56 Funny April Fools’ Pranks to Pull in 2023

Jokesters are in their element on April 1. These funny April Fools' gags will ensure that you're the prankster and not the prankee in 2023!

Our editors and experts handpick every product we feature. We may earn a commission from your purchases.

Whether you’re a consistent practical jokester or new to the comedic game, it’s always helpful to have a few pranks in your back pocket for parents, kidsboyfriends and friends—as well as some virtual gags you can do over text. Thinking of pranks to pull based on your zodiac sign, or creating your own version of hijinks you’ve seen in prank videos? That’s all good and fine, but keep this in mind: We like April Fools’ pranks 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. We think you’ll find the origins of April Fools’ Day really interesting (many attribute 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.

Get Reader’s Digest‘s Read Up newsletter for more humor, cleaning, travel, tech and fun facts all week long.

Coffee talk

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 sugar with 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! Meanwhile, these April Fools’ Day jokes are sure to elicit a good laugh from everyone.

Higher education

Considering how hard they work, teachers always deserve the last laugh. Gabi Martorelli, 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 was especially applicable during the pandemic, with so much remote learning happening. These April Fools’ Day memes will also crack you up.

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!

Doesn’t compute

Happy senior women using laptop in gardenOliver Rossi/Getty Images

So many of us have worked or schooled from home for a substantial time over the past few years, and our computers and devices have become 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 use 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 harmless prank has an easy fix, but you’ll still have a blast watching them twist their head trying to find out how to fix it on their computer.”

Bug alert

Print out a sign that says “This property infested with bugs” then tape it on your front door to alarm unsuspecting visitors.

Silly sucker

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.

Soup-y shower

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.

Mirror, mirror

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 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.”

Delivery day

Cardboard Package Stack at Patio Doorasbe/Getty Images

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.

Candy ants

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 an “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.

Cookie monster

Unscrew several Oreo cookies and replace the filling with toothpaste. Sandwich the cookies back together and serve with milk to make it look like a totally normal snack. How disgusted they’ll be probably depends on the flavor of the toothpaste you use for the prank!

Cat and mouse

Close Up of a Business Woman using Computer MousePixelsEffect/Getty Images

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 the mouse, it won’t work. A peek at the bottom of their mouse will let them know they’ve been pranked.

Soap star

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 I got some compliments for my effort.” Borch recommends allowing the nail polish to dry on the soap for some time in order for this one to work.

Face forward

Stick a plastic face with a suction cup 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.

Bad wrap

Orange County Register ArchiveMediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images/Getty Images

Completely wrap a loved one’s car in plastic wrap, then cover it all 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 if you slice it down the middle, it comes off quickly.

Cat conundrum

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 it, it will find itself trapped, he explains, because it will think there’s a barrier stopping it when there really isn’t. “It’s a silly little gag that might get a laugh; of course, you can remove the tape to ‘let the cat out’ once you’ve had enough fun.” These cat memes will make you laugh every time.

Gross out

Pretend that you’re going to the bathroom and call your kid asking for toilet paper. When they come into the bathroom to hand you the toilet paper, “accidentally” smear melted chocolate (which looks like poop) on their hands as they pass off the roll.

Spoonful of sugar

Sugar Pile Spoon Bamboo Table. 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.

Something’s fishy

Remove the label from a tube of anchovy paste, then replaced it with a toothpaste label. Place the tube in the unsuspecting victim’s bathroom so 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.

Fishy fun

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 fun and harmless to us!

Trick or treat

Tell your kids you baked them 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.

So cheesy

Solid type antiperspirant deodorantDouglas Sacha/Getty Images

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. When you hear their scream in the morning, the time you spent will be worth it.

Chef’s special

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.

Class chaos

This joke 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 room. In and out she went a couple of times while hilarity ensued.”

Rock ‘n roll

“In about 1973, while in college, my roommate had an old Mercury Comet from the early 1960s,” remembers Steven M. Sultanoff, PhD, a clinical psychologist. “He 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 rattle trap.”

Fridge frenzy

If you have a refrigerator and access to a bunch of pretend play food (the kind kids keep in their toy 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.

Confetti confusion

Appreciating the moment!AleksandarNakic/Getty Images

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 your unsuspecting victim turns on the fan, they will be showered with a colorful surprise!

Bugging out

If you live in a household of people who are 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.

Hello, Jell-O

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, make some Jell-O, placing 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.

Chocolate chump

Trick someone into believing you’re gifting them their favorite chocolate or another delicious food 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.

All talk

Businessman peeking through sunblinds at the window in officeWestend61/Getty Images

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 easy 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 to them on April Fools’ Day. When the actual day arrives, sit back, do nothing and watch them nervously wait for the pranks that will never come.”

Donut doozy

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 that says “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!

Sock sillies

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, leading to a lot of confusion … and frustration! Hey, we’re full of brilliant uses for old socks.

Getting antsy

This harmless prank works well if you prepare a child’s or partner’s lunch to take with them for 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 food item. To add dramatic flair, cut little “bites” out of the food with a knife so it looks like these plastic buggers took it upon themselves to dig into their lunch.

This rocks

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 it will surely bring a smile to the prankee’s face. Paint a rock in vibrant colors, then write the message “Turn me over” on one side. 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.

