40 Funny April Fools’ Pranks to Pull This Year
Every editorial product is independently selected, though we may be compensated or receive an affiliate commission if you buy something through our links. Ratings and prices are accurate and items are in stock as of time of publication.
April 1 is a prankster's favorite time of year. These funny April Fools' pranks will ensure you're the prankster and not the prankee in 2021!
Whether you’re a consistent practical jokester or new to the comedic game, it’s always helpful to have a few April Fools’ pranks for your parents or anyone else in your back pocket. We like gags that are clever enough to throw a friend or family member for a loop, but innocent enough not to put anyone in harm’s way.
April Fools’ pranks date all the way back to the 1700s, and the “holiday” is also sometimes referred to as All Fools Day. The origins of April Fools’ Day are actually really interesting, with many attributing its start to the people of Great Britain.
Want to stock up on April Fools’ pranks for your loved ones? Look no further than these hilarious suggestions.
Considering how hard they work, teachers always deserve the last laugh. Gabi Martorell, a professor of psychology at Virginia Wesleyan University, decided to play a little April Fools’ prank on her class. Last year she uploaded a link called “Final Exam Answers” to her students’ coursework page. However, the link did not lead to the answers at all. Students who thought they were going to get a bit of surprise help for their big test were instead treated to a video of pop singer Rick Astley singing, “Never Gonna Give You Up.” Martorelli says this joke is especially applicable this year with so much remote learning happening. These April Fools’ Day memes will also crack you up.
Depending on how dependent your April Fools’ prank recipient is on their morning coffee, we’ll admit this joke is borderline cruel. In this oldie, but goodie, swap out the sugar for salt so when your target groggily goes to enjoy their first cup o’ joe, they’ll get a tastebud surprise. Maybe keep a piping hot, properly-made coffee with sugar waiting in the wings to smooth things over if this one goes awry! These April Fools’ Day jokes are sure to elicit a good laugh from everyone.
PB & laughs
If you want to momentarily gross out a friend with a funny April Fools’ prank, this one’s for you: Put crunchy peanut butter on their shoe and it will resemble, well, something you might find in the toilet. Take the joke a step further and swipe a lick of the peanut butter with your finger. We would probably recommend making sure you try this one on a pretty clean shoe if you go for the lick! We’ve got more funny April Fools’ pranks for kids.
Oliver Rossi/Getty Images
In a time when we’re working and schooling from home, our computers and devices are everything. But online entrepreneur Mark Coster still thinks it’s fun to innocently mess with these screens. “When a person’s computer is on, ask them to bring you something from another room (the further away, the better) and press the keyboard shortcut CTRL + ALT + Down Arrow if they are using Windows,” he suggests. “If they are on a Mac, go to System Preferences. Hold Command and Option while clicking on Display, and then hit the ‘180’ option. This will flip their computer screen upside down. This is a harmless prank with an easy fix, but you’ll still have a blast watching them as they twist their head trying to find out how to fix it on their computer.”
Unwrap a lollipop, replace the candy with a Brussels sprout, then re-wrap the treat to present to your unknowing kiddos. Celebrate after the prank with real lollies.
Print out a sign that says “This property infested with bugs” then tape it on your front door to alarm unsuspecting visitors. Won’t be seeing the person you hope to fool this year IRL? Try one of the hilarious text pranks for April Fools’.
Unscrew your showerhead and pop in a bouillon cube so your family member takes a shower that smells increasingly like chicken as the water streams down.
If you tend to get a lot of deliveries each week (hello, Amazon Prime!), then this is a good April Fools’ prank for your boyfriend or husband. Save the boxes for a few weeks, then on April 1 set them all out by the front door to trick your partner into thinking you went on a shopping spree.
This parent found herself pranked in such a creative way it made her love her 11-year-old twins even more. “They got together and used all of the colored sticky notes in our house (and we have a lot) and created a huge April Fools creature across my bathroom mirror,” says author Dani LaBriola. “Each post-it had the word ‘hi’ on it and had a detailed face, eyes, mouth, and body. It left me ducking around their creature every morning to get ready because I didn’t want to take it down. I finally did…in December.”
Invest in a bag of fake ants, then add a sprinkling to your child’s lunch for school. The only downside is you won’t be there to see their surprise.
Fake and “oops!”
Squeeze glue into an old bottle of nail polish, shake it up, and spill it out on parchment paper with the glue streaming from the bottle. When it dries, put it on the carpet to make your target think they have a troublesome mess on their hands.
Unscrew several Oreo cookies and replace the filling with toothpaste. Sandwich the cookies back together and serve with milk, or water to make it look like a totally normal snack. How disgusted they are probably depends on the flavor of the toothpaste you use for the prank!
Cat and mouse
Not all good April Fools’ pranks relate to food. For this one, cut a tiny piece of paper to fit undetected under your target’s computer mouse. Write “Gotcha!” on it then stick it on the device with some tape. When they try to use it, it won’t work. A peek at the bottom of their mouse will let them know they’ve been pranked.
