In honor of the silliest day ever, we’d like to share some of our favorite April Fool’s pranks*–and some book recommendations for the prankster in all of us.
EAT UP, EVERYONE
Diana Greenwood enjoys food pranks on April 1st. She shares these four favorites:
“My brother and I used to put Sugar Babies, those brown hurt-the-teeth candies in my dad’s pork and beans. They looked exactly like pork and beans. We’d squirm with anticipation until he bit into one. Of course, it only shocked my dad for real once but we did it for years. He continued to feign surprise.
“Once we bought yellow sponges, cut them in half and iced them on all sides. Put sprinkles on top. Served them to my parents. They look just like cake. (not sure I’d recommend this one in case someone chokes but it’s quite funny.)
“My daughter STILL eats a stick of gum, neatly refolds the foil, puts it back in the outer wrapper and asks me if I’d like a stick of gum. An empty stick of gum. I fall for it every time.
“I put a can of cat food in her lunch box one April Fool’s Day. She was so mad. Yes, I was there on the playground watching her open it with a real lunch in my hand.”
IT NEVER ENDS
Laurie Schneider remembers this never-ending prank:
“My prankish Mom taught me a trick when I was in the fourth grade. For April Fool’s she had me hide a spool of thread behind a buttonhole in my sweater and then ask my teacher to clip the dangling thread. When the teacher went to tug the thread, it just kept on coming and coming.”
RULE THE SCHOOL (OR NOT)
Kurtis Scaletta recommends Justin Fisher Declares War! by James Preller as a great April Fool’s Day read.
At Spiro Agnew Elementary, the fifth graders rule the school. And class clown Justin Fisher rules them all.
Or, at least, he did.
Justin has always been the funniest kid in school. But this year, his new teacher isn’t amused. And when Justin gets in trouble with Mr. Tripp over and over, the other kids turn on him, too. No one wants to be friends with the class troublemaker.
But Justin Fisher isn’t going down without a fight.
MAKE A LIST
Amie Borst shares her list of classic pranks (remind us to stay away from her house today):
- “lining toilet seats with saran wrap (ever see pee splatter?)”
- “putting Vaseline all over door knobs (hope you’re not in a hurry!)”
- “trading chocolate for ex-lax (payback.)”
- “putting sugar in place of salt in the shaker (that wasn’t the flavor I was expecting!)”
Wendy Shang shares the last good prank she played on her kids:
“I saved the snack-sized chip bag from their lunch, now empty, and put carrots inside along with an April Fool’s note. Then I hot-glued the bag shut and put it in their lunch.”
THE OLD SWITCHEROO
Brian Kell shares the following story from his college days:
“In college, a bunch of my friends would each our lunches together in what was called ‘The Chuckery’. Very crowded. We called this one guy in our group ‘Short Fuse’ because it didn’t take much to make him angry. Short Fuse always had his mom pack his lunch, usually with a hard boiled egg. He always cracked it open on the table.
“My friend and I switched the hard boiled egg with a raw egg. Short Fuse had this little container of salt sitting in front of him and we asked, “What’s the salt for?” Of course he got mad, reached into his bag, pulled out the egg and said, “It’s for THIS!” and smashed it on his forehead. As the egg dripped down his face, he said, “I’m going to kill my mom!!!”
“We laughed and laughed and still laugh!!!”
IT’S REALLY FAKE:
For those who need a little help on April 1st, check out 100% Pure Fake: Gross Out Your Friends and Family with 25 Great Special Effects! by Lyn Thomas.
Description from Indiebound:
Parents, beware of this book. With 100% Pure Fake, the art of scaring the pants off friends and family reaches new levels of ease and sophistication.
Pranksters can now amaze, alarm and totally disgust everyone with these easy-to-make Pure Fakes. These 25 safe, kid-tested recipes that can be made with ingredients found in most households, including corn syrup, rolled oats, makeup and pasta. Other ingredients, such as school glue, food coloring, tempera paint and gelatin, are widely available in grocery or craft stores.
