Whenever local weather professionals predict a snowstorm, Kelli Cook's son puts a pencil in the freezer in what the Cicero mom said is a foolproof way to bring on a school cancellation.
"It usually works," Cook said. "He did it Thursday night [Dec. 18 before Christmas vacation] and we didn't even have a shortened day on Friday -- we got the whole day off."
And that's not the only method kids use. Maureen Wood of Liverpool said her kids use a more tried-and-true technique.
"They wear their pajamas inside out and backwards," Wood said. "I've found cotton balls under their pillows."
Other tricks include putting a snowball or ice cube in the toilet, hiding a white crayon in the freezer, sleeping with a wooden spoon under your pillow, throwing ice cubes at a tree, putting something silver under your pillow and singing "Frosty the Snowman" while standing on your head.
So do these methods really work? Some kids swear by them. Indeed, Cook has been impressed more than once by her son's trick.
"It's funny," she said. "It almost always works."
What really happens
But how do kids really get a snow day? It's up to their superintendent.
There are two cases in which school superintendents make the decision to shut down for the day: in cases of extreme wind chill when the temperatures are dangerously low for kids standing at the bus stop and in extreme weather where buses cannot safely navigate the roads.
In both cases, Liverpool Superintendent Jan Matousek said area superintendents consult with each other as well as local weather experts.
"We'll usually start talking to each other around 5:15 a.m.," Matousek said. "I talk to all of the superintendents in the area -- Baldwinsville, West Genny, North Syracuse. I'll also talk to my transportation director to find out how the roads are."