April Fools’ pranks don’t necessarily require some elaborate setup. In fact, Allan Borch, a growth hacker and founder of DotcomDollar, only needed a bar of soap and a bottle of clear nail polish to pull a prank on his girlfriend. “I went ahead and bought some clear nail polish, took the bar of soap from our bathroom, and completely covered the whole thing with the nail polish,” he says. “When she tried using it, it would not lather at all. We had a few laughs and some compliments for my effort.” Borch recommends allowing the nail polish to dry on the bar of soap for quite some in order for this one to work.
Stick a plastic face with a suction cup that sticks to a window from the outside, then when a person enters the room, it looks like someone is peeking through the window. This one could be pretty scary, so don’t do it to anyone with any health issues, and be sure to leave a note on the mask identifying yourself as the friendly perpetrator.
Completely wrap a loved one’s car in plastic wrap then cover in silly string. (Don’t get the silly string on the car though, because it could damage its finish.) It may look like a lot of work to unwrap, but you just have to slice down the middle and it comes off quickly.
Not even the family cat is safe from funny April Fools’ pranks. Derrick from Simply Cat Care shares this “Trap Your Cat in a Square” prank. Create a square on the ground with masking tape. When your cat walks into, they will find themselves trapped, he explains, because they will think there’s a barrier stopping them when there isn’t. “It’s a silly little gag that might get a laugh, of course, you can ‘let the cat out’ by untaping the floor once you’ve had enough fun.” These cat memes will make you laugh every time.
Pretend that you’re going to the bathroom and call your kid asking for toilet paper. When they come into the bathroom handing you the toilet paper, “accidentally” smear melted chocolate (which looks like poop) on their hands as they pass off the roll.
Spoonful of sugar
Roman Didkivskyi/Getty Images
Open up a salt shaker and tuck a piece of paper towel over the top, then fill it with a teaspoon or so of sugar and screw the lid back on. The next person who uses it will have a sweet surprise. Read some of our best corny jokes and puns.
Remove the label from a tube of anchovy paste, then replaced it with a toothpaste label. Places the tube in the unsuspecting victim’s bathroom so that they get a major surprise the next time they want to brush their teeth. Imagine expecting minty fresh breath only to be met with the fishy, salty taste of anchovy? At that point, you might as well have pizza for breakfast.
In France, April Fools’ Day is called Poisson d’avril, which translates to “fish of April.” French children celebrate by taping cut out paper fish onto their classmates’ backs. We’re not sure why, but it sounds funny and harmless to us!
Trick or treat
Tell your kids you baked them up a delicious batch of brownies, then present them with a tray of rectangles cut out of brown construction paper. It looks surprisingly like the real thing.
Twist out the top of your loved one’s deodorant about two inches. Remove it with a spoon and replace it with cream cheese, which you then mold and shape with your hands. It will take some time for it to look realistic. Once you hear their scream in the morning, all that time you spent will be worth it.
Make a faux sundae with mashed potatoes as the ice cream and gravy as the caramel topping. Depending on how good a sense of humor your kids have, you may want to let them in on the joke.
During a pandemic this prank is not likely to be pulled off, but in non-COVID times it’s one to keep in mind and a joke that still brings a smile to Jules Tan’s face. “Teachers are always on high alert on April Fools’ Day,” says Tan, who now blogs at OutdoorMagnet.com. “One year, two classes decided to switch classrooms for the day. When the teacher walked in, she was welcomed with different kids in her class. Confused, she went out of the classroom to check if she entered the right class. And in and out she went a couple of times while hilarity ensured.”
Rock ‘n roll
Petar Tutundziev/500px/Getty Images
“In about 1973, while in college, I had a roommate who had an old Mercury Comet from the early 1960s,” remembers Steven M. Sultanoff, PhD, a clinical psychologist.”My roommate loved that car. We teased him about it being an ‘old rattle trap.’ On April 1 he had parked it on the dirt in a wooded area and was off to class. While he was in class, I popped off the hub caps and filled them with a few rocks and popped them back on the car. I bumped into him after his class and asked for a ride to our apartment. As he backed out of the parking spot the rattle was really loud. Horror filled his face. I got a few rattle trap digs in before fessing up to the prank. I had turned his car into a real rattletrap.”
If you’re going to pull this prank, you have to be prepared to also clean it up. Buy some confetti or make your own, then place it on top of a ceiling fan. When you’re unsuspecting victim turns on the fan, they will be showered with a colorful surprise!
If you have a refrigerator and access to a bunch of pretend play food (like the kind kids keep in their miniature-sized kitchens), Michael Humpreys of Z Grills has a prank for you: Get a bunch of chocolate boxes and fill them with the fake vegetables or cheese or fill the fridge with them in place of the real thing.
If you live in a household with people who are very squeamish when it comes to bugs, then you may or may not want to play this clever April Fools prank. Using plain drawing paper, create a dark silhouette of a bug or cockroach, then cut it out. Stick the creepy silhouette to the inside of a lampshade. When the unsuspecting prankee turns on the lamp, they’ll see a shadow of the “bug.” Expect shrieks to follow.
