the town of Rock Ridge create a fake Rock Ridge filled with explosives as a giant trap for Hedy Lamaar's army.
  • The Goonies: Several, including a couple examples of the Rube Goldberg Device. Data, in his broken English, calls them "Booty Traps".
  • The Beast of War (1988). The Soviet tank crew leaves one of their own comrades tied to a rock with a grenade under his head. ("If you want anything, just nod.")
  • In Treasure Planet, the entire titular planet is booby trapped.
  • Blown Away centers on a bombmaker hounding a bomb disposal officer by rigging booby trapped bombs. The devices are cruelly ingenious in foreseeing how the bomb squad will work. At several points the camera passes through the scene and into the workings of the bomb in what appears to be a continuous take, striking shots which highlight, almost fetishistically, the workings of the device.
  • Indiana Jones deals with these on any given day.
  • A rare heroic example - Marv sets up a few of these for Kevin in Sin City.
  • In The Road Warrior, Max's gas tank is set to explode if anyone tries to steal from it.
  • Part of the appeal of the Home Alone series is during the final segments of the movies, watching Kevin set up some ingeniously nasty traps for Harry and Marv to stumble into. A good number of these traps, particularly in the second movie, would probably kill those who stumbled into them, but Harry and Marv are Iron Butt Monkeys, so apart from getting banged up, neither of them get seriously hurt.
  • In Red Dawn, the Wolverines leave the dying Toni Mason's body behind for the Russians to collect, with a live grenade wedged beneath her body.


  • In Dan Abnett's Warhammer 40,000 novel Brothers of the Snake, a squad of Space Marines finds one portion of Dark Eldar defense particularly fierce. Breaking in, they find that the eldar had left explosives in the phosphorus mines; they lug them off before they can explode.
  • The English Patient is set in areas of World War Two Italy that have been thoroughly boobytrapped by the retreating Axis. One of the main characters, Kip, is a sapper with the British army; the presence of unexploded bombs and mines is what brings him to the villa where the other protagonists live.
  • Rogue Squadron, when the world they were hiding on was discovered, left a lot of explosive traps for the Imperials. Said Imperials did work their way through all of them, but exactly what they were trying to achieve is up in the air. They didn't need anything that had been left on that world and they knew the Rogues had already left.
  • In Kiss Me, Deadly The Mafia leaves a brand new Ford for Private Detective Mike Hammer as a bribe, with several sticks of dynamite attached to the ignition. Figuring he's smart enough to figure that out, they have a second bomb hidden underneath wired to the odometer. Fortunately Mike has a mechanic check out the car thoroughly. Later when two hitmen take him for a ride, Hammer lets them think he's missed the second bomb; the hitman driving instinctively slams on the brakes, giving Hammer a chance to overpower them both.
  • Levers and treadles rigged to deliver electric shock in Who Cut the Cheese? by Mason Brown.

Newspaper Cartoons

  • One of Bill Mauldin's World War II cartoons showed a couple of Germans rigging a disabled tank ... unaware that American troops were already close enough that they could have reached out and touched them. The caption is an American saying, "Dang clever booby trap! I kinda hate to disturb 'em..."

Live Action Television

  • Naturally only Captain Kirk can get away with a fake booby trap to win the day.[context?]
  • At least one episode of Foyle's War had a murder committed using the booby trap techniques which were being taught to the Home Guard in case of invasion.

Card Games

  • Hunter heroes in Shadow Era can cast some trap cards, such as "Spike Trap" that either harm or kill any monster summoned after it is cast.

