The Ultimate Guide to April Fools’ Day Pranks

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Are you tired of being the one who falls for the April Fools’ Day pranks every year? It’s time to turn the tables. With The Ultimate Guide to April Fools’ Day Pranks, you’ll become a prank master and have all your friends and family shaking in their boots or laughing uncontrollably, whichever you prefer.

Typical calendar detail shows 1st of April
Calendar 1st April. Photo credit: Yay Images

April Fools’ Day is celebrated on April 1st each year, but its origins and the reason for its existence remain shrouded in mystery. There are several different theories and legends about how April Fools’ Day came to be, and it’s unclear which one is accurate.

One popular theory suggests that April Fools’ Day began in France in the late 16th century. In 1582, France switched from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar, which meant that New Year’s Day was moved from April 1st to January 1st. However, many people didn’t know about this change or refused to accept it and continued to celebrate the New Year on April 1st. Those who still celebrated the New Year on April 1st were ridiculed and played tricks on, hence the origin of April Fools’ Day.

Today, April Fools’ Day is celebrated in different ways around the world. In France, people play pranks on each other by taping paper fish to each other’s backs, while in Brazil, April 1st is known as “Dia da Mentira,” or “Day of Lies,” and involves playing practical jokes and spreading false news stories.

5 Most Famous April Fools Day Pranks

The Eruption of Mount Edgecumbe, 1974: A local prankster in Sitka, Alaska, set off hundreds of tires filled with oil-soaked straw on a dormant volcano, creating a black plume of smoke that resembled an eruption. The prank was so convincing that the Coast Guard was called to investigate the scene.

The Floating McDonald’s, 1986: A radio station in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, reported that a McDonald’s restaurant had broken free from its foundation and was floating across the lake. Many people traveled to see the “floating McDonald’s” and there were huge traffic jams.

April Fools Day, Gotcha, portrait of white-light brown cat scream
Cat Gotcha. Photo credit: Yay Images.

The Taco Liberty Bell, 1996: Taco Bell announced that they had purchased the Liberty Bell and were renaming it the “Taco Liberty Bell.” The prank caused a national uproar, and the National Park Service had to issue a statement confirming that the Liberty Bell had not been sold.

The Left-Handed Whopper, 1998: Fast food restaurant chain Burger King announced that they were introducing a new Left-Handed Whopper that was designed for left-handed customers. You wouldn’t believe how many people believed the prank and tried to order the new burger.

The Google Nose Beta, 2013: Google revealed a brand new search feature called “Google Nose Beta,” which claimed to allow users to search for smells. The prank included a fake instructional video, and many people believed it was real.

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Playing Your Own April Fools Pranks

If you want to play your own April Fools prank this year, then there are a number of things that you’ll need to consider before the big day to ensure that it is a resounding success and that everyone involved sees the funny side. 

Type of Prank

A Harmless Prank: If you want to plan a harmless prank that will create a lot of laughter without the risk of hurting anyone’s feelings, then a harmless prank is the best type. You could place googly eyes on photos around the house, ensure they can be easily removed, switch the sugar for salt, add spicy Sriracha sauce to pizza sauce, or place a ‘kick me’ sign on someone’s back.

When you’re playing an April Fools Day prank, always make sure it’s in good fun and doesn’t hurt anyone. Think now just about how funny it is to you but how the recipient will feel after being the object of the prank. And if it makes a mess, you need to be the one to clean it up — whether physical or emotional.

Michelle Price, Honest and Truly

An Elaborate Prank: You’ll need to plan well for this type of prank. You could plan fake news stories or set up scenes like a false arrest or kidnapping. These elaborate pranks come with a warning; while they create a stir, they can be risky and can backfire, so do your homework thoroughly, talk to people to gain different opinions on the potential prank, and make sure it doesn’t do any harm.

Public Prank: In shopping centers or local parks, if it’s a public area, you can play a public prank. Go down on one knee and propose, stage a fake protest, or organize a flash mob. Public pranks get a lot of attention but are high risk, you need meticulous planning, and you need to ensure that you have all the right official permissions and safety measures in place, or it could backfire on you.

Choosing a Target

It’s crucial that you choose the right person to play your prank on. Do not choose someone who won’t find it funny or it may upset, your goal needs to be laughter and not tears. Ask yourself if they enjoy being the center of attention, or do they prefer to blend into the background? Have they been pranked before, and if so, did they find it amusing or upsetting? If you are in any doubt, don’t do it. 

As a budding cook while I was growing up, I’ve pulled my share of kitchen pranks – made a cake with salt instead of sugar, served salted whipped cream, etc. But the best/worst prank was when I served my 8-year-old sister strawberries and cream – my dad’s shaving cream, that is. She cried for hours, and I was grounded for days.

— Ksenia Prints. Immigrants Table
Sticky paper on yellow with text KICK ME and fish on back, closeup. April fools day concept.
Kick Me. Photo credit: Yay Images

Planning and Preparation

Start by selecting the right time and place. Ideally, you’ll want to choose a time when your target is relaxed and not expecting anything out of the ordinary. They could be enjoying a Manhattan cocktail at a party or watching TV. Avoid pranking someone when they’re already stressed or busy, as this could make the prank less enjoyable for everyone involved.

Next, gather any supplies you might need for the prank. This could include things like props such as a whoopee cushion or a phony Margherita pizza, costumes, or fake documents. Make sure everything is ready and in place before you begin the prank so you don’t have to scramble to find something at the last minute.

If you’re planning a more elaborate prank, consider recruiting friends and family to assist you. They can help with the setup, or you could employ the services of professional pranksters who can provide guidance and advice.

Remember, it’s essential to keep your prank top secret, don’t give away any clues that could tip off your target. This means not discussing the prank with anyone who could accidentally reveal your secret and being careful not to leave any evidence behind that could give it away.

April Fools’ Day is a fun and exciting time for good-humored pranksters and mischief-makers. If you follow the tips and advice in this guide, you can plan and execute the perfect April Fools’ Day prank that will leave your target laughing and impressed. Remember to keep it harmless, keep it fun, and most importantly, keep it a secret!

Mandy is the enthusiastic creator of the vegetarian website Splash of Taste; she makes meat-free cooking fun and easy. When Mandy’s not cooking and writing, you’ll find her traveling, exploring countries and cuisines, and spending time with her chihuahua. Download her free 5 x Easy Vegetarian Meals eBook.

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