Best April Fool's Day jokes
March 31, 2005 1:41 PM   Subscribe

That most hallowed of foolish holidays is upon us, minus one. So you've got time... What's the best April Fool's Day joke you've ever heard or been a part of? I need some ideas.

When I was a kid we would just make up stories for each other and yell "April Fools!" whenever someone bought one. Simple and direct. But with each advancing year, an additional level of sophistication becomes mandate in this global war of pranksterism. An aging comic arsenal and questionable intelligence force underdeveloped senses of humor into mean offensives or bunkered down self-defensive strategies that leave them out of the global comedy trade. This comical race for the last laugh threatens anyone without a means to prank, prank first, and prank back. The only strategy that ensures everyone a place in the practical jokes of tomorrow is one of mutually assured deprecation. So let's hear those good ones, like I said, I need some ideas!
posted by airguitar to Society & Culture (18 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I once filled a friends car with packing peanuts. (Not the most ecologically responsible thing to do, but at least they were the melt-away starch ones...)
posted by Specklet at 2:16 PM on March 31, 2005

friend's, dammit
posted by Specklet at 2:17 PM on March 31, 2005

Was given a horribly difficult (pre-scheduled) test in Calculus, which didn't seem hard to look at but was full of those goddamned exceptions that just don't seem to approach a limit of any kind, etc. I was going nuts trying to figure out how to do anything with the questions, and I was on the brink of tears, as were many students. At the end of the 1 hr class, the teacher grinned. April Fools, she said. Test doesn't count. No retest, just a 100 quiz grade for being good sports. Very cruel but hilarious to everyone not involved.
posted by honeydew at 2:31 PM on March 31, 2005

The best April Fool's Day prank in which I participated was during college. A group of us bought cheap (but loud) battery-powered alarm clocks and distributed them in various locations in the library's shelves (in some hard-to-reach places)... all on one floor and within "ear shot" of the most densely populated study tables.

The first alarm clock was set to go of at 8:00 p.m.; the second at 8:05 p.m., the third at 8:20 p.m., the fourth at 8:25 p.m. and the fifth at 8:45 p.m.

The effect was fascinating to witness (from afar and where we could mask our laughter).

A replay: the first alarm (8:00 p.m.) goes off. Disturbed students scamble for, find and turn-off the alarm clock. Everyone returns to their books. Five minutes later (8:05 p.m.), repeat. Students start to get flustered and wonder if another will go off. Wait, wait, wait. "Seems that another is not likely to go off, since it's been a while." 15-minutes later - another goes off (8:20 p.m.). First wave of pissed-off students packs up and leave. The remaining students are hold-outs and hoping that the prank is over. Next alarm clock (8:25 p.m.) goes off (mirroring the original interval of 5-minutes). Second wave of really, really pissed off students depart. Those who remain are resolute in not letting the alarm clock prank "get to them". 5-minutes pass with no disturbance, 10-minutes pass ("it must be over"), 15-minutes pass ("it's over"); 8:45 p.m. alarm goes off - library floor clears!

BTW - I suspect that this prank could work in an office with large open spaces!
posted by ericb at 3:10 PM on March 31, 2005 [1 favorite]

Pranks are better when you either get your superiors, or get them to help you. This prank had both:

Had my bosses boss send him an email explaining that he would need to file all the papers on his desk (4 years worth) in a filing cabinet today, otherwise we would fail our fire inspection.

Others I've done:

Taped the pick-up switch on co-workers phones down, then called them from the next cubicle. Can work even better if you also unplug one or both ends of the handset cord.

Filled a co-workers cubicle with balloons. Easy and fun to clean up.

If your network allows net send you can get non-techy coworkers with made-up system administrator messages. I've found it's best to send them increasingly assertive messages stating that the network is going down and they'd better save right now.

One from the internet:
scroll to "Egging Me On"

an image of the prank
posted by Four Flavors at 3:41 PM on March 31, 2005 [1 favorite]

We were at a rock climbing gym when my girlfriend said she was three weeks late.
posted by atchafalaya at 5:47 PM on March 31, 2005 [1 favorite]

I was born. Been wreaking havoc ever since.

ericb, I like that one!
posted by cmyk at 6:01 PM on March 31, 2005

The most outlandish prank I've ever heard of occurred in the college dorm of a good friend of mine. She and another girl shaped some grocery-store fudge into a realistic-looking dog turd. They then placed the fake turd in a shoebox. They then placed the box in front of someone's door, knocked, and ran.

As the person discovered and the box and opened it, they innocently meandered down the hall. He was exclaiming his disgust and confusion about why someone left the turd box at his door. My friend then said "let me see it"...and when he did, she picked up the simulated excrement, gave it a discerning sniff, and then took a hearty bite.

