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25 hilarious April Fools' pranks to pull on family and friends

April Fools' Day is the perfect occasion to bond with your family through laughter, jokes, and mild deception.

Whether you're an experienced trickster or just getting the hang of April Fool's antics, there are plenty of wholesome pranks that will have your entire family chuckling.

Try a classic caper like putting whoopee cushions under your couch pillows, or take your hijinks to the next level by placing bubble wrap under the carpet.

Younger kids will be delighted by sweet, silly pranks like putting googly eyes on household items, or replacing family photos with your favorite movie stars.

Once you've finished your mischief, keep the fun going throughout the day with side-splitting April Fools' jokes .

Here are 25 of the best family-friendly April Fool's Day pranks to delight your kids.

Swap sleepers

If your kids are heavy sleepers, carry them into their sibling’s bed and let them wake up in a different room to start April Fools’ on the right foot.

Frozen breakfast

Put cereal and milk in a bowl and let it freeze overnight. When your hungry kids try to dig in, they’ll get quite the surprise.

jello in juice cup

Care for a drink? When your family tries to taking a sip of this juice, they'll find out it’s really Jell-O.

Underwear surprise

Swap out the contents of their underwear drawer for bathing suits for an early morning prank that'll get all the laughs.

“Eye” see you

Googly eyed cactus

Give your kids a good laugh by attaching googly eyes to, well, everything.

Balloon closet or drawer

Fill your child’s closet or dresser drawers with balloons. When they wake up for school and look for an outfit, they’ll be in for a colorful surprise.

Toilet paper message

april fools message on toilet paper

Unroll the toilet paper and leave a funny message for the unsuspecting user. One option: “You’re going to wash your hands, right?” Scribble a note, roll the toilet paper back up, and wait to see who ends up reading your message.

Honk for April Fools'

Let your practical jokers put a sign on your car that reads “My kids are playing an April Fools’ joke on me. Honk and wave at me!” This joke is even funnier if they get to take a ride in the car with you.

Toothpaste switcheroo

Surprise your kids this April Fools’ Day with a little toothpaste switcheroo. After breakfast, hand over their toothbrush — but instead of the usual white paste, opt for something creamy and sweet. Cream cheese or vanilla frosting will do the trick; if they use a colored kids’ tooth gel, try using cake decorating gel instead.

Bugs in your ice

plastic spider in ice

This oldie-but-goodie prank is easy to make at home with this tip. Add almost boiling water to the ice cube trays and toss in a few plastic bugs. The hotter the water, the more clear the ice will be when frozen.

Sweet trick

Offer up brownies as an afternoon snack, but everyone will be shocked when they find brown letter “E”s (get it —  brown  “E”s?) instead.

Milk shenanigans

Add a few drops of food coloring to the carton of milk; when your child goes to pour it into her glass or bowl of cereal, she’ll get a colorful surprise — bright pink (or blue, or green) milk!

Bathtime hoax

food coloring from faucet

Using a Q-tip, apply gel food coloring around the inside of the faucet in the bathtub or sink. When the faucet is turned on, you’re left with colored water!

Pillow prank

Just when they thought April Fools’ Day was over, here’s one last prank. Remove the pillows and fill their pillowcases with several partially inflated balloons. When they put their head down to sleep, they’ll realize you got the last April Fools’ laugh. Obviously if you have younger children, you’ll want to take the balloons out of their room before they drift off to sleep.

Cupcakes for dinner

Your kids will think you’re the coolest mom ever — for a moment at least. Bake up mini meatloaves in muffin cups (don’t forget the colorful wrappers). Then “frost” them with creamy mashed potatoes. See how long it takes for your kids to realize that you really aren’t  that  cool after all.

whoopee cushion

Put a whoopee cushion under your baby’s high-chair cushion, under the booster seat or car seat cover and see if you get a laugh from the baby, his older brother or your partner.

Salty hot chocolate

Instead of adding sugar to the drink, add salt! Your kids may be excited for the first sip of the warm, sweet drink, but that first sip will surprise them. (Make them a mug of regular hot chocolate, too, so that they aren’t too disappointed!)

Alarm clock fast forward

Alarm Clock

We all want to get as much sleep in before work or class. Push the time on your kid's clock a couple hours forward and watch your kids' reaction when they realize they're ready for their 9 a.m. class at 7.

Bedtime classic

Borrow a summer camp classic and short sheet your kid’s bed before bedtime — when they try to get in, you’ll have the last laugh.

Fake cake pop

This sweet treat is hiding a savory center. Put a raw brussels sprout on a lollipop stick and cover it with chocolate frosting and sprinkles. Your kids will be shocked when they bite into the cake pop. To avoid too much disappointment, be sure to have some real cake pops on hand to give your kids after the surprise is over.

Tricky T.V. remote

Child Watching Tv At Home.

Ever had to mediate a family fight over who gets to choose the channel? This prank will leave everyone equally confused. Put a piece of black electrical tape over the remote sensor on your television, and watch your family try to change the channel with no luck.

