How to Sneak Around at Night

Two Parts:Preparing Your OperationSneaking Like a Pro

Nighttime is a fun time to sneak around, but if you have a roommate or a person who shares your room, here are some tips to get by them.

Part 1
Preparing Your Operation

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    Get the right equipment. The most essential piece of equipment is an alert mind, but other items can help too. Ropes or a grappling hook are always nice if you are going to be climbing trees. Leather gloves help when climbing to protect your hands, so they aren't a bad idea.
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    Wear appropriate clothing. Clothing is situation-sensitive. It is always a good idea to stay in the shadows, so olive drab or dark blue is a good color for shadows. Don't use black because it can "cut out" your shape in the dark. Camo for the type of environment you are in is even better because in the shadow it looks black, and when in minor light you can blend in with trees, bushes or grass.
    • You also don't want to wear clothes that make noise. DO NOT wear anything that has buttons or anything that jangles around. Also, don't bring your keys with you! If you must bring your keys with you, remove all extras and wrap remaining keys in a cloth and separate them.
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    Wear appropriate shoes. Shoes matter too. The type of shoes you wear should reflect how far along you are in your stealth training. If you are just beginning, soft shoes with light rubber coating on the bottom is the best. As you become better, you can wear normal shoes, and eventually boots that have soft rubber on the bottom. If inside or outside try to go barefoot as much as possible because it minimizes noise. If you are walking on grass it may tickle your feet but it is better than being captured.
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    Map out your route. If you know where you're going and what obstacles you'll face, you'll be much better prepared. Identify hiding spots. Check where anybody could still be awake.
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    Learn sound sources. Map out all of the creaky floors and objects, these are the things that give you away. Also stay very close to walls. It will reduce the creaking sound. draw a map of the house and put a letter or a number on the creaky and squeaky. If you have room, write notes at the bottom of your map.
    • Walk as close to the edge of each wall for creaking floors or stairs. Worn floor boards generally have more support near walls.
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    Learn how to walk. Your footwork is just as important as crouching into the steps to absorb the movement. Normal heel-to-toe rolling movement is great for fast speed movement on grass and very slow movement on hard surfaces. Keep in mind that the slower you move, the more silent you are.
    • When moving through leaves, or trying to remain absolutely silent, keep your weight on your back foot, extend your leading foot, and to set it down and slowly shift forward, absorbing the movement in your knees and ankles. You should only have the ball of your foot, which will work as a cushion, make contact with the ground during this type of movement.
    • If you're maneuvering in an environment that provides "Noise Cover" or if there is a medium risk of being heard, lower your heel to the ground to touch when switching weight to the lead foot.
    • To stay silent indoors, breathe and walk to the rhythm of the room clock. If someone is asleep, they are used to the sound of the clock, and thus it will help obscure your footfalls.
    • Use the flat foot when walking across gravel or across anything in which many small objects can be disturbed and make noise. Absorb the step as you normally would, but you let your entire foot make contact with the gravel at the same time to let the weight distribute evenly. Slow to very slow movement should be used.
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    Know how to walk through doorways. When walking through a doorway normally (shoulders very close to the door jams) can cause sounds (like running air conditioners) to fluctuate and let people know that there's something there. The same thing applies when you are sneaking around, you can "hear" where people are based on how ambient noise is being manipulated. Sneak through doorways with your back to the jam, and be perpendicular to the door. This will minimize the effect.
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    Keep body sounds under control. Try as hard as you can to not sneeze! If you have allergies, take your meds BEFORE you leave for your excursion...but be sure it won't make you drowsy! If you do feel a sneeze coming on, plug your nose, squeeze your eyes shut, and think as hard as you can about NOT sneezing. Also, for some people, saying the word "watermelon" repeatedly will help suppress a sneeze. Look at the article How to Stop a Sneeze for other tips.