Each project is presented with step-by-step instructions and includes warnings for allergy and mess alerts, non-edible and edible projects, and when kids should get adult help.
MAKE IT ALL GO AWAY
Jennifer Duddy Gill recalls this not-so funny prank (well, we authors think it isn’t funny, anyway–our readers may feel differently):
“Several years ago on April Fool’s Day, just after I’d written the final (seventeenth) draft of my very first novel and was ready to start submitting it to agents, my husband found an application on the internet that made it appear that your computer had gotten a virus and was wiping out your files. The whole thing is a blur now, but I remember my daughters standing near by while I watched all the files on my hard drive get deleted one at a time, including my book. I screamed and cried and continued to do so even after they assured me it wasn’t real. In a few years, MAYBE I’ll laugh about it.”
IT’S A ZOO AROUND HERE
Beverly Patt tells about her school prank:
“As an adult, I left a note for my principal that a Mr. Lyon called and she needed to call him back.
“The phone number was the number to the Lincoln Park Zoo.
“The guy answering the phone had to explain it to her…”
AND THE AWARD GOES TO…
Another great title to pick up today is How Lamar’s Bad Prank Won a Bubba-Sized Trophy by Crystal Allen
Description from Indiebound:
Thirteen-year-old Lamar Washington is the maddest, baddest, most spectacular bowler at Striker’s Bowling Paradise. But while Lamar’s a whiz at rolling strikes, he always strikes out with girls. And his brother, Xavier the Basketball Savior, is no help. Xavier earns trophy after trophy on the basketball court and soaks up Dad’s attention, leaving no room for Lamar’s problems.
Until bad boy Billy Jenks convinces Lamar that hustling at the alley will help him win his dream girl, plus earn him enough money to buy an expensive pro ball and impress celebrity bowler Bubba Sanders. But when Billy’s scheme goes awry, Lamar ends up ruining his brother’s shot at college and every relationship in his life. Can Lamar figure out how to mend his broken ties, no matter what the cost?
CLEANUP ON AISLE FOUR
Beverly Patt shares another prank her daughter pulled:
“My daughter rubber-banded the handle on the sprayer to our kitchen sink down so that when you turn on the water, it comes out the sprayer. Of course she had it aimed just perfectly so that my son (who was wearing a shirt and tie for some reason that day) came by and turned on the water, he got soaked!”
Karen Schwartz recalls her dad’s favorite prank:
“Every April Fool’s Day my dad would tell my sister and I that he had seen a pink polka-dotted elephant running through our backyard just before we woke up. It took a few years before we stopped hoping to see that elephant too!”
THERE’S MISCHIEF AFOOT
Sayantani DasGupta suggests catching up on your favorite mythological mischief makers today. She recommends checking out Loki, the Norse god known for mischief, but there is also Africa’s Anansi, Native Americans’ Coyote, China’s Monkey King, Ireland’s Leprechauns, the Greeks’ Eris (God of Chaos), African Americans’ Brer Rabbit, France’s Reynart the Fox, and many many others.
We found the following Loki-inspired middle-grade titles to try:
Eight Days of Luke by Diana Wynne Jones (it’s out of print but you might find it used or at the library)
Runemarks by Joanne Harris (note: some sites list this as YA, others list it as middle-grade)
PLEASE SHARE YOUR FAVORITE PRANKS (OR BOOKS WITH PRANKS OR PRANKSTERS IN THEM) IN THE COMMENTS. And have a great April Fool’s Day!
*We do not encourage our readers to try these pranks at home.** Especially on your parents, kids. And if you do, we will swear we didn’t teach them to you.
**Or at school, or work, or anywhere.***
***We mean it.^
^Okay, not really. But, as with all pranks, please be careful.^^
^^And we’ll still deny teaching them to you if you start pointing fingers.