April Fools! How did the day originate and what are the best pranks?

April Fools! The date falls on a Friday this year, so keep an eye out for office pranksters.

What happens on April Fools’ Day?

Millions of people in homes, schools and workplaces spend the morning of April 1st playing practical jokes on each other in the hope of a quick laugh (and to avoid doing work).

The media love to play the joker and many publications relish the once-a-year chance to publish a fake news story to wind up their readers. ‘Victims’ of April Fools’ jokes are known as April Fools, but only until midday. Then the person playing the joke is considered the April Fool. Sadly the day, which has been popular throughout the Western world since the 19th century, is not a public holiday. But why would you want a day off when there’s a legitimate chance to play a joke on your boss?

Where did the April Fool’s day originate?

The origins of the day are uncertain. Most people think it stems from Pope Gregory XIII. In 1582, he wanted his new Gregorian calendar to replace the old Julian Calendar. This called for New Year’s Day to be celebrated on January 1 instead of the end of March. But some people apparently didn’t get the memo and continued to celebrate New Year’s Day on April 1. These poor folk were made fun of and were sent on ‘fools errands’ for a laugh. However, others think April Fools’ Day stems from the age when people used to hold spring festivals marking the end of winter with ‘mayhem and misrule’, according to the Museum of Hoaxes.

The Ancient Roman festival of Hilaria celebrated the resurrection of the god Attis and involved dressing in disguise. Many other cultures have held renewal festivals in Europe around April 1 and there are references to these dating back to the 1500s. What is clear though is that by the 1700s, the day of hilarity was well entrenched in Britain, and now April 1 is officially the most amusing day of the year.

What easy pranks can I play?

  1. Change the language on your colleague’s computer
  2. Hard boil all the eggs in the carton and place them back in the fridge
  3. Fill a hair dryer with talcum powder
  4. Try the old plastic film on the toilet seat trick
  5. Attach an air horn under your boss’s seat
  6. Hide a dead fish behind the radiator
  7. Cover a colleague’s desk in sticky notes


Reprinted from The Daily Telegraph

Article by: Emily Allen & Juliet Esysenck