When I was a freshman in college I got the idea for what I thought would be the best April Fool’s Day prank ever. I was daydreaming somewhere (in class…?) when it occurred me that I could effectively trap someone in his or her dorm room, using nothing more than a roll of duct tape. I could just attach a bunch of strips of tape across the door frame, and then when the victim inside opened the door he or she would see nothing but a sticky gray wall. Comedy gold!
I’m not sure what it says about me that entrapment is my idea of a joke, but I was in good company because my friends agreed that the idea was a funny one. It didn’t take long to decide that our friend Annie would be the perfect target: Her reaction would be priceless, and she had burned us all so many times with her own pranks that we were eager for some revenge. In the wee hours of the morning of April 1, my accomplices and I gathered outside of Annie’s room with our supplies—i.e. one roll of duct tape. But here’s the thing about college freshmen: They often don’t have much foresight. So although we were good about keeping our voices down (I hiss-whispered every directive), we didn’t anticipate the ear-splitting SCREEEEE of the tape as we peeled it off the roll. It only took a few duct tape screeches for Annie to be roused from her slumber and open the door. What she saw was not, as I had hoped, a frustrating yet hilarious sticky gray wall, but a few lame strips of tape across her door and us, her bleary-eyed friends, huddled in the hallway in our pajamas.
So yeah, we were definitely the fools in this situation. But you don’t have to be! Courtesy of Sam Bartlett, hysterically funny author of The Best of Stuntology, here is a list of much better, much more satisfying pranks to help you pull off an April Fool’s Day that will live in infamy.
- Pre-sliced Banana: I unpeeled a banana once and watched it fall to the floor in four distinct cylindrical pieces. I was a victim of the mysterious pre-sliced banana stunt. To do this maneuver you need only a banana and a large pin. You insert the pin at various points along the banana and at each spot, wiggle it back and forth in one plane. This process separates the banana into sections while leaving the peel essentially intact. It is important to have a victim for your banana soon after you make your incisions, because the banana will fuse back together before long. The beauty of this stunt is that when someone opens a banana and it tumbles in pieces to the floor, they do not suspect foul play. Why would anyone tamper with a banana? How would anyone tamper with a banana? So they stare at the banana and just don’t know what to make of it.
- Fun with Funnels: You’ll need a quarter, a funnel, and a pitcher of water (which you’ll keep hidden until the right moment). You tell someone, who looks like they wouldn’t mind getting a little wet, that you have a coordination stunt. Have them put the funnel into their pants, with the wide opening sticking out the top. Then have them tilt back their head and put a quarter on their forehead. The object is to count to three and then try to get the quarter from their forehead into the funnel. Let them try this a few times before you empty the pitcher of water into their pants.
- Medicine Cabinet Stunt: You’re having a big party. Take down the medicine cabinet you have on your bathroom wall. Remove all the medicine. Fill the entire cabinet with marbles. Latch it shut. Put it back on the wall. Everyone at your party will hear the explosion of marbles when the nosy punk is caught trespassing in your private pharmacological turf.
- Foam Surprise: Wait for someone to go to the bathroom. Once they are in place and the door is locked, fill a medium-size padded envelope with shaving foam (as much as you can get into the envelope). Slide the open mouth of the envelope under the door. Place a flat board on top of the envelope. Stand back, then jump on it. Result: A huge, fast-moving cloud of foam will cover the subject, leaving—if you are lucky—a clearly defined outline of said subject on the wall.
- Doctor’s Office Stunt: Go in for a check-up with a tennis ball hidden somewhere on your person. When the doctor goes to take a pulse on your wrist, have the tennis ball in your armpit. Squeeze the ball and the pressure will cut off the blood flow in that big artery that goes down your arm. Your pulse will stop, and the doctor will be confused. (On a cautionary note, you’ll want to be able to show the tennis ball to the doctor before he injects some drug directly into your heart, or brings out those zapper things and starts yelling “Clear!” at the top of his lungs.)
—Avery, whose favorite holiday is April Fool’s Day.