top of page
  • Adri Sandoval

5 Best, Mostly Harmless Pranks for April Fool's Day (and a few "Pranks" to Avoid)

For someone who doesn't enjoy pranks, I am a big fan of April Fool's Day. There's something kind of cute about everyone spending a day being playful and subjecting people they love to a little mischief. So long as nobody gets hurt and it's all in good fun, April Fool's Day is a good time to share a laugh with friends for something a little devious. Again, JUST A LITTLE devious. Before we get into the pranks, there are a few very important dos and don'ts:

What a good April Fool's Day Prank IS:

A prank is a practical joke you play on someone close to you. It should be done in a lighthearted manner and you should be willing to step forward and take the blame immediately once the prank has been pulled. You and the target of the prank should be able to laugh about it after.

What a good April Fool's Day Prank is NOT:

A prank should not be hurtful or harmful in any way. It should not cause damage to property, person, or your relationship. You should also NOT be pulling pranks on someone who you do not know well - there's a lot of room to inadvertently hurt someone or make them think you're a jerk. Pranks should be between friends.

So now that you understand that I am NOT recommending anything that will cause harm to someone you hate (sorry, bud.) Here are a few ideas for April Fool's Day pranks you can play on your friends and laugh about later.

This thing was not meant to be used as an April Fool's joke. It was designed as a legit children's toy and for that purpose, it is awful. I like to buy myself something soft and cute when I'm sad, watch a movie or take a nap with it, and then give it away to a kid in my family when I feel better. I picked one of these up the last time I was feeling a little down and it was a huge bummer.

Look at the packaging. It looks like a soft, super cute stuffed animal. But once you pull it out of the package, you realize it has no face. It's weird. And then you realize it sheds freaking everywhere. You cannot hold it or play with it without getting a ton of fuzz everywhere. So you have this weird, faceless supershedder hanging out.

The instructions on the packaging are very vague and I, human adult, did not understand them. It wasn't until I looked it up online to complain about it the next day that I found a promo video that explained:\ how the toy is supposed to work. You're supposed to pluck each and every bit of fuzz and fluff off this monster until the cute plush underneath (with face) is revealed. As a toy, it sucks. As a prank, it's not too bad. Gift it without a word, let your recipient take it out of the package, and once they realize that the fuzz is supposed to come off, they have either a 40-minute chore or a room full of floating fuzz. After, though, they'll have a cute plush. I'm thinking of getting one for my mom.

If you're looking for a plushie that wasn't meant to suck, check out this list of the 11 Best Plush Gifts for All Ages.

2. Espresso "Cookies"

This was one of my favorite pranks I ever got to witness. While working as a server many, many years ago I walked into work one day to see a plate of cookies sitting on top of the bar. They looked to be chocolate, a similar color to Oreos, and each had a delicate little dollop of icing on top. Another server walked by and asked about the cookies, and the bartender told him to help himself to one. He picked it up, put it in his mouth, took a big bite, and immediately started sputtering as the "cookie" crumbled and his mouth filled with very finely ground espresso beans.

The restaurant had an espresso machine that only the bartender could use - so none of the waitstaff knew anything about it or the espresso pucks that came out. The bartender had been collecting pucks for a bit instead of throwing them away, saving them for a day when he could fill a plate. He topped each one with a little bit of icing so they looked less like straight coffee and a little more tempting. A mouthful of espresso is no fun, but the prank was great. The server loved it - after a big drink of water he went and told everyone else there were free cookies at the bar.

If you have an espresso machine at home (or a friend who is a barista) April 1st might be a nice day to treat friends or coworkers to a big plate of cookies. DIY it with an Aeropress - it's about $40, will produce a puck, and an amazingly smooth cup of coffee.

3. Toilet Lid Party

This is a great idea that was posted to IMGUR 11 years ago. How it isn't a classic by now, I don't know.

By taping a party popper under the lid of a toilet and anchoring the string to the bowl itself, you can set it to pop when someone else lifts the lid. They did note - their original anchor was not strong enough to go off when the lid was lifted, but also, their target was expecting a prank and being very gentle opening ANYTHING that day.

It might startle your friend, but so long as they don't have a heart condition (or a REALLY full bladder) it should all end in giggles. Nobody has celebrated when I use the toilet since I was maybe 3. Maybe this should be a more common thing. Bring back toilet celebrations! You can get 50 of these tiny poppers in a pack, so you can keep the party going!

While setting up your toilet trap, you may want a pair of these as well, if it is not your home toilet.

4. Litterbox Cake

This is another one that wasn't meant to be an April Fool's joke but would be fantastic for April 1st. This story is from a few years ago but has stuck with me because I would love to do this if the opportunity ever arose.

A vet nurse in the UK made a going-away cake for her last day at a job to celebrate with colleagues. As animal lovers, she thought they'd get a kick out of a cake that looked like a used litter box. She didn't explain - she just walked in, dropped it off, and walked away to get to work. The result? The cake sat there uneaten because nobody knew what exactly they'd be digging into.

The cake only looked gross - but it was a regular sponge cake with a crumbly topping and a few coiled squirts of chocolate icing. If you work in an office setting, you know how nuts people can get for free food left out. Your cake has to be pretty convincing for nobody to touch it! Your friends or coworkers will probably know it's not real and therefore, not an actual prank - but it's pretty gross and everyone who is bold enough gets a little bit of cake.

Get a recipe and gross out your friends with a cake that (promise!) smells better than it looks.

I think what I like so much about food pranks is that you don't have to offer them to anyone - people tend to just grab free food if it's left out without asking. Especially candy. My sister used to keep a candy jar on her desk at a former job for people to take a candy or two when they needed a sweet treat. Eventually, she got rid of it because people would take huge handfuls without being considerate of others or how much she would spend to keep the candy jar full.

Do you keep a jar? Replace your usual candy with something unexpected - but not harmful. Like these pickle-flavored jellybeans, or maybe black licorice that could look like grape.

STOP doing the pregnancy pranks.

They're just really not fun or funny.

In a Reddit post, someone explains that they pulled this prank on their husband. They announced one April Fool's Day that they were pregnant and their husband was overjoyed - and then genuinely devastated when they revealed they were joking. A few years later, when they were actually pregnant and told their husband, he was hesitant to believe it wasn't a joke. His reaction soured the whole "announcement" experience but.. can you blame him?

I've seen some people "prank" friends with social media posts instead of partners. A friend confided in me some years ago that it was hurtful for her to see these prank posts after she lost a pregnancy. She found out she was unable to have children and seeing someone make a joke out of an announcement she knew she'd never be able to make really made her upset. On April 1st nobody really falls for them and they're pretty overdone anyway. Put them away.

DON'T "break up" with your partner.

Someone did this to me once and it was not funny or well-executed. He called me and told me that he liked me but thought we should break up. I agreed that it just wasn't working out. Immediately he changed his tune and started freaking out asking why and explaining that he was just joking. I guess he wanted me to be sad and grovel? I don't remember what reason I gave him but realizing he thought that was a funny joke just really sealed it.

If you don't want to find out that your partner feels pretty good about not dating you, skip this one. Other people who have tried this "joke" have had angry exes say really hurtful things and what started as a prank can become real ugly real fast.

Don't prank children.

That's just cruel. They don't get it, they're never going to forget it, and if they try to prank you back, they're likely to take it too far. You might be eager to get your kids in on the fun but it's not fun when they don't understand it. Save it for a few years and really get them good when they're teenagers and know what a prank is.


Commenting has been turned off.
bottom of page