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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.

  1. Write a message on an upside-down paper cup that alludes to something horrible being trapped under it. Leave it on a coworker’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 one is way more enjoyable when 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 will 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 coworker 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!

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