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20 best April Fools' pranks to pull on your family and friends

Even kids can join in on the (harmless) fun.

Make April Fools' Day a family affair.

With these April Fools' pranks in your back pocket, you'll keep young and old on their toes from the moment they wake up until they crawl back into bed.

Start things off at home with a frozen breakfast (followed up by an edible one, of course), then sprinkle in a few April Fools' jokes throughout the day to keep the laughs coming.

Not only are these pranks easy to pull off, but they all require materials you can find around the house. All you need are common household items like toothpaste, tape, and toilet paper.

With April Fools' approaching, these prank ideas are great ways to get a laugh out of pranksters and prankees alike. Hoping to pull a fast one this April 1? Look no further than these fun, family-friendly April Fools' pranks.

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.

Juice joke

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 he tries to get in, you’ll have the last laugh.

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