Celebrity photo swap

This prank will test just how observant your family members are. The night before April Fools' Day, replace all your framed family photos with pics of your favorite celebrity. Wait and see how long it takes for your family to realize that your Christmas card photos have been replaced by action shots of Dwayne Johnson.

Short shoes

When your kids try to put their shoes on before school on Monday, they’ll be wondering how their feet grew several inches overnight. Stuff the toes of your kids’ shoes with cotton wool, and watch them struggle to fit their feet into their too-tiny shoes.

Pop! goes the bubble wrap

Boy playing with bubble wrap at home

This gag will start off April Fools’ Day with a bang. Put a layer of bubble wrap under areas that your family frequently walks on, such as the bathmat, kitchen rug, or living room carpet. They’ll jump when the ground starts popping underneath their feet!

Start laughing in 3, 2, 1...

  • Corny jokes that kids and adults can't help but laugh at
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  • 47 gag gifts that'll make your friends and family LOL

Sarah W. Caron contributed to this story, which was originally published in 2016 and has been updated.

Amanda Mushro is a writer, on-air parenting and lifestyle expert, and a mom of three. Sometimes she thinks she’s doing a great job at this mom gig, but then she does something that makes her question her own parenting abilities.

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14 College April Fools Pranks

students laughing together

Not all of us have the time or the patience to completely tinfoil someone’s dorm room or sticky note their care.

We don’t all have flash mobs of friends to do something nuts for April Fool’s Day. In this post, we’ve got 14 gags that just about anyone should be able to pull off, and there’s no real budget to speak of. Especially not if two or three people are in on them. Check it out!

1. Get like 80 Poppers And…

Here’s what you do: tape them to their dorm room door from the inside (no scaling any skyscrapers for this). With 100 of these things, the sound will be pretty big; the mess will be lovely; you’ll scare the #$&@ out of them!

2. The Best April Fools for Computer Nerds…EVER!

After browsing the ten billion ideas Google has to offer, this is definitely one of the coolest. You’re basically going to put your head in a jar and then put it in their fridge. Or, you could go with their best friend’s or significant other’s head. All you need is a computer.

3. Does Their Major Require Typing?

Hey, if someone you want to play a prank on does a bunch of typing this is a really good one: rearrange the letters of their keyboard. It’s harmless, easy to do without breaking the keyboard and yeah. Even if they are the fastest and loudest typer in school, it will boggle their mind. You could order the letters to say something perhaps?

4. This is Hardcore

This can get ugly fast, so you need some finesse. If you’ve got a girlfriend/boyfriend, have a stranger they don’t know hand them a handwritten “I’m breaking up with you and dropping out” letter. It helps if the gangs are in on it, but again, while this will definitely get a reaction it might backfire…

5. Nail Polish + Soap

This is an oldy but goody. You just coat their soap with clear nail polish and in the morning when they try to shower it won’t lather, and they’ll be like, “Whu?”

6. Fill the Halls with Fruit

Not on the ground silly, but hanging from clear cords or strings. At least everyone will get their fruits in for the day. You could go with bananas, apples, pears, strawberries, grapes, or even go big with grapefruits.

7. Mouse + Jello

These days a regular computer mouse doesn’t cost but a few bucks. So, go ahead and put their mouse in the middle of a jello mold of your choosing. It should be said that jello is both cheap and amazing. You can get pretty crafty with jello, and just about everyone loves the stuff.

8. Go Pop Star

Just pick a pop star they would love to have plastered all over their stuff and go to town. Bieber is always a favorite. But let your imagination run wild.

9. Pregnancy

This only works on guys that have no clue it’s April Fool’s Day. You know, those guys who only know basically New Year, Spring Break, and Christmas. If they have a girlfriend, oh yeah this will get them good. If they don’t and you know someone they’ve been frisky with in the past that’s willing to play along…even better.

10. Flash Mob Anyone?

Okay fine, no prank or gag list is complete without the theater company involved.

11. The Out of Reach Alarm Clock

Simply put: legendary. Grab their alarm clock while they’re sleeping, and set it to go off an hour earlier in a hidden place that will drive them nuts. If it can be taped to the ceiling out of reach – perfect!

12. The Ultimate Stink Bomb?

Everybody loved a stink bomb. So why not bomb an entire dorm? Why not bomb an entire building? I mean you can get boxes of these things in multiple colors, head into the stairwell and go floor by floor (two people on both sides for ideal coverage). So awesome! And, if you’re major is covert operations you should be able to stealth-mode this, and no one will even know you just pulled a prank that will make the college paper!

13. Dixie Cups for Miles

This is especially cool for anyone that’s a fan of beer pong. You can get hundreds of these things for cheap (make sure to recycle them afterward), fill them only a little bit with water or whatever works, and then chill. You could fill an entire dorm room hallway. You could fill their dorm room . It’s funny.

14. A Bed Full of Cornflakes!

Cornflakes. Cheap, loud, crunchy, and delicious with milk and processed sugar. Why not a bed, car, dorm room , or closet full of them?

Okay, all you aspiring students out there, how do you do it? Share your tips for pranks in the comments!

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Student activities in college

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