18 April Fools' Day Pranks That Won't Cost a Thing

Annoy and/or amuse your friends and colleagues with common household items and minimal planning. Just don't blame us if these pranks go wrong!
April Fools' Day Pranks

The best April Fools' Day pranks are cheap or free. They usually have the added benefit of being simple — no elaborate Rube Goldberg machines or costly, time-consuming planning necessary. Here are 18 ideas to get you started.

DISCLAIMER: DealNews does not claim responsibility if any of these easy and "fun" pranks result in the loss of friends, status, job, freedom, teeth (when your victim punches you), etc.

  1. Write a message on an upside-down paper cup that alludes to something horrible being trapped under it. Leave it on a co-worker's desk or in a conference room.

  2. Print out the single word "PUSH" and tape it to a door that should be pulled. This prank is way more enjoyable when the word's taped to a glass door. (Not only because you can see the chump try to push a pull door, but also because glass doors tend to make very loud/embarrassing rattles and noises when incorrectly pushed.)

  3. Cover an open toilet bowl with clear plastic wrap. This one is best done in someone else's house — unless you want to consider the cleanup your penance for playing such an old gag.

  4. Grab a plant mister (or a chemical-free spray bottle) and casually stroll behind your mark. Make a sneezing noise and spray the back of the person's neck at the same time. Classic! Or cut out the middleman and just sneeze on your friend for an even grosser prank!

April Fools' prank
  1. Find a sleeping person, fill their hand with shaving cream, and then tickle their nose. You can, of course, replace the shaving cream with whipped cream for a more delicious prank.

  2. If your kitchen sink has one of those sprinkler hoses, wrap tape or a rubber band around the trigger, so it's held down. When someone goes to get a glass of water, they'll... open the fridge and grab the Brita pitcher. But, when they go to wash that dirty glass: POW!

  3. Put tape over the optical sensor of someone's mouse.

  4. This next prank is best executed in a restaurant, as the necessary items will be on hand. Set it up by asking the sucker if they know that ketchup and salt, when combined, give off heat. If they say they've never heard of such a thing, pour a healthy amount of ketchup onto a plate, then sprinkle some salt on it. Stir it with a spoon and then wave your hand over it as if you're sensing the temperature. Nod and say, "Yeah, feel the heat coming off that!" When your "friend" puts their hand over the pile, quickly slam their hand down into the mess. Then run away, before your friend punches you. (Bonus prank: If you do this in a restaurant, you're also stiffing them with the bill!)

  5. Another ketchup prank: Grab your biggest knife, then cover it and your hand in ketchup. Run into any occupied room while screaming. If you're lucky, you'll get to hear your mom curse for the first time ever! (True story.)

  6. Stretch some more plastic wrap across a doorway at shoulder height. You'll be amazed by how many people will simply walk right into it.

  7. Here's another plastic wrap prank submitted by commenter mikiem: If someone leaves their coffee or water bottle unattended, take the lid or cap off, apply plastic wrap, and replace the lid.

  8. Use a pin (like from the back of a button or brooch) to poke holes around the rim of a plastic disposable cup so that it'll leak when used. Increase the excitement by then shuffling the stack of cups, so you'll never know who is going to pull the gaffed glass. It could even be you! Now that's an April Fools' prank: fooling yourself.

April Fools' prank
  1. Here's one submitted by commenter offdwall: Take all of the dots out of your office hole puncher and pour them into the defroster of a friend's car. Then, turn their heater controls to defrost and the fan to high. When your buddy starts their car: Snowstorm! The best part? Over the next six months, every once in awhile, a stray dot will pop out and fly through the air without warning. It's the prank that keeps on pranking!

  2. Here's one submitted by commenter Kyser_Soze: A fun workplace computer prank to pull on a co-worker is to press ctrl+print screen on their workstation, then paste it into Paint, save the pic, and set it as the desktop background. Move all of their icons to the trash. When they get back to their desk, clicking won't accomplish anything!

  3. Here's another one that's great for a work environment: When your cubicle-neighbor gets up to grab some coffee, scamper over to their computer and press ctrl+alt+down arrow. When the chump comes back and realizes their monitor's display is upside down, they'll be so mad! Then, when they demand you change it back, you'll realize you have no idea how to restore it and you'll have to call IT. (And we all know those folks are a bunch of laughs, especially when they have to come fix some jerk's stupid prank.)

  4. Ask to see your friend's new phone because you're thinking of getting that exact model. Then, quickly do several things: 1) Set an alarm for 3 am and 2) change the language to Chinese. Hand the phone back while grinning wickedly. They'll see that you changed the language and be really mad, but they'll assume that's the extent of your tampering... until it's too late (or too early).

  5. Here's an anti-prank: Get some peanut brittle, then break it up and put it in a can. On April 1, snicker as you ask everyone, "Do you want some peanut brittle?" The mark will look at you like you're an idiot and pass, thinking the can is actually full of spring-loaded snakes. But it's not, it's full of actual peanut brittle! ANTI-PRANK!

  6. Fake your own death and frame a friend for your murder by planting some of your hair on their clothes!

Gosh, some of these pranks are just cruel, right? Readers, do you have any good/awful gags you can pull for little to no money? Tell us about them in the comments below and maybe we'll add them to the list next year! (Also: Stay the heck away from us on April 1, you monsters!)

User Experience Researcher

Jeff Somogyi is the DealNews User Experience Researcher. Since working here he's written deals, features, promotional and newsletter copy, blog posts, as well as scripts for our videos.
DealNews may be compensated by companies mentioned in this article. Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).
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A prank inside a prank---

I'm not gonna be exact on this one because you can use whatever you want because this prank is only gonna last a split second, but you can still get a laugh out of it.

Okay, so you want to tell your friend about a week ahead of time that you have an idea for a prank. This is optional. I choose to do it because my friend easily gets scared of this kind of stuff. Then, get an opaque container of some kind and put something non-scary in there, possibly even funny. April Fools! It's not scary. But what they don't know is that there's another prank coming ahead. When you get a chance, put something startling in their purse or whatever they carry around. For a split second, they will be so stocked that you can just sit back and enjoy it quietly (if that's possible).

April Fools.
Hearing I'm pregnant was a good one.
For number 16, that won't work on me because I speak very fluently in Chinese...
Find an easy mark at work, press mute on a coworkers phone, when they make or take a call, sit back and silently laugh.... if you are really bold, casually do it to your boss's phone as you stroll by their empty desk on the way to get coffee...
I pulled the phone cord out of a co-worker's phone enough so it wouldn't work, but it still looked like it was plugged in.

This might be fun: Do a search for "How to switch keyboard layout to Dvorak".
For the record, I said to right click and hide desktop icons & auto hide the task bar after moving it from the bottom of the screen to top, not trash them. It's way easier to undo!

Another thing I did was set the Windows shutdown sound to a certain key in our office on a non techy person's pc and set the volume on high. It was a key used often with a program we used so every time she pressed it, the sound of her pc shutting down would blast!