April Fools’ Day is the perfect opportunity to try out all those pranks you’ve been dying to pull on your friends, family, and coworkers—just without any of the guilt. Since it’s essentially a pranking holiday where every possible victim gets advance warning, you have full rein to (safely!) pull one over on whomever you choose. It’s Apr. 1, fool! Look at your darn calendar! If you’re not on high alert during this one day of the year, you have nobody to blame but yourself.
We’ve collected 48 brilliant, harmless April Fools’ pranks that won’t end in tears or make anyone want to cut you out of their life. And for more laughs, check out The 50 Funniest Celebrity Instagram Posts of 2020.
Buy a harmonica and then duct tape it under the front bumper of your victim’s car. They won’t hear anything at first, but they’ll eventually notice an unmistakable wheezing sound coming from (what they believe is) their car’s engine. How long can they ignore it before looking under the hood and trying to figure out what the heck is going on? If they end up taking their car to a mechanic, you may have to split the bill for harmonica removal. But it’ll be worth it for the shared laugh. For more holiday fun sent right to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.
Use Other Door…Forever
The more doors in your workplace, the better. Attach signs reading, “Door is broken, use other door,” to every entrance and exit in the office, with arrows pointing in every possible direction. You’ll have your confused coworkers walking in circles, trying to find any way to escape. Just make sure to fill them in on the gag before they try fleeing through a window.
Rearranged Kitchen Drawers
Many people like to keep the utensil drawer in their kitchen strictly organized. They know exactly where the forks and spoons belong, to the point where they could reach in blindfolded and find exactly what they need. Switch up that carefully organized system and you’ll cause genuine cooking chaos.
Text Them the Dictionary
This may sound too time-consuming for prank purposes, but the University of Michigan’s website has collected an extensive list of words that you can easily copy and paste into a text. If you want a bigger element of surprise, press Ctrl + S on the word page to save it all as a text file, and then deliver it to your victim as an innocent-looking attachment in an email. It’s a gift that keeps on giving, as many email search engines will look inside attachments when doing word searches, so they’ll be reminded of your prank again and again and again.
Chewbacca Roar Contest
Everyone loves the distinctive Wookiee growl from the Star Wars movies, right? Then who wouldn’t love dozens of people calling them and giving their best Chewbacca impression? Create an ad promoting a Chewbacca Roar Contest and list your victim’s phone number. If they’re anything like the guy targeted with Chewbacca calls a few years ago, they’ll appreciate the effort.
So simple, but so effective. Write “I need to see you ASAP” on a Post-It note, and then add an illegible signature. Leave it on a coworker’s desk and they’ll go into panic mode as they try to figure out who left the note and what the emergency might be. Are they in trouble?? Don’t let them get too freaked out before revealing that you’re the culprit behind the mystery note or they may never forgive you.
Raid the underwear drawers of everyone in your home and switch ’em up. Your mom will be briefly befuddled by why she has only tighty-whitie men’s underwear before realizing she’s been duped.
Send Them Glitter
Everybody loves glitter, right? It gets everywhere and it’s almost impossible to clean up. Fill an envelope with glitter and drop it in the mail, and then make sure you’re far away when your victim gets around to opening it. For extra fun, make the envelope look like it’s important correspondence that they need to open immediately. And if you’d rather leave the glitter delivery to the professionals, there’s a service that will do it for you.
A caramel apple makes you think of county fairs and summer street festivals, right? So if you saw something round, covered in caramel, and with a stick in the bottom, you probably wouldn’t hesitate to sink your teeth into it. But imagine that it’s not an apple under all that sugary caramel but an onion. Ugh, our taste buds are grimacing just thinking about it. Here’s a recipe with step-by-step instructions on making your own confectionary travesty.
Change the Date
This is more of a group effort, whether it’s your family or office mates. Find an unsuspecting victim and convince them that today is actually Mar. 31. This requires changing every computer or device with a date on it, plus manufacturing a new calendar. But if you can pull it off, you’ll have successfully broken the space-time continuum (at least for one person).
Cracked Phone Screen
The agony of realizing your smartphone screen is cracked is unmatched. But imagine the relief when you find out the crack is an illusion, a simple app-installed wallpaper designed to look like a damaged screen. The endorphin rush in the reveal might just make this one of the most satisfying (and least harmful) pranks ever. There are a few free apps like this one that’ll fool even the most attentive and careful phone owners.
Not only do the letters M and N look similar—on most keyboards, they’re located right next to each other. Carefully pry off the keys using a screwdriver and switch them around, and then wait for your prank victim to get annoyed at his or her constant misspellings. It could take days for them to realize what’s happened, so be sure to let them off the hook after a few hours.
If you’re able to get into their Facebook account, change the date of their birthday in the settings to Apr. 1. They’ll be inundated with birthday wishes and have no idea why. It also helps to get their closest friends and family in on the joke. If even their own parents are wishing them a happy birthday, they’ll start to wonder what else in their life they’ve been remembering wrong.
