Historically, April Fools’ Day can be traced back to the late 1500s, when the majority of Europe changed from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar. Moving the New Year up from just after the time of vernal equinox to January 1st caused much confusion. Those traditionalists who chose to continue celebrating the old holiday were deemed “April Fools.” They were ridiculed, made the butt of practical jokes and sent on fool’s errands. Thus, a tradition was born.
Here are a few time-tested rules to follow on April Fool’s Day:
- Keep it low key
- Avoid destroying property
- Don’t do anything you’ll regret
Like that executive producer from Channel 7 in Boston. On April 1, 1980, dude ran a report that a 635-foot hill in the suburb of Milton was, in fact, a volcano that had erupted. To make the hoax more believable, he suggested the natural disaster was related to the recent eruption of Mt. St. Helens. The station even ran audio clips of President Carter speaking about the graveness of the situation, and aired footage of hot lava flowing down a mountain. People freaked out. Dude got canned.
5 simple pranks to pull at home:
1. Rubber Snake Trick – Tie some fishing line around a rubber snake, attaching the other end of the line to the inside of a cupboard or door. When the cupboard or door opens, the snake jumps out! Similar results may be achieved by dragging the snake across the floor as your family watches TV.
2. Severed Finger in a Box – Cut a hole in the bottom of a small cardboard jewelry box. Stick your finger, doused in fake blood, through the hole and lay it flat over the cotton padding inside. When your sweetheart removes the lid from the box, yell “BOO!” (Note: Having a real gift for her afterwards may keep you out of the doghouse.)
3. Kitchen Cupboard Trick – Swap the contents of one kitchen cupboard for another. This trick is especially effective first thing in the morning when your subject hasn’t had his/her coffee yet and is barely awake.
4. Plastic Wrap in the Door – Cut a piece of plastic wrap large enough to span the width between a hallway or doorway entrance, taping it at the height level of your subject. Sit back and watch them get a face full of plastic! (For best results, try this trick in a dimly lit area.)
5. Faulty Nozzle – Affix a piece of duct tape to the kitchen or bathroom nozzle, leaving a small gap at the front. When the water is turned on, your subject will be soaked!
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5 for the office:
1. Fake Voicemail Message – Call a co-worker’s office extension and leave an important message from a “real” client/customer. In your message, tell them you’d like to get additional information about XYZ product (or whatever service they are providing) and ask them to please return the call ASAP. Make the message sound as convincing as possible and sign off with a funny pseudonym (some examples include: Ali Katt, Anita Knapp, Anne Teak, Barb Dwyer, Ella Vader, Iona Ford, Noah Riddle or Will Power). Be within earshot when your co-worker returns the call, so you can hear the fake name said aloud!
2. The Ringing Phone – Tape down the button on your co-worker’s phone. When you call her extension, the phone will continue to ring after she picks up the receiver.
3. Malfunctioning Mouse – Cover the infrared hole of your co-worker’s mouse with the adhesive part of a Post-It note. When he attempts to use his computer, the mouse won’t work properly.
4. Office Supplies Ransom – Take a random office supply (stapler, paper weight, Post-It notes) off a co-worker’s desk and leave a ransom note. Don’t sign your name. When your co-worker leaves her desk, swap the item you’d originally taken with a new item and leave a new note.
5. Cubicle Makeover – When your co-worker heads home for the night on April Fool’s Day Eve, plaster EVERTHING in her cubicle or work space with Post-It Notes. Or wrap everything in Aluminum Foil. This one will take a bit of effort, but the pay-off will be worth it.