The best April Fools' pranks to pull on your family and friends this year

The best April Fools' pranks to pull on your family and friends this year

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 Fools' antics, there are plenty of wholesome pranks that will have your entire family chuckling.

Pull a classic prank 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 jokes like putting googly eyes on household items, or replacing family photos with your favorite movie stars.

It's important to make sure that your April Fools' pranks remain lighthearted — after all, nobody likes to feel truly tricked. It's also best to keep the mess to a minimum. Who wants to spend April Fools' Day vacuuming up the results of a prank?

The best pranks end with laughter all around, from prankster to prank-ee, and these playful practical jokes are certain to delight the whole family on April Fools' Day.

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.

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.

Juice joke

jello in juice cup (Amanda Mushro)
jello in juice cup (Amanda Mushro)

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 (Sally Anscombe / Getty Images)
Googly eyed cactus (Sally Anscombe / Getty Images)

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  (Amanda Mushro )
april fools message on toilet paper (Amanda Mushro )

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  (Amanda Mushro )
plastic spider in ice (Amanda Mushro )

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  (Amanda Mushro)
food coloring from faucet (Amanda Mushro)

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 (Mieke Dalle / Getty Images)
whoopee cushion (Mieke Dalle / Getty Images)

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 (Karl Tapales / Getty Images)
Alarm Clock (Karl Tapales / Getty Images)

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. (Getty Images)
Child Watching Tv At Home. (Getty Images)

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 (Getty Images)
Boy playing with bubble wrap at home (Getty Images)

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!

Not-so-slippery soap

Carefully dry off your family member's bar soap, then cover it thoroughly with clear nail polish or Elmer's glue. Wait for it to dry, then put it back in the shower. Your unsuspecting target will be confused when they can't get their soap to lather.

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

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