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34 of the Best April Fools’ Pranks to Play on Your Parents

Updated: Apr. 07, 2024

The best April Fools' pranks for parents are easy and fun—and won’t get you grounded

family of three laughing together on april fools day
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Genius April Fools’ pranks for parents

April Fools’ Day is a treasured holiday for kids around the world. (Don’t forget to check this list of other holidays and observances in April.) Telling April Fools’ Day jokes and pulling pranks on your parents is good, clean fun—especially if your family members can take a joke! In that spirit of mischief, we’ve rounded up 35 of the very best April Fools’ pranks for parents.

Keep in mind that not everyone thinks April Fools’ pranks are funny, so proceed with caution and prepare to clean up any mess you make. Warning: Don’t be surprised if they turn the tables and prank you too!

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Colored cereals with milk
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Frozen cereal

Want to spice up your family’s morning routine? Try this April Fool’s Day prank: Pour bowls of cereal and milk for your mom and dad, then pop them in the freezer overnight. On April 1, sneak the bowls of cereal out of the freezer before Mom and Dad come into the kitchen—and watch their surprise as they attempt to tackle a frozen breakfast!

light switch
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Broken light switch

Forget complex Facebook pranks. This is one of those simple April Fools’ pranks for parents that are easy to do and never go out of style. Wrap light switches in clear scotch tape, making it a puzzling challenge for parents to figure out why the lights won’t cooperate. Enjoy their frustration as they struggle with the unresponsive switches!

Woman in woolly gray sweater holding warm cup of tea
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Frozen cocoa

Add a chilly twist to your parent’s hot chocolate routine: Prepare a mug as usual, but stash it in the freezer overnight. Pour in a bit of hot water in the morning to give it a semi-frozen appearance. (Bonus points for hiding the frozen cocoa beneath a mound of marshmallows.) Watch the confusion unfold as they try to enjoy their unconventional cold hot chocolate!

Closeup macro of pasture raised farm fresh dozen brown eggs store bought from farmer in carton box container with speckled eggshells texture
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Secretly boiled eggs

Shake up breakfast with one of the tastiest pranks to pull on April 1: Replace fresh eggs with hard-boiled ones. Imagine their surprise when they crack open the eggs, expecting a quick scramble, only to find a hard-boiled twist to start their day.

Woman sending a text message, browsing social media or surfing the internet on her phone while sitting in the living room at home. Closeup of the hands of a black female holding wireless technology
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Where’s my phone?

If you love April Fools’ text pranks, keep your parents on their toes with another trick: Call them from your cell, claiming you’ve lost your phone. Confusion will unfold as they try to make sense of the paradoxical situation.

two deodorants
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Cream cheese deodorant

Add a twist to the morning routine by swapping deodorant for cream cheese. Smooth it out with a spatula to maintain a realistic appearance. Enjoy the double take (and cries of “gross!”) as your parents discover the unexpected change!

Vintage metal US post mail box
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Unexpected package

Create a mailbox surprise after the mail has arrived but before your parents collect it. Drop in fake bugs, a plastic snake or any other amusing item that will give them a lighthearted scare when they open the mailbox.

Female Hand set up white bed sheet in bedroom
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Short the sheets

Here’s a good April Fools’ prank for parents that is equal parts hilarious and frustrating: “Short sheet” their bed. Simply remove the top sheet, tuck one end under the mattress at the top of the bed, then fold it over so that it acts as both the fitted sheet and top sheet. When Mom or Dad hop into bed, their feet will hit the fold in an abrupt surprise!

Russian traditional sweet drink kissel with cranberries
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Juicy surprise

Does your mom like to sip a glass of cranberry or grape juice in the mornings? April Fools’ Day is the perfect opportunity to shake up her juice routine with Jell-O! On March 31, mix up a package of Jell-O (just follow the instructions on the back of the box) and pour the liquid into a clear cup with a straw in it. Refrigerate the cup overnight. The Jell-O will solidify, holding the straw in place and setting the stage for a jiggly surprise in the morning. If your mom gets annoyed, share an April Fools’ Day meme to make her laugh again.

