As much as many of us love our parents, sometimes it’s fun to get a little payback for all the times your parents embarrassed you in front of your friends, told you that you couldn't play until your homework was done, overprotected you from doing something totally normal, and so on. Of course, your parents were probably just trying to keep you safe and demonstrate how much they loved you in all of these moments. Nonetheless, April Fools’ pranks to play on your parents are about as sweet as they come — they're made for some minor, lighthearted revenge. Playful pranks (nothing terrifying or life-threatening) on this one day each year are one of the best ways to return the favor.
Luckily, we all have a rich history of epic April Fools’ Day pranks to pull inspiration from. Jim and Dwight from The Office were, and still are, the kings of innocent pranks. And TikTok has provided a long trail of wins and fails in the April Fools' Day prank department as well. Bringing all the best pranks in history together (again, only ones that are innocent and fun — nothing dangerous or cruel), here are 15 April Fools’ pranks for parents, because you deserve to mess with them every once in a while.
1. The Speeding Prank
As inspired by the viral TikTok prank, call your parents on speakerphone while you’re driving and tell them you got a speeding ticket. Then explain that you lied to the police officer by saying you were rushing home to help a parent who was on the floor after an accident, the officer is following you home to make sure your story is true, and that you need them to pretend they are hurt on the floor to prove your story. Then walk in (and maybe film) on them faking injury on the floor.
2. The Out Of Office Email Trick
Log in to your parents' personal email account, and set an out-of-office message that makes them seem adorably bananas. Something like, "I will be unreachable by email from Wednesday, April 1, until Saturday, Maytober 93. During this time I will be trying to locate my spirit fish by scuba diving in the pond behind my house. In case of emergency, contact my assistant, Cookie Monster, at firstname.lastname@example.org." As a note: The emphasis is on personal email. Doing this on someone's work email is totally uncool, as it could cause actual problems for them — and that’s not the point of April Fools’ Day pranks.
3. The Wrapped Furniture Joke
If you’ve got a solid window of time where you can be home while they’re away, take advantage of the opportunity to wrap cardboard in colorful wrapping paper in the shape of their favorite chair or couch (think Jim’s holiday wrapping paper prank on Dwight). When they go to sit down, exasperated that you wrapped their furniture, they’ll discover that it actually isn’t furniture at all. When they fall down in the middle of the attempt, you'll bask in the glow of the gift you just gave yourself. The more you wrap, the better the prank will be.
4. The Classic Monster Pop Out
This one is about as classic as April Fools’ Day pranks can come. Simply dress up as something strange, scary, or fantastical and hide out of sight. Pop out when your parents come into the room, and voila. Nothing beats a gorilla jumping out of a closet, right? It's an oldie but a goodie. And it works best when you have a sibling or friend to help you orchestrate it.
5. The Stapler In Jello Gag
It doesn't necessarily need to be a stapler — or anything office-related, for that matter. It could be their favorite coffee mug, car keys, or sunglasses. Just make it something your parents frequently use and stick it in the fridge overnight to harden. And make sure you’re prepared with a mold that’s big enough.
6. The Notes From The Future Trick
On April Fools' Day, just like Jim does to Dwight once he transfers to the Connecticut branch, send letters to your parents from themselves from the future. Use some stationery or learn how to forge their signature — something that even for a split second will make them question if the whole thing is real. And if your photo editing skills are up to snuff, maybe even include a photo of them looking aged.
7. The Broken TV Trick
There’s nothing quite like breaking things that gets parents so riled up, and this broken TV prank is easy to pull off. Simply pull up a broken screen image on your TV, either on the internet or through an HDMI, make a loud crashing noise, gasp, and then call your parents in. Acting skills are definitely a must here — make it convincing — and then wait for their reaction.
8. The Fake News Trick
Got any photoshop skills? Find a news story that you can replace with your name and photo, and then post a screenshot of it on social media to share with your parents. Make it wild, but also make it believable, like you saved the local mayor from a falling tree branch or you narrowly escaped a rogue bear attack in the city by playing Taylor Swift so loud it ran away.
9. The Ingredient Swap
Ice cream sundae? Sounds delicious. But instead of ice cream, toss a few scoops of mashed potatoes in a bowl and add hot fudge and a cherry on top. Yum. Or take inspiration from this TikTok mom and make it super convincing, replacing the filling of a dessert and resealing the plastic packaging.
10. The Surprise Reunion
There is always the option to make it a sweet April Fools' Day prank. Tell your parents to come into the living room for help with something mundane, or ask them to meet you at a coffee shop. Then set up a surprise reunion with someone they've wanted to visit for a long time and couldn't. Your parents might cry, but it'll be nothing but a sea of happy tears.
11. The Autocorrect Prank
Let’s face it: Most of our parents are hopeless when it comes to technology. Pull a fast one on them by replacing some words in their phone via autocorrect. Then, you can set them up to text some silly or embarrassing things. A fun one is replacing “no” with “yes absolutely!” and then asking them permission to do something. It can be as innocent as asking to order your favorite takeout or something bigger, like asking if you can use their credit card to buy a Louis Vuitton bag. Then watch the chaos unfold. The possibilities for this one are endless.
12. The Nonexistent April Fools’ Day Prank
This one purely works on a psychological level — light torture, if you will. All you have to do is lead up to April 1 texting things like, “April Fools’ Day