Part 2
Sneaking Like a Pro

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    Be patient. Being silent and undetectable means being slow and careful. If you have a creaky bed, move slowly with patience; what's five minutes of slow, steady, moving compared to the whole night off?
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    Adjust your eyes to darkness. Find a spot to stay motionless to give your eyes time to become accustomed to the dark before you attempt to move around too much. This will give you an advantage over anyone who is looking for you and allow you to avoid injury. You can also create an eye patch, and leave it on one eye prior to leaving, to adjust that eye to the dark, and then switch the eyepatch eye once you have entered the dark region. The human eye takes 30 minutes to fully adjust to night vision, and one flash of light can require another 30 minutes of time to adjust.
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    Learn to work with the light. Stay out of light as much as possible but know how to work with light when it's around. This will help you stay undetected, especially since people will be assuming that they can see everything because light is available. Absolutely avoid using your own light sources, such as a flashlight or a candle, unless you know you are in an area where no one can see you.
    • Standing in the darkness behind a light source (like a fire or floodlight) is a good way to hide, because the person's eyes will be adjusted to see the light, but not the darkness behind it.
    • The eye is extra sensitive at nighttime, so make sure that when you move around in the dark, don't make sudden or abrupt movements.
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    Listen to your environment. Keep your ears perked up; if there is someone upstairs and you hear moving or the floor creaking -- hide! Always have a place pre-picked according to your position.
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    Crouch for stability. Remain in a crouched position as you're moving, and have your hands out to the sides at waist level to detect any obstacles you might have not seen and keep balance, and to absorb the step when you move forward by crouching a little further down into the step. You do not want to crouch below a 90 degree angle at any moment unless you are crouching to the ground to put a knee down or lying down, because it is very hard on the knees.
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    Stay alert. One of your worst enemies is the surprise factor. Being caught off-guard can not only startle you, but cause you to make noise or lose control of the situation. The best way to know if someone is coming is to see them; if you can't see them, hearing them is the second best way to know in advance. Most people do not walk quietly, so you can hear them coming. When in sight range of someone you may be able to wait for an opportunity to hide better if you have not.
    • Always act as if someone is actively looking for you, even if they aren't. This will subconsciously force you to be more careful.
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    Stay invisible. Slow movement is possible when you are in someone's sight range. If you are a decent distance away from them and they probably won't see it, lie down if your environment permits it. This minimizes your size and makes you harder to spot. Good places to go prone are dark areas or areas with foliage cover.
    • If you are wearing camouflage or a dark colour, this will help conceal you in the darkness. Just slip into a shadow and breathe softly.
    • Once they come in audible range of you, movement should not continue, and you must maintain absolute stillness.
    • If you are within arm's reach of the person walking towards you, freeze. If you aren't perfectly hidden, holding still will normally take care of the dilemma, but if you can manage, curl up into a ball and try to cover your shoulder features and your head; this will hide the human outline.
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    Manipulate environmental sound. Learning to make animal sounds will make people less suspicious if they hear you but will not always work. If you plan to use an animal sound, be sure it fits the environment--i.e. don't use a turkey call in Alaska or a robin call in the Caribbean. Also, be sure you can use the sound well--nothing is worse than you losing your cover when your target hears a duck call that sounds like an old-fashioned car horn. Also, if you have one, use a recorder to use different sounds to be more realistic and convincing. Make sure that the sound is the only thing recorded and not something like lake water crashing or children playing in the background.
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    Know how to read and move around people. When sneaking, you might encounter people. Waiting until they pass might not be an option: you might have to find ways to manipulate them and work around them. This means learning how to read their behavior and predict what they will do.
    • Monitor a sleeping person's breathing: Regular breathing means that the person is awake or is nearly awake! Shallow breathing means that person is lightly sleeping but you should still be careful! Snoring means deeper sleep but you should still take precautions.
    • Distract them if you need to get past. For example, if someone is looking a way you don't want them to, then roll or throw a small object (like a coin) to create a noise in another area and make your move. Don't use a distraction if they are suspecting somebody is near.
    • If you are getting something from a container right by someone, take the container as far away from them as possible, open it slowly, and take what you need carefully. If it snaps shut, close it under a blanket or pillow, then return it to its original location.
    • When sneaking up on someone, try to match your steps with theirs and avoid breathing heavily. Also, if your target is talking with a friend next to them, be sure to be on the opposite side, for the target might look at the friend and see you. For example, if your target is on the left and friend on the right, stay slightly to the left.
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    Know how to escape. Normally when you are escaping, you have been discovered, and are making a mad dash to hide or get away. Disregard all stealth and just put distance between you and your discoverer so that you can hide once again and sneak away. If you don't think that you have been seen, you might want to try sneaking away as stealthily as possible. Then you can hide, wait for the threat to leave, and continue on doing whatever you were doing.
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    Have an excuse. You might get caught, but if you're careful you can get rid of any suspicion about what you were doing. Have a good excuse ready that is plausible and comfortable for the other person to accept.
    • If you hear someone coming and you are caught and inside the house, make a sleepy face and yawn then say, "I just came out to get a glass of water." This usually works, but don't do it a lot because people will get suspicious.
    • If you're sneaking into a friends room and you accidentally go in through the wrong window and end up in their dad/mom's room (or worse get the wrong house) have a code name ready for you and your friend. For example if you get the wrong house and the owner wakes up or moves like they woke up you can shout: "Crap, Mitch! This isn't Fred's house!" And bolt. So the owners think that you were trying to prank a friend and don't know your identity. Do the same thing ( yes even saying: this isn't ________house! ) for the wrong room.
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    Stay safe! If you are going into an area you are not 100% secure with, ask around a bit, and if you just don't feel comfortable, plan around it. If you do not feel safe going into an area you should not enter it. Bringing something to defend yourself can greatly increase the amount of trouble that will result from being caught. In particular concealed weapons will result in the harshest punishments. It is important to remember that this is all for fun and if you are sufficiently afraid that you need a weapon you should be doing something else or sneaking somewhere else.