Tabletop Games

Video Games

  • Arcueid apparently booby traps her underwear drawer, if that's as accurate a detail of Shiki's life as a lot of other things were in Kagetsu Tohya. The trap? A magical talking leopard that pops out and eats you. Yes. Really.
  • Fallout 3 features a wide variety of booby traps. Don't be surprised when you:
    • Get hit by a swinging cow chained to a ceiling.
    • Try to use a computer, only to have it explode in your face.
    • Get your leg shattered by a bear trap.
    • exploding mail boxes
    • encounter one of several types of plain ol' fashioned mines (which come in frag, plasma and EMP flavours) which you can disarm and replant yourself.
    • Get shot by a trip-wire activated shotgun sitting on a nearby bench.
    • Get grenades hanging from a ceiling dropped on your head.
    • and all sorts of other booby fun!
      • You even get a perk which makes you invulnerable to tripwires, mines etc by allowing you to walk over them without triggering them (hard luck if an enemy or ally gets too close though).
      • Don't forget the exploding baby carriages.
  • Fallout New Vegas has all of the above. Also concealed mines which don't glow.
  • In StarCraft Terran players can set up hidden land mines.
    • And in Warcraft III, any side can buy landmines from the goblins and lay them around the place. They turn invisible, so most units won't see them.
  • In The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, many dungeons have booby traps in them. It is pathetically easy to kill the people who set them up with them.
    • Well, it *would* be, if the booby traps weren't so slow moving and badly designed...
    • One dungeon in Skyrim has what can only be the most obvious booby trap ever. By contrast, there are some booby traps in Dwemer ruins that can be really deadly. One type can only be described as a helicopter rotor in a trench; it can take out a steam centurion in two hits.
  • In the Stronghold series, players can set up all sorts of traps for their enemies, such as sand-covered pits or cages full of starved wolves that open up when enemies get too close.
  • Pills and armor shards often trigger ambushes in Serious Sam 1.
  • Half-Life has mines which can be set off via their blue/green laser tripwires and sentries which can be set off by nearby red beams,[1] the former are one of the available weapons. The sequel has "hopper mines" which can be wrenched off the ground with the gravity gun and replanted [2] or simply punted for a quick explosion, as well as several traps in zombie infested Ravenholm; repurposed gas mains, blades on car engines and cars on pulleys.
  • The Time Splitters series has both remote and automated land mines as weapons.
  • Ah, the horrible, horrible things you can do in Dwarf Fortress. From the simple "stone-fall trap" (which, as one would expect, drops a rock on something's head) to sections of hallway loaded with ten giant serrated whirling discs to fully-fledged Death Traps, the game lets you indulge your horrible little imagination endlessly.
  • These are half the "fun" of Theresia, and an excellent reason not to Try Everything. Just after the title sequence, attempting to move a stretcher and see what's behind it makes it fire arrows at you—and it only gets worse from there.
  • The Prince of Persia series has lots of traps. Spikes of Doom? Yup. Wall-mounted buzzsaws? Yup. Smashing Hallway Traps of Doom? Yup. Bladed pendulums? Yup. Spinning poles covered in spikes? Yup. The list goes on and on. Frequently combined with Death Course for extra fun.
  • It simply wasn't Tomb Raider without these. Huge rolling boulders, trap doors that gave way, spikes, lava pits...the list goes on and on.
  • Resident Evil had several of these peppered inside the mansion; one room would fill with poison gas if you didn't seal the vents before pressing a button and another room would have the ceiling come down on you if you take the shotgun from the room next door. The underground leading to the laboratory had huge boulders that would start rolling down your path, crushing you instantly if you didn't find a place to duck into. The remake adds a few more traps.
  • Project Reality has accurate depictions of Improvised Explosive Devices (IED's) which are often used this way, ranging in size and sophistication from a hand grenade in a tin can with a tripwire across a doorway to pipe bombs & artillery shells with a cell phone acting as a remote detonator.
  • Portal 2: The Final Boss of the game demonstrates how even a complete idiot can be Dangerously Genre Savvy — and subvert Boss Arena Idiocy along the way — by taking into account the possibility that you might win and placing a trap on the Stalemate Resolution Button.


  • It's possible In Batman: Arkham Asylum to use the Explosive Gel as a booby trap with the right upgrades, it's especially effective when planted at the top of a ladder which results in a flying mook and an instant KO.
  • Plentiful in Dark Souls, from rolling iron balls to pressure plate activated arrow storms.
  • Pyramids in Minecraft have TNT traps hidden from view. When you enter a pyramid and destroy the blue wool block, you can see 4 chests below and a pressure plate. Stepping on the plate triggers the TNT and will most likely kill you, but it will definitely destroy the chests and their contents.
    • In a similar fashion, jungle temples have tripwires that, when tripped or destroyed without using shears, will activate a nearby dispenser that will fire arrows at you.
    • The trope can be invoked by the player themselves with nearly any block they can use, such as pressure plates, TNT, pistons, etc.


Western Animation


"When expecting booby traps, always send the boob in first."


Real Life

  • Wikipedia will tell you more than you ever wanted to know.
  • Rigging boobytraps is the bread and water for Military Engineer troops.
  • During the Winter War the Finns evacuated civilians ahead of the Red Army and booby trapped local buildings to make sure the enemy had no where to billet and would have to bivouac outside uncomfortably.
  1. why they didn't simply have the sentries shoot anyone who walked past, as some indeed do, is anyone's guess
  2. detonating when enemies approached rather than you or allies