Unfortunately, April Fools’ office pranks are largely off the table this year, but this silly gag could still work on a spouse or partner who is working alongside you in the comforts of your own home during the pandemic. It’s the old stapler stuck in Jell-O trick, previously made famous by the jokesters on The Office when Jim pulled the stunt on colleague Dwight. To make this work for you at home, whip up some Jell-O and place it in a bowl in the fridge to set. Once it’s set, add the stapler, then pour another batch of Jell-O over the top to set. This gag will definitely get a good laugh, especially if your partner is a fan of the show.
Trick someone into believing you’re gifting them their favorite chocolate, or something delicious that excites them. When they open it, they’ll discover it actually isn’t chocolate, but rather a piece of cardboard you stuck in there with the words “Fooled you!” written on it.
No time to execute an April Fools’ Day prank this year? Try a little innocent psychological warfare instead. “My favorite prank that is unique yet practical to pull off with friends and family is what I call the No Prank prank,” says Atta Ur Rehman, a content manager with Physicians Thrive. “Simply hype up the people around you telling them about the pranks you’ll do with them on April Fools’ Day. When the actual day arrives, sit back, do nothing, and watch them nervously waiting for the pranks that will never come.”
Popping bubble wrap can be a stress reliever when you know it’s there. But if you want to use the office supply to pull a prank, it works just as well for that, too. If you have an area rug somewhere in your home, cut out a length of bubble wrap to fit perfectly underneath it. When your “victim” steps on it, they will get quite the surprise! No area rugs? Try placing it underneath the bathmat before they step into the shower and wait for the popping sounds to “explode.”
Who doesn’t love a donut? Pull a silly little prank on your kiddos in the morning by offering them packages of “Donut Seeds” for breakfast. Place a handful of Cheerios in a small cellophane bag, then staple it shut with a label with the words donut seeds. They’ll get a laugh (and breakfast) at the same time. When you stop to think about it, the cereal does look like a tiny donut. Maybe have the real deal full-size version on hand, too, so they can see what their seeds will look like when they’re all grown up!
Take a pair of your prank victim’s socks and sew them shut about halfway through the sock. They will think you’re being incredibly helpful in assisting them with getting ready in the morning when you offer to fetch their socks for them. Then giggle away as they look befuddled while trying to put on these sewed-up socks. Their foot will only be able to shimmy in halfway through, leading to a lot of confusion…and frustration! We’re full of brilliant ideas for extra uses for your old socks.
This prank is harmless and works really well if you prepare a child or partner’s lunch to take with them during the day. Set up their lunch box as you normally would, with each compartment filled with something delicious. Then place a plastic cockroach on top of each of the food items. To add dramatic flair, cut little “bites” out of the food with a knife so that it looks like these plastic buggers took it upon themselves to dig into their lunch.
With the popularity of The Kindness Rocks Project, it isn’t uncommon to spot a sweet painted rock on the ground with a loving message. This prank doesn’t have the same positive message, but will surely bring a smile to the prankee’s face. Paint a rock in vibrant colors, then write the message, “Turn me over,” on the side that you’d like to face up. On the opposite side write, “You just took orders from a rock.”
Roll with it
Pull the old switcheroo on a bathroom toilet paper roll, replacing it with a large roll of white duct tape. The next time someone in your home goes to pull a square from the roll, they’ll be in for quite a surprise. No duct tape around? Wrap a rubber snake around the toilet paper roll for a freak-out no one will see coming. This can also work with plastic insects as well.
Flynn Larsen/Getty Images
For this prank, blow up a boatload of balloons and bunch them together using string or tape to create a balloon bouquet of sorts. Next, tape the balloons to the inside of a car window, so that your victim thinks they will fly out once they open the door.
Prepare a dessert that looks like a big ‘ol cup of dirt, complete with worms. At the bottom of the cup, scoop either pudding, ice cream, or whipped cream. Next, take a heaping 1/cup of finely crushed Oreo cookies (the chocolate cookie part only) and place that on top. Finish off the treat with some candy gummy worms peeking out of the top. It might look like something you found in your garden but it’s actually a scrumptious treat!
You’ve got mail
If you’d like to put a little startle in someone you love, use your mailbox as the perfect prank vehicle. Once your mail carrier has delivered the mail for the day (we don’t want to freak them out while they’re trying to do their job), add a little something unexpected to the box. This can be either a rubber snake, a smattering of plastic insects, or a realistic and slightly terrifying toy—anything that will make your prank victim take a big jump back. Attach a note to the back that says, “April Fools’!”
Is your kid’s go-to breakfast a nice big bowl of cold cereal with milk? On April 1, offer to pour that bowl for them. Little do they know that you actually prepared their morning meal the night before…and it’s in the freezer. Simply pour their favorite cereal into a freezer-safe bowl, then add milk. We suggest covering with some saran wrap to avoid spills when placing on a stable shelf in the freezer overnight. They’ll be all kinds of confused when you serve them the bowl, and they can’t get a spoon through for a bite.