We asked our writing staff to come up with a plan to Escape and Evade Authorities on your Family Thanksgiving Dinner Bug Out. All are graduates of either the Army or Navy SERE School which provides extensive training in Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape techniques to avoid capture by an enemy and to resist interrogation and torture if captured.

State and local governments have issued various edicts on how you may enjoy Thanksgiving with your families this year along with threats of fines or even jail for violating them.

In New Jersey, the governor has prohibited gatherings of more than 10 people.

No hugs or handshakes. No singing. Disinfect the couch after every quarter of the football game.

If you are planning to travel, be prepared to fill out Health Travel Forms and be locked down for 14 days… with the relatives you see once a year… on purpose.

Washington State has banned indoor gatherings like Thanksgiving altogether and plans to enforce the ban.

So how can you pull off Operation Giblet and evade enforcement efforts by your state?


Make a Plan

Assemble your Thanksgiving Day guest list carefully. Only invite the most trustworthy family and friends.

That uncle who talks too much when he drinks? Skip him.

That girlfriend of your brother whose sister works at the local Health Department? Skip her too.

Both are security risks and if they blab or tell the wrong person you’re having a Thanksgiving dinner, your goose will be cooked a lot faster than your turkey.

Your Thanksgiving Day Plan should be on a “Need To Know” basis.



You’ll be tempted to want to brief everyone on everything, Don’t. You need to compartmentalize your plan. Don’t tell participants more than they absolutely need to know. That way, if you do have a security breach because a family member gets caught buying eight cans of cranberry sauce they can’t give up everybody and ruin the plan.

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Your clandestine Thanksgiving bug-out location should be picked for its remoteness and inaccessibility by the authorities.  Remember, your pursuers will be working on Thanksgiving Day, their morale will be low because they can’t be with their families, and that cold turkey and swiss sandwich in their pockets will not make them feel any better. In searching for you, they will take the easy terrain and avoid the hard. So you take the hard route. Don’t be near a road where you can be spotted by vehicles, be far enough so that searchers will have to dismount and go on foot which they will be reluctant to do if it’s cold or wet out. Their sweeps and searches will be spread pretty thin on Thanksgiving Day, so don’t make it easy for them to round you all up.

Picture a cabin in the woods accessible only on foot. Or one down in a holler surrounded by low hills. Or a beach house you can only reach by boat. That is what you need.

Hard to find, hard to see, hard to approach.

Don’t make the place look lived in. On the contrary, to the casual observer who stumbles on it, it should look abandoned. Don’t clear out or disturb dust, cobwebs, or other debris near the property. Use a broom to clear any footprints left in the dirt or sand that would indicate that a large group has gathered there.



Pay cash for everything from Turkey to the toothpicks. Using that debit or credit card leaves a paper trail authorities can use for proof that you cooked a meal for 30 people.

Don’t buy everything at one location either. Spread your purchases around to a dozen grocery stores in different towns.  Remember they all have cameras watching the cash registers so wear various outfits and disguises. Even better, use different family members to make these buys. Do your shopping and unloading under the cover of night and use cardboard boxes to bring everything in. Neighborhood informants (Karens) will be watching for people unloading a trunk full of grocery bags and will be ready to report to authorities, and this will get you raided!

A shopping cart full of Thanksgiving food for 20 people. She might as well just turn herself in.



Have your family and guests split up into small groups and take different routes to a staging area near the Thanksgiving location, but not at the Thanksgiving location itself. Set a time by when everyone should have arrived at the rendezvous. The reason for this is simple: By arriving at a staging area near the Thanksgiving location you can keep that location secret until the last moment.  And if anyone is missing at the rendezvous time, you can assume they have been caught at a checkpoint, so you can cancel the operation and just melt back into suburbia as if nothing had happened.

Don’t bunch up, disperse your party into small groups.



Cars should be located well clear of the actual location and guests should be on foot for some distance to reach the rendevous point at the R-Hour.

Have radio-equipped lookouts posted at windows on all four corners of the location. They should not be visible from the outside; you are trying to avoid being seen, remember? A two-man roving patrol with radios should be walking a radial patrol route several hundred yards from the site. They should not be walking together but meet during their patrol. That way if one is captured the other can report he has gone missing.

Post a good sentry in a high location from where he can see the roving patrol for overwatch. He should also be equipped with a working radio. You need this post manned by someone with sharp eyes and ears. DO NOT, REPEAT, DO NOT use your 84-year-old grandmother who has to go to the bathroom every 10 minutes.

Bring a dog that stays quiet unless it detects strangers approaching.

Expect your pursuers to have specially trained turkey sniffing dogs. That smoker, frier, or oven will give off a scent detectable for miles. Place wet towels over oven vents in the roof and make a tee-pee to enclose friers or smokers; you should likewise cover them with wet towels.

Use the giblets to make a scent bag. Go half a mile from your location and then drag the scent bag in a circle around your location in an outward spiral pattern. If a dog team does happen upon your area it will follow the scent in a circle leading away from you. Remember, an outward spiral.

Dig a pit at least six feet deep to bury all leftovers and evidence of the meal. Fill the hole about halfway with dirt, then add a dead raccoon or possum and fill the rest of the hole. If authorities use turkey cadaver dogs to search the site later and discover the pit, they will dig halfway down to find the dead raccoon and assume it was a false hit by the dog. They won’t dig the rest of the three feet to find the turkey carcass which is evidence against you.


If All Goes South

Brief participants upon arrival on their individual Escape and Evasion plan should the Thanksgiving Enforcement Patrol raid your location. Everyone needs to bug out in different directions and not bunch up. Have escape maps and simple compasses available for each guest. The escape maps should be small enough to conceal in a shoe or collar of your shirt.

If captured you are not obligated to, and you shouldn’t, give more than your name, date of birth (DOB), and social security number. The authorities will try all kinds of interrogation methods on you in an attempt to obtain classified information. You may even be tortured. If you do give up useful information under torture, don’t allow your will to resist to totally collapse because of that disclosure. Recover mentally and continue to resist. If they had to punch you three times to get you to say how many slices of pumpkin pie you ate, make sure the next time they ask that question, they have to punch you three times to get that answer again. If you are a tough and determined resister your captors will concentrate on those more compliant.

Don’t willingly sign any denunciation of Thanksgiving that can be used as propaganda by your captors. Ask them to notify the Red Cross of your capture. How you conduct yourself as a prisoner will be all the difference in terms of how you are received when you return home.

Bugout, FAST.

So that’s it. This is how to plan and execute a Thanksgiving Dinner during a state crackdown on public gatherings.

Have a fun, safe, and enjoyable Thanksgiving.

(You never read this and we were never here. Burn this document after reading.)


This article was originally published in November 2020.