No one knows for certain how April Fools’ Day got started, but one of the oldest recorded hoaxes was when some Londoners received a formal invitation to watch the “Annual Ceremony of Washing the Lions” on April 1, 1856. While a famous menagerie of animals – from ravens to lions – had been housed at the Tower of London for six centuries, the menagerie hadn’t been around for two decades. The crowd that showed up that day, eager to witness the ceremonial bath, were disappointed to find that they’d been pranked!
Other famous tricks on this day of high jinx include the BBC in 1957 documenting how spaghetti grows on trees in a region of Switzerland, and in 1996, Taco Bell running a full-page newspaper ad, announcing that they had purchased the Liberty Bell in a patriotic effort to reduce the national debt and had renamed it the “Taco Liberty Bell.”
Do you have a mischievous side? Do you love to fool the people around you? Below are some fun pranks that you can pull on your grandkids, spouse or friends. Enjoy!
- Indoor snowstorm. Sprinkle a generous amount of confetti (make sure it’s large enough to clean up easily; skip the glitter!) on the blades of a ceiling fan. Ask the child to switch on the fan. They’ll be amazed as the paper snowflakes flutter down to the ground.
- Dry mouth. Grab their water bottle (the kind where you drink through an opening in the lid) when they’re not looking, unscrew the top, and cover the opening with plastic wrap. Replace the lid. When they tip the bottle to their mouth and nothing comes out, they’ll shake the bottle, look inside and probably finally give up in perplexed frustration.
- Creepy crawly con. Draw a tiny black spider on the outside of a roll of toilet paper. Replace the roll on the holder and wait for someone to scream. This trick also works with a plastic spider on the inside of an illuminated lampshade.
- Overnight apples. This one is from my mother, who is the queen of pranks. Fill a bowl with sliced apples and a few small pots with dirt. Tell the child to bury a few apple slices in each pot, water the pots and place them in a sunny window to “grow.” The next morning, place a whole apple in each of the pots and watch their eyes widen in amazement!
- Shoe charade. Stuff their shoes with toilet paper. When they slide into their shoes the next morning, they’ll think their feet have miraculously grown a size bigger.
- Language barrier. Change the language on someone’s phone to Chinese. Be sure to be around when that first text pops in!
- Startling seat. Tape an air horn to your spouse’s office chair, right below the seat. When they sit down, their weight will deploy the horn. They’ll quickly pop back up in surprise and probably look around to locate the offending blast.
- Mind-blowing post. This one is from my sister, who is the princess of pranks. Make an announcement on Facebook about some shocking, but possible, event. Maybe it’s that you won the lottery, you’re moving to Jamaica next month, or you found a whole lot of cash buried in a jar in your backyard. Enjoy all the comments and the people who fall for it, hook, line and sinker.
Share your best April Fools’ Day pranks.