“Come play with us!”
You couldn’t blame hotel guests who end up on the same floor as Martin Hughes and his two 4-year-old daughters, Poppy and Isabella, for shrieking in the hallway.
Since his girls have always insisted on dressing alike, Hughes, 46, a web designer from Cheshire, England, recently decided to take their lookalike status to a new level, convincing them to pose like the twins from his favorite horror movie, The Shining, during a stay at a London hotel.
When several guests came around the corner and gasped at the girls standing eerily in the hallway, Hughes decided to post a few pics on Twitter and the results have gone viral, racking up more than 20,000 “likes.”
“They’re too young at the moment to want to prank people, but they’re best friends who have a real mischievous streak,” Hughes tells PEOPLE. “When the girls are older, I’m sure they’ll enjoy scaring people. Right now, they mainly enjoy swapping names and tricking us into conversations where they pretend to be the other sister. It can get pretty confusing.”
After Hughes and his wife, Rachael, 42, learned they were expecting twins five years ago, “I joked about The Shining, because it’s one of my favorite films,” he says, “but I had no idea when we (took the photos) that it would go out of control. Some of the responses are pretty out there.”
One man argued that demons are real, says Hughes, telling him that he would be liable if somebody actually thought his daughters were ghosts and tried to harm them.
“All kinds of people out there on the Internet are way scarier than my girls, as it turns out,” he says. “But most people seem to have fun with it.”
Getting his daughters to stand still and look gloomy for the camera is a challenge, Hughes admits, but after pulling the prank now in several hotels, “they’ve become pretty good at it. One guy jumped out of his skin and headed for the stairs.”
Although Poppy and Isabella are too young to watch The Shining, “when they’re older, we’ll make up for that,” he tells PEOPLE. “I love horror films, and I’m pretty sure they’ll follow suit. So we’ll have to have a family ‘horror’ night.”