  • Also, if you need to jump over something, make sure that you land with your knees slightly bent and once you hit the ground bend your knees so you're in a position like you are going to ollie off a skateboard. Landing on the balls of your feet can also reduce sound.
  • If somebody says that they know you are there, don't give up. If they are not looking directly at you, they are probably just lying. Try to remain as silent as possible, and sneak quietly away when the person is not looking.
  • If you need to hide, try going up. Climb a tree, hop onto a low roof, anything that puts you out of the normal line of sight of a person. If someone is looking for you, they will most probably be looking at the ground or at eye level.
  • When moving through a driveway of a yard be careful so as to not set off any security lights as they can give you away.
  • When you have found your hiding spot be sure not to move.
  • If you might need to make a fast get away, learn some basic parkour such as the wall pass, easy vault, and kong vault. Knowing these moves will help you greatly if you need to bolt.
  • When pulling a prank on a friend, it is normally fun to bring another friend along. Just make sure they understand what is going on, and know the way back in case you get split up. Whoever is better at stealth should be in front so as to detect possible threats earlier than the beginner would.
  • If possible, be sure to stretch out really well before sneaking. This helps to prevent injuries, fatigue, and noise from joints (creaking/popping).
  • Use a flashlight with a red bulb or with a red filter over the front, if you absolutely have to have a light. If you have access to an infrared filter, such as those used in photography, try taping it over the flashlight. Using a red light will help because it keeps your eyes adjusted to low light .
  • Don't walk where cars drive by. The lights will give your position away, especially if someone is looking for you.
  • If you're sneaking around in a house, be sure to start your sneaking when the A/C comes on. Most air vents make noise, helping to mask any unwanted sounds.
  • When walking on a carpet, set your feet down as slow as you can, or else the shuffling noise will give you away.
  • Be very quiet and stay in the dark.
  • Try walking slow, stay in shadows and don't go into areas where there's sound. However, you can blend in sound. Sneak in a place where nothing's watching. Also, try not to have anything in possession, unless important. You can also make up a sound too. Disguise yourself in leaves and bushes if someone's out there. Make sure your clothes blend in, too.
  • If you have lighter hair, try wrapping something dark around it so it blends in with the surroundings.


  • Be aware of the neighborhood. In a high crime district, sneaking around can be very dangerous. People could immediately expect the worst and do something really bad to you.
  • Avoid going on private property unless you personally know the resident. It's not only illegal, but the owner could have a firearm or a big dog (e.g. a German Shepherd) ready if you are trespassing.
  • Video cameras provide undeniable proof of the funny face your friend made when you scared him/her, but they can also incriminate you later on.
  • Be sure not to hide in other people's yards unless you know them well or in case of emergency. You might get mistaken for a burglar.
  • Don't go anywhere that you're likely to be attacked by a wild animal.
  • If trying to escape, don't do anything beyond your abilities, such as leaping from a high window. This could result in you getting injured or caught.
  • Don't wear sandals, they make too much noise.
  • Try to tell somebody when you plan to sneak out in case you get hurt.

Things You'll Need

  • Flashlight (use only if necessary)
  • Silent communication gear if with a friend.
  • Dark clothing for shadows (not black as it "cuts out" your silhouette in the dark, dark blue works best).
  • Camo clothing to match the environment if you plan on moving out of the shadows, the new digital camouflage works really well in the appropriate environment.
  • Suitable shoes (fencing shoes are quite good, ninja tabi work really well for sneaking and climbing.)
  • Gloves and a grappling hook for climbing (optional)
  • A friend
  • A distraction
  • Good knowledge of the surrounding area

Article Info

Categories: Spying