Classic April Fools' Pranks


April 1 is always celebrated as April Fools' Day or All Fools' Day. This is a day when practical jokes of every kind are played on friends, family members and neighbours. Many theories have been put forward about how the tradition began. Unfortunately, none of them are very compelling. So the origin of April Fools' day remains a mystery. 

One theory is as follows - In 1564, France reformed its calendar, moving the start of the year from the end of March to January 1. Those who failed to keep up with the change and stubbornly clung to the old calendar system had jokes played on them. Pranksters would stick paper fish to their backs. The victims of this prank were thus called Poisson d'Avril or April Fish which, to this day, remains the French term for an April Fool.


The Swiss Spaghetti Harvest
In 1957, a BBC news show announced that thanks to a very mild winter and the virtual elimination of the dreaded spaghetti weevil, Swiss farmers were enjoying a bumper spaghetti crop. BBC accompanied this announcement with footage of Swiss peasants pulling strands of spaghetti down from trees. Huge numbers of viewers were taken in. Many called the BBC wanting to know how they could grow their own spaghetti tree. To this the BBC diplomatically replied that they should "place a sprig of spaghetti in a tin of tomato sauce and hope for the best."
Instant Colour
In 1962 there was only one TV channel in Sweden and it broadcast in black and white. The station's technical expert, Kjell Stensson, appeared on the news to announce that, thanks to a new technology, viewers could convert their existing sets to display colour reception. All they had to do was pull a nylon stocking over their TV screen. Stensson proceeded to demonstrate the process. Thousands of people were taken in.
Whistling Carrots
In 2002, the British supermarket chain Tesco put an advertisement in The Sun, a newspaper, announcing the successful development of a genetically modified 'whistling carrot'. The advertisement explained that the carrots had been engineered to grow with tapered airholes in their sides. When fully cooked, these air holes caused the vegetable to whistle.
UFO Lands in London
On March 31, 1989 thousands of motorists driving on the highway outside London looked up in the air to see a glowing flying saucer descending on their city. Many of them pulled to the side of the road to watch the bizarre craft float through the air. The saucer finally landed in a field on the outskirts of London where local residents immediately called the police to warn them of an alien invasion. Soon the police arrived on the scene and one brave officer approached the craft with his truncheon extended before him. When a door in the craft popped open and a small, silver-suited figure emerged, the policeman ran in the opposite direction. The saucer turned out to be a hot-air balloon that had been specially built to look like a UFO by Richard Branson, the then 36-year-old chairman of Virgin Records. The stunt combined his passion for ballooning with his love of pranks. His plan was to land the craft in London's Hyde Park on April 1. Unfortunately, the wind blew him off course and he was forced to land a day early in the wrong location.
Big Ben Goes Digital
In 1980 the BBC reported that Big Ben, in order to keep up with the times, was going to be given a digital readout. It received a huge response from listeners protesting the change. The BBC Japanese service also announced that the clock hands would be sold to the first four listeners to contact them. One Japanese seaman in the mid-Atlantic immediately radioed in a bid!
Asterix Village Found
In 1993, a London newspaper called The Independent announced the discovery by archaeologists of the 3,000-year-old village of the cartoon hero Asterix. The village was said to have been found at Le Yaudet, France in almost precisely the location where Rene Goscinny, Asterix's creator, had placed it in his books. Supposedly the team found evidence that the small village had never been occupied by Roman forces. They also discovered Celtic coins printed with the image of a wild boar (the favourite food of Asterix's friend Obelix) as well as a large collection of rare Iron Age menhirs (standing stones) of the precise size favoured by Obelix who was a menhir delivery man.
- Fill the sugar bowl with salt. Then wait until your sibling eats his or her cereal!
- Put a fake mouse on the floor.
- Put a fake ice cube with a fake fly in it in your friend's drink.
- Wet your hand with water, pretend to sneeze and sprinkle the water on someone.
- Pour the shampoo out of the bottle and replace it with honey!
- Unscrew the saltshaker lid.
- Glue a coin to the sidewalk and wait until someone tries to pick it up.
- Look at your friend and say, "Oh my gosh! What's that hanging out of your nose?"
- Put fake bugs in your mom's bed.
- When someone is talking, make funny sounds to make it sound like the person talking is making the noises.

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