Balloon bonanza

Orange balloons in back seat of carFlynn 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 your victim thinks they will fly out once they open the door.

Dirty job

Here’s a great one … 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 half 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 yummy treat!

Cereal prankster

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, 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 their cereal and they can’t get a spoon through for a bite.

You’ve got mail

Close-Up Of Mailbox Mounted On WallKyrylo Glivin/Getty Images

Your mailbox is the perfect prank vehicle to put a little startle into someone you love. First, wait till your mail carrier has delivered the mail for the day (you don’t want to freak them out when they’re doing their job). Then add a little something unexpected to the box—a rubber snake, a smattering of plastic insects, a realistic, 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’!”

Whistling car

Duct tape a harmonica underneath the front bumper of your pal’s car. Nothing monumental will happen at first, but when they pick up speed, they may hear a whistling sound coming from their car. It will drive them absolutely crazy—maybe even crazy enough to pull over to check underneath the hood of the car.

Add a little sparkle

If you’ve ever used glitter, you know that a little bit goes a long way, and it gets absolutely everywhere. Fill an envelope with some glitter and leave it in your friend’s mailbox or on your co-worker’s desk. They’ll be cleaning up glitter forever.

Use other door

This is a great option if you’ve been going to the office and want to prank an unsuspecting co-worker. Tape a sign on all the doors possible to get into the building that reads “Use other door,” or even “Broken door, use the next.” Your co-worker will be really confused as they circle the building trying to get in (or out).


Hands Pupping Bubbles On Bubble WrapIsabel Pavia/Getty Images

This is an easy one that will provide a ton of laughs. If there are any area rugs in your house, grab some bubble wrap and place it underneath the rug. Whoever walks on the rug next will jump at the sound of the bubbles popping under their feet. No area rugs? Place it underneath the bathmat before they step into the shower and wait for the popping sounds to explode.


Write on a large piece of paper “Honk at me! (Driver doesn’t know it’s April Fools’.)” Tape the sign to the back of your friend’s, partner’s or co-worker’s car. People will be honking at them all the way to their destination. Just make sure the driver is distracted while getting in the car so they don’t see the sign.

Veggies for breakfast

Buy a box of donuts from your local donut shop … but remove all the donuts before you get home. Fill the box with veggies like carrots, celery and broccoli and leave it on the table. Your family will be excited about donuts for breakfast only to open the box to see the fixings for a salad. This is also a great option for your office if you leave the box in the common kitchen area.

Orange you glad …

Pick up some Pillsbury orange rolls with orange icing at the store. Bake the rolls as normal, but instead of using the orange frosting the package comes with, use melted cheese. Make sure to leave the empty container next to the plate of cinnamon rolls. Your family will expect a sweet orange flavor when they take a bite, but instead they’ll get a mouth full of cheddar cheese. The look on their face will be priceless!

Where are the forks?

Woman Grabs a Fork From Kitchen DrawerGrace Cary/Getty Images

Rearrange the drawers in your kitchen before your family comes in for a snack. Are the utensils usually in the drawer next to the fridge? Swap them with the Tupperware drawer next to the sink. This seemingly harmless prank will become overwhelming when all your partner wants to do is grab a spoon for their yogurt.

The apple of my eye

Buy a bunch of googly eyes and decorate every item in your fridge with them, from the apples to the milk and ketchup bottles. When the next person opens the fridge, everything inside will be looking right back at them.


Bring an appliance into work for the day, or tell the family that you bought a new toaster or coffee maker. Place a sign on the appliance that reads “voice-activated.” You’ll be doubled over laughing at all the people yelling at the toaster to toast.

Seeing double (or triple!)

This is one of the best April Fools’ pranks to pull if you have kids. Get your kiddos matching pairs of clothes, but don’t tell them—simply lay out the outfits and ask them to wear them the next day. They’ll be surprised to see their siblings dressed as them at breakfast!

The feather and whipped cream classic

Ahh yes, the classic prank pulled by many at summer camp. This prank happens while your target is asleep, so make sure you’re being extra sneaky. As they sleep, grab some whipped cream and spray it in their hand. Then, use a feather to tickle their nose. If the prank gods are on your side, your target will use the whipped-cream hand to itch their nose in their sleep—and smear whipped cream all over their face.


Senior woman laughing while using her smartphoneStefania Pelfini, La Waziya Photography/Getty Images

This is a low-maintenance prank, but it still packs a funny punch. Tell your target you got a call from this number looking for them: 248-434-5508. They’ll be inclined to call the number to see what’s up. When they call, they’ll hear the song “Never Gonna Give You Up” by Rick Astley—meaning they just got Rickrolled. This funny number comes in handy!

Who got sick?

This one requires a prop—and a strong stomach. Get your hands on some fake vomit and place it somewhere your target frequents (their bed, or an office chair). Watch them become confused and grossed out—then laugh with them once they realize it’s fake!

Whoopee-cushion roulette

Put a twist on the classic whoopee cushion prank by grabbing a large set and hiding them in popular seats across the house. Put some in the living room, others on kitchen chairs and even one in the office chair! The randomness of the locations ensures no one’s safe from this good-natured prank—and everyone gets the chance to laugh more on April Fools’ Day.