Let’s think ahead to the Triduum. Traditionally, after the Gloria of the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday, the church’s bells are silenced and a wooden noise maker is used instead. The harsh sound is striking. The technical name for the ecclesiastical noise maker is: crotalus – the rattle of a snake.
In some places a wooden gizmo with little hammers or clappers are used. In Italian they are called a “tric troc”. Other versions are handles with ratchets that you twirl around. Italians call those “raganella”.
Check with your parish priest to find out if they have a clacker or whizzer or other gizmo.
You should probably order them in pairs, since during the Eucharistic procession to repose the Blessed Sacrament after Mass of Holy Thursday, the altar boys could alternate as they went.
They will be delighted.
For Holy Week, the last time bells, or organ, can be rung in the Roman Rite is for the first few words of the Gloria of Holy Thursday. After the beginning of the Gloria there should be no bells, which produce such cheery sounds. However, even in the older form of the Roman Rite, there is no clear indication in the rubrics that there should be some other noise-maker to substitute the bells at the elevations and during the procession.
That said, it is a strong and venerable custom that noise-makers such as the crotulus or the “tric troc”, clappers, should be used.
I cannot imagine not using some noise-maker if one is available. The association of the sounds with the Triduum are deeply part of the way we Catholics do things. They set a wholly different tone during the Triduum.
By the way, at least one church – this one in poor, poor unfortunate Malta – replaces their church bells with a really big crotalus.