Interiors by Guy Fieri
Print up dozens of photos of Food Network host Guy Fieri and stick them in every frame in your victim’s house, replacing their snapshots of friends and family. When they finally notice, it’ll either make them laugh or scream, depending on their feelings for the Mayor of Flavortown. And it doesn’t necessarily have to be Guy Fieri. One guy replaced all the photos in his mom’s house with pictures of Steve Buscemi.
Keep Them Waiting on a Text
We’ve all stared at the dreaded texting bubble, waiting impatiently to find out what someone is writing. Now you can torture your friends and family endlessly with a texting bubble GIF. Download it here and during any text exchange on April Fools’, you can trick them into waiting for a response that never comes. If there’s a better way of getting out of an annoying text exchange, we’ve never heard of it.
Change Their Email Signature
If you can access a friend’s email, you can mess with their settings by altering the email signature. Maybe they need a new title under their name, like “VP of Doughnut Quality Control Division” or “CEO, Ministry of Silly Walks.” Remember to keep it clean; you don’t want to inadvertently offend their parents or get them fired.
A Fridge Full of Googly Eyes
First, buy a bunch of googly eyes, which are surprisingly cheap. (One thousand eyes for six bucks? Yes, please.) Second, decorate every package, bottle, Tupperware, and piece of fruit in their refrigerator with a pair of peepers. When they open the fridge, they’ll be stunned to realize that every last item of food—yes, even that expired yogurt—is staring back at them.
Everybody hates unsolicited mail, but how about junk mail from the Ferret Association of Connecticut? Sign up a friend for their newsletters—the F.A.C. have several—and they’ll wonder why they’re being targeted with regular ferret updates. They might also enjoy the regular newsletters from Cat Faeries, which includes cat photos from readers and “a variety of articles pertaining to cats.” If you don’t have time to find all the best (and weirdest) newsletters, a service like MailBait will do the homework for you and sign up your victim for dozens of different newsletter subscriptions.
Fake Eggs For Breakfast
You can’t start Apr. 1 on an empty stomach. Offer to make your victim a breakfast of fried eggs. It’ll look delicious, but when they take a bite, they’ll discover that the eggs are actually yogurt and peach halves. Still yummy, sure, but probably not what their taste buds were expecting. The recipe is actually really easy and takes just a few minutes to prepare, but the memory of the confusion on your friend’s face will last forever.
Krispy Kreme Veggies
You’ll be a hero when you show up at the office with two dozen delicious doughnuts for your coworkers. Well, at least you will until they open the box and realize you’ve replaced the pastries with some cruciferous greens. Nothing tastes as sad as cauliflower when you were expecting something glazed with sprinkles.
Tape Over the Sensors
Want to mess with somebody’s favorite TV or computer without doing any permanent damage? It’s all about the sensors, baby. Just attach a tiny piece of tape over the laser sensor on the underside of their remote or mouse, which will (temporarily) block the signal. Make sure it’s the right color—if the remote is black and you don’t have any black tape, use a sharpie to color in it—and then leave it out and wait for the confusion.
Calls for Franklin
Here’s one of those April Fools’ pranks to play as a group. Throughout the day, beginning as early as possible, have different people call your victim—either at their office or home—and ask to speak with Franklin. If possible, have someone new call every 30 minutes, so it really starts to become tiresome for your victim to keep saying, “There’s nobody named Franklin here, you have the wrong number.”
At the end of the day, it’s time for the grand finale. They get a call and the voice on the other end says, “Hi, this is Franklin. Have there been any calls for me?”
Fake Milk Spill
The old adage “don’t cry over spilt milk” isn’t as easy to abide by when the milk is splattered all over your laptop. You obviously wouldn’t want to actually destroy somebody’s computer for an April Fools’ prank, but you can briefly trick them into thinking you did. All you need is a glass surface and some glue, which will fill in for the milk. Follow these step-by-step instructions and you’ll be ready to go.
Chicken Nugget Soap
If you’ve got kids that refuse to eat healthy, this may be the April Fools’ prank that changes their mind. It looks like a delicious plate of chicken nuggets, but once they bite into one, they’ll realize it’s really a cleverly disguised bar of soap. That sudsy mouth feeling will remind them, they should’ve tried the fruit salad instead. (And yes, this April Fool’s prank is somewhat mean; but trust us, no one will get hurt.)
Turn All Their Apps to Kittens
If you can get access to a friend or coworker’s phone, just launch the website Iphoneception on their browser and switch all of their app shortcuts into adorable kitty faces. This is an especially brutal April Fools’ prank for anybody who isn’t a big fan of cats. But, at the end of the day, who can really be mad at a cute kitty?
Bubble Wrap Under a Rug
Measure out just enough bubble wrap to hide under the rug of a frequently visited stretch of hallway. Once somebody steps down on it, it’ll make such a bang that they’ll dive for cover.
Fill a bowl with your victim’s favorite cereal and milk, then slip it into the freezer overnight. Serve them breakfast in bed on April Fools’ morning, and watch as they try in vain to scoop up a spoonful. For extra hilarity, half-submerge a spoon in the milk before freezing the whole bowl. They’ll pull and pull and pull at the spoon before finally figuring out what’s going on.
Tin Foil Office
This is a classic April Fools’ prank for a reason. It takes a lot of artistry to cover everything in somebody’s office with aluminum foil, and it looks really impressive when you’re finished, like you’ve turned their desk and computer and lamp into some kind of futuristic alien workstation. But it’s also easy enough to return everything back to normal after the big reveal.
Lamp Bug Silhouettes
You don’t even have to be that precise with your scissor work. Just cut out a shape on black paper that vaguely looks like a frighteningly large insect, and then attach it to the inside of a lampshade. When somebody comes in and flips on the light, the first thing they’ll see is the shadow of a bug that looks like it could bite off a finger. You maybe shouldn’t try this with somebody with a serious anxiety about insects; we don’t want to give anyone a panic attack.
Who’s Hogging the Bathroom?
This is a great one for work: Depending on how many stalls there are at the shared bathroom on your floor, create some fake lower legs and feet, using shoes and pants stuffed with towels. Place them inside the stalls before the workday begins, then watch as your coworkers get increasingly annoyed that every toilet in the bathroom has been occupied all day. When it becomes unbearable, try to lead your colleagues in an uprising against the bathroom squatters.
Cream Cheese Deodorant
This April Fools’ prank will cause a mess and may annoy your intended victim, but otherwise it’s mostly harmless. Start by “borrowing” their deodorant when they aren’t paying attention. Twist at the bottom of the container until around two inches of deodorant comes out. Remove it with a spoon and replace it with cream cheese, which you then mold and shape with your hands. It takes time and some creativity, as it needs to look realistic enough that your friend won’t think twice about applying it to their armpits. But if you do it right, be prepared to hear a blood-curdling scream coming from the bathroom.
Head in a Jar
Guaranteed to scare the living daylights out of them, especially if you go the extra yard and really make it look real. Take a photo of your head, print up a quality color copy, and slip it into a waterproof plastic sleeve. Then dump it into a big jar filled with water, and add some faux fur that matches your hair color. It’s one of the simplest April Fools’ pranks you can do, but here’s a step-by-step guide if you need a primer.
Elvis Is Stalking Me
One of the best April Fools’ pranks to pull on anyone who loves conspiracy theories. Tell your friend that you’re pretty sure Elvis has been stalking you. Yes, the King of Rock n’ Roll, who passed away at Graceland in 1977. Your friend, being a reasonable person, will think you’re joking. But continue to confide in him that you’re almost positive it’s the real Elvis, and he’s been following you for weeks. Give it the full day for your paranoid ramblings to feel like old news, and then invite them to a pre-dinner drink. What they don’t know is, you’ve arranged for a guy dressed like Elvis—the late ’70s, over-the-top Vegas Elvis—to hover nearby, watching you from behind a tree. Hopefully, your friend notices him first.
Add a thin layer of clear nail polish to a bar of soap and you’ve instantly made it useless. The polish has water-proofed the soap, so your victim can scrub and scrub with it all they want but it’ll never lather up. If they’re the stubborn sort, you might want to give them a time limit before knocking on the bathroom door and shouting, “April Fools’!”
Add a secret message to the bumper of your friend’s car, which reads: “PLEASE HONK. Driver doesn’t know. April Fools’ Day.” The trick will be getting the sign on without the driver noticing. This one works best with an accomplice, who can keep the victim distracted while they get into the car, when you then affix the message on their bumper. (Make sure it’s something that can be easily removed so the joke doesn’t become a permanent part of their morning commute.)
Fake Blue Screen of Death
Any Windows user will get instantly freaked if they see this infamous blue screen, a dire warning that all of their computer memory is about to be dumped. You don’t have to infect a buddy’s computer with a real virus to watch them squirm, however. Just download this free wallpaper onto their computer and get all the hilarious panic and “please, please, this can’t be happening” pleas without any of the real consequences.
Push, Don’t Pull
Find a door that can only be opened by pulling it, then add an official-looking sign to the door that reads “PUSH ONLY PLEASE.” You’ll be surprised how many people keep pushing despite the repeated evidence that it’s just not going to work. Why do we blindly follow signs even when they defy all logic? There’s a psychology thesis in there somewhere, but you just have to decide how long to let them struggle before reminding them about April Fools’.
Never-ending Daylight Savings Switches
This prank takes devotion, but if you’re willing to make the commitment (and have a team of jokesters willing to assist you), you could very well pull off the prank of the year. Move all the clocks forward by two hours in your office or home, letting one specific target think it’s actually much, much later than they originally believed. (If you can get access to their smartphones to change the time, even better.)
Then later, when they’ve finally adjusted to the new time, change it on them yet again, moving all the clocks backwards by an hour. Depending on how ambitious you want to be, you can change the clocks several times, zigzagging between morning and afternoon just enough to make your mark wonder if they’re losing it.
Confetti Ceiling Fan
Get some paper and cut it up into hundreds of tiny confetti pieces. Carefully place them on top of a ceiling fan—make sure the fan is off, obviously, and that nobody will walk in and catch you in the act—and then stealthily leave as if nothing has changed. Wait for your unsuspecting mark to walk in and flip on the ceiling fan, and then wonder why they’re being showered with confetti like it just struck midnight on New Year’s Eve.
It’s not that you’ve filled a coworker’s office with balloons, it’s that you filled every available square inch with balloons, so it’s impossible to enter without popping them one by one. The exact amount of balloons depends on the size of their office, and the size of balloons you’re using. Luckily, we have the Internet, and there’s actually a Reddit thread devoted to figuring out the math of this topic.
Flip the Screen
It’s so easy, it’d be an April Fools’ crime not to use it on somebody. All you have to do is get access to their computer—wait until they’re at lunch or on a bathroom break—and hit Ctrl+Alt+Down Arrow. It instantly flips everything on their PC screen so it’s upside down. (Don’t worry, it’s just as easy to reverse. Just hit Ctrl+Alt+Up Arrow.) For a Mac, go to their System Preferences, open the Displays option and click on the “Rotate” menu.
Fake Toilet Paper
Imagine being in a bathroom stall and reaching for some toilet paper, only to discover that what appeared to be a full roll is actually a decoy, which contains just a taunting sign that reads “APRIL FOOLS’!” Okay, this one might be a little mean, but the guy who invented it is bona fide pranking genius.
He put together complete instructions for making it yourself—all you need are cardboard, a glue stick, some scotch tape, scissors, and some toilet paper—and a helpful plea to make sure you don’t use this April Fools’ prank on anyone who won’t find it funny. Maybe keep a second roll nearby, for some post-pranking relief?
The TV is Calling the Shots Now!
Buy a universal remote and get it synced to your TV. Then wait till your friends or family are watching TV and think they’re in full control. What they don’t know is that you’re secretly outside, peering through the window and pointing your remote towards the screen. The key here is to build the tension slowly. Don’t suddenly go haywire and change channels on them randomly. Wait until there’s a tense moment in the show they’re watching, then suddenly switch to the Home Shopping Network. Practice makes perfect on this, so make sure to do a few dry runs before your moment of April Fools’ glory.
Bake Some “Brownies”
Announce to a few of your friends or family that you’ll be making some “brownies” for everyone. Then, while your friends and family think you’re baking away in the kitchen for them, cut out multiple letter “E’s” from brown construction paper, fill a pan with them, cover with tinfoil, and then announce that you’re done making them. Stand aside and watch everyone’s faces fall when they uncover the tinfoil and realize there’s no actual dessert. Make sure to only announce it through word-of-mouth, however, because then they can’t be mad that you actually gave them what you said: brown Es.
This prank is simple, but it’s sure to provide a day’s worth of laughter. Bring a toaster or coffee pot into the office, and put it in the office kitchen. (Don’t worry: the joke isn’t that you’re giving away a free appliance.) Put a label on the toaster or coffee pot that says “voice-activated” and enjoy the dulcet sounds of frustrated people shouting at random kitchen appliances all day.
What better way to break up the long work day than with some harmless fun? When your coworker is away from their desk, leave them a note saying they missed a call from “Mr. Baer” or “Mr. Lyon.” And don’t forget to leave a number! The number to the local zoo, that is. Either your coworker will realize it right away—and you’ll get to see the annoyance on their face for being so gullible—or you’ll get to laugh as they repeatedly ask for Mr. “bear” or “lion” to a group of endlessly amused zoo employees.
“Slash” the Tires
This one will require some acting, so get your game face ready. Print out four photos of Guns N’ Roses’ guitarist Slash and tape one to each tire on your friend’s car. Run back inside in a panic and announce that someone slashed their tires. Your friend will most likely run outside immediately—both angry and panicked. However, they’ll be instantly relieved to see photos of Slash on their tires. Rock on.
A classic prank, but one that never fails. Buy a pack of Oreos, remove the cream, replace it with white toothpaste, and reassemble. If anyone spots an already opened pack of Oreos, c’mon, who can possibly resist sneaking one? Unfortunately for this unassuming little thief, when they bite down into this treat, the new “mint” flavor they find will make them gag.