Slices of wholemeal bread
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Bread gone bad

Does your family love food jokes? This April Fools’ prank for parents will have them thinking the bread they just bought at the grocery store has already gone moldy. With clean hands, take the top slice of bread off the loaf. Dab a drop or two of green food coloring on the next slice. Replace the top slice so that the colored smudge is hidden, then wait for a disgusted reaction when they think they’ve gotten a moldy loaf!

Stack of chocolate sandwich cookies on the rustic wooden background
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Kookie cookie

Do your parents have a sweet tooth? If they’re fans of Oreos or other sandwich-style cookies, this is the prank for you. Grab an Oreo and slowly twist the cookies so it comes apart. Use a butter knife to scrape off the icing, then replace it with white toothpaste. Carefully put the Oreo back together, offer it to your parents and watch them react to the minty surprise. This would also make a funny April Fools’ prank for boyfriends (if you’re old enough to have one).

many colored balloons forming a bright background wallpaper image
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Balloons in the pillow

When your parents aren’t looking, take their pillows out of their pillowcases and hide them in a closet or dresser drawer. Then fill their pillowcases with blown-up balloons instead. They’ll get a squeaky, airy surprise when they go to bed for the night. Depending on how heavy their heads are, they might even get scared with a pop!

piece of soap and foam
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Soap no more

Anyone whose family uses bar soap in the bathroom sink or shower will enjoy pulling this classic April Fools’ prank for parents! When they’re not looking, take the bar of soap and dry it off completely. Then carefully paint the whole thing with clear nail polish. Next time a family member tries to lather the soap, nothing will happen.

Fresh red blood splat on white porcelain with specks from the impact. Copy space area for horror themed concepts and ideas.
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Colored water

Make your parents worry about the water quality with this harmless prank. Use a cotton swab to wipe gel food coloring around the rim of the faucet spout, right where the water comes out. Choose red to give it a particularly spooky touch! Then watch and wait for them to freak out when they fill up their glass. Nothing like a little fake blood in the morning, right?

salt on spoon going into black coffee
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Salty shocker

If your parents drink their coffee or tea with a touch of sugar, replace the sweetener in their sugar bowl with salt for a not-so-sweet surprise. Note: Don’t forget to replace it before you need a little sugar for your oatmeal!

Woman with roll of stretch wrap at light grey table, top view
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Shrink-wrapped shampoo

This is the best April Fools’ prank for parents who love their bath products. Get them into a lather in the shower by sealing off their shampoo, conditioner or body wash. To do this, unscrew the cap and place a small piece of plastic wrap over the bottle opening, then screw the lid back on. They’ll have no idea why they can’t get their products out of the bottle.

Shot of a man holding a remote control while watching TV
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Wrong channel

Take the batteries out of every remote in the house to make it impossible to change the channel. Bonus points if you switch the TV to your favorite channel before you shut it down. Speaking of, here are some hilarious April Fools’ pranks that went wrong.

young man hanging a picture upside down to prank parents
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Turn the world upside down

This April Fools’ prank for parents is also a great April Fools’ Day office prank to play on your co-workers. It will have them wondering why their world was flipped upside down! Sneak downstairs before your parents get up and set all the small objects in the house (picture frames, clocks, books and other doodads) upside down or backward. You can also turn jackets and other items inside out.

mother and daughter laughing in the kitchen
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Voice command fail

This is one of those April Fools’ pranks for parents that can get people in stitches in no time. Tell your parents that one of their favorite appliances (like the coffee maker or toaster) has a voice-command feature that you just set up for them. Then watch as they talk to that appliance and become confused when it doesn’t work.

Front Door with Delivery Boxes
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Special delivery

Give your parents a good laugh (and possibly a minor moment of panic) with this easy prank. Simply stash some used cardboard boxes in a secret spot over the next few weeks, then tape them back together on March 31 so they look new. Put them on your porch on April 1 while your parents aren’t looking. Then explain to your parents that you accidentally ordered a ton of stuff that was delivered today … oops! If your parents start to panic (because budgets are real), simply scream “April Fools!” and watch the relief flood their faces.

Toilet paper
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Silly spiders

If one of your family members is freaked out by creepy crawlies, this April Fools’ prank will definitely get a reaction (and makes a great April Fools’ prank for kids too). Unroll the toilet paper slightly and draw a creepy spider a few sheets in with a marker. Roll it back up and wait for your victim to get a surprise.

The phone screen is cracked.
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Cracked screen

If you have a smartphone or tablet, you can really fool your parents by pretending the screen has cracked. You can download images or even find online apps that will make your screen look like it has shattered. Your parents will be so relieved when you scream “April Fools!”

Vertical storage of clothing. Clothing folded for vertical storage in the linen drawer
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Underwear switcheroo

This is the best April Fools’ prank for parents who have a rigid morning routine. Make getting ready in the morning a little more challenging by switching the underwear from one person’s drawer to another’s. (It’s especially funny if you put a kid’s teeny underwear into the biggest family member’s dresser.)

Negroni Cocktail On Top View With Wooden Background
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Iced over

This is the best April Fools’ prank for parents who love their morning tea or coffee. There are a few different ways you can bring a little April Fools’ fun to their drinks. Try hiding a little food coloring beneath some ice cubes, so when you pour in water or another drink, you’ll get a colorful beverage. Or create a creepy drink by freezing a plastic bug in an ice cube and slipping it into your parent’s drink.

photo album family best april fools pranks for parents

Picture prank

Looking for good April Fools’ pranks to do at home, especially if you like Harry Potter jokes? Print out (or snip out) pictures of your favorite characters or cartoons and replace your family photos with these silly shots. (Let’s see how long it takes for your parents to realize Harry Potter has replaced you in the portrait.) Another option: Find family photos of random people online, print them out and put these strangers into your album—then wait for Mom and Dad’s confusion.

A man is holding a remote control of a smart TV in his hand. In the background you can see the television screen with streaming entertainment apps for video on demand
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Habla Español?

Swap the settings on the TV or your parents’ phones so they see everything in Spanish or French instead of English. Then maybe they can help you with your language homework too!

man getting sprayed by kitchen sink
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Sprays on you

This one is an oldie but a goodie: Use a rubber band on the sink sprayer handle to keep it pressed down. When an unsuspecting person turns on the faucet, your prank will make a big splash as the sprayer soaks them.

black duct tape
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Don’t get stuck

If your parents constantly ask you to replace the roll of toilet paper, here’s the perfect opportunity to do it—but with something funny. Put a roll of duct tape on the holder instead of toilet paper.

White wireless mouse pad best april fools pranks for parents
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Mouse no more

This is the best April Fools’ prank for tech-savvy parents. Stick a Post-it or a piece of clear tape over the tracking sensor on the computer mouse to keep it from moving. Watch your parents’ confusion as they try to figure out why their computer is on the fritz.

large group of yellow rubber toy ducks
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Ducks in a row

Is there such a thing as too many rubber ducks? You’re about to find out! Get an outrageous number of rubber ducks (the more the merrier). Start hiding them everywhere: in cupboards, drawers, desks, car glove boxes… Go big or go home.

Two O'clock
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Never-ending alarm

Want to really prank your parents? This one’s perfect for you (and might be one of those bad jokes people can’t help but laugh at). Gather up all the alarm clocks in your house (or buy a few if you’re a phone-alarm family), set them all to go off at different times, then hide them all over.

Many different sizes of googly eyes on grey background.
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Here’s looking at you

Less is more, which is what makes this prank so fun. Buy a bunch of googly eyes and stick them on everything you can find. It might not be the most original prank out there, but it’s surely one that will make people smile.

Bubble wrap
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Bubble fun

Use bubble wrap! Place bubble wrap under an area rug or a bathmat. This one’s particularly effective first thing in the morning, before your unsuspecting victim has had any coffee—nothing like a loud, unexpected noise to wake someone up real quick!

2012 Year in Review
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Confetti explosion

Party poppers are great—so grab one and affix it to the jamb of a closed door, with the string stretched across the door. When someone turns the knob, they’ll find themselves surprised by a loud noise and a mini explosion of confetti. Talk about making an entrance!

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Additional reporting by Lisa Milbrand and Kelly Kuehn.

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