Almost anything you'd orchestrate to happen after that point is a grace note.
posted by Miko at 6:19 PM on March 31, 2005

Last year, Jeff of Beans for Breakfast created ghost reflections of the blog sites he read on a daily basis, so that when the site owner visited Jeff's site, they would see his content within the site owner's designs, using a sniffer script to identify the expected visitor's IP or such.

It was wonderfully disorienting, like having someone walk into a room who looks JUST LIKE YOU, except that you can tell that it's someone you know. Like in a dream
posted by mwhybark at 7:33 PM on March 31, 2005

i don't think I did this on april fool's day, but it was spring time.

My girlfriend and I were at a local park, sitting on a blanket by the artificial lake, watching the ducks. It was a beautiful day and there were a lot of other people there; in fact, it was downright crowded. I said "You know, we should really go skinny dipping in the lake. Right now." She laughed and said something like "Yeah. Uh huh." But I kept talking about it. She kept insisting that I was full of crap. Finally, I said "Well, whether you want to come with me or not, I'm going in." And I stood up and took off my pants. She screamed and, to my surprise, ran. However, she only got about ten feet before she realized that I had had a pair of shorts on underneath my pants.

Well I thought it was funny.
posted by Clay201 at 8:21 PM on March 31, 2005

Every year as a child my mom would put green food colouring in the milk we invariably used for our breakfast cereal.

"Ewwwwww!" we'd shriek! Then we'd gulp up our Rice Krispies hoping our tongues would turn green as well.
posted by furtive at 11:43 PM on March 31, 2005

I photocopied some paper clips, and loaded the paper into the office printers and copiers.

There were a few, then some blank sheets, then, further down in the stack, there were a couple with pencils. I hoped this would provide a nice story arc -- "hey, there are clips in here!" "no there aren't!" "I'm calling desktop support, because look, there's a pencil!" "no there isn't!"

Then a big old ruler. Oh yeah. Did you jam that in there, sir? That's not how we get paper clips and pencils out.

Last time I did this I came in and saw people standing around the printer with the paper drawer open, and I thought they'd figured it out. But no, they were shaking it gently to see if they could dump out the pencils.
posted by Sallyfur at 3:38 AM on April 1, 2005 [8 favorites]

Sallyfur -- very subtle. That's a keeper.
posted by Miko at 6:32 AM on April 1, 2005

Yeah, sallyfur, that's superb. I'm going to go do it right now. *cackle*
posted by Plutor at 8:00 AM on April 1, 2005

The best one I know turned on the pranksters.

Sometime in the mid 60's an uncle of mine and a few friends pulled a prank on a favourite professor. They wrapped the prof's VW Beetle in string. Not an inch of the car could be seen under the string. The pranksters wandered off chuckling and patting themselves on the back. Later in the day they wandered back to check on the car. It was gone without the tiniest piece of string in evidence. The prof never mentioned his string covered Bug. It still drives my uncle batty to not know what happened because, of course, he couldn't ask.
posted by deborah at 9:40 AM on April 1, 2005

For any place that still uses a bell to mark the beginning or end of a period of time, usually a class... Find a over-the-top pencil eraser, and put it over the hammer.

For those that eat cereal... Put a small amount of cereal and milk in a bowl and freeze it the night before. Add a little more cereal and milk in the morning and serve.

For those in the office (1)... Fasten the victim's chair height adjustment lever in the release position. The chair will be at it's highest until the victim sits.

For those in the office (2)... Change the auto-correct settings in MS Word such that the word "the" is replaced by "April Fool".

For those in the office (3)... Schedule a fire alarm drill.

For those in the office (4)... Edit the hosts file such that resolves to the IP for

For those in the office (5)... Change the victim's computer background to the windows shutting down graphic.

For the water cooler... Add one goldfish. A fake fish will work, but diminishes the effect.

For those who take the daily paper... Snatch and hold the paper for 24 hours then replace to create the appearance of a late paper. Continue for 4-5 days terminating on 4/1.
posted by kc0dxh at 11:49 AM on April 1, 2005

One of my favorite pranks ever involved letting three pigs loose in a high school hallway. Funny enough, but the kids had the creativity to paint numbers on them-- 1, 2, and 4. Sure, they caught the pigs quickly, but spent loads of time hunting down pig number 3.

I also think it's cute to leave a message for someone from "Mr. Lyon," and leave the call back number for a nearby zoo.
posted by sdrawkcab at 6:13 PM on April 1, 2005

A few years back, one of the girls on my dorm had an old copy of Windows that would still show the "It is now safe to turn off your computer" screen, so I found the image (LOGOS.SYS) and replaced it with "System corrupted. All files deleted." It got even better, because her best friend came tearing into my room a few hours later panicking because she had been using her friend's computer and was SURE that she had completely destroyed the system somehow, and came running to me for help.

We also filled the hallway leading to the guy's dorm with cups of water ... hundreds of them. You can step around a few, but you couldn't even make it over the amount we put there with a running jump. :)
posted by heatherann at 12:18 PM on April 2, 2005 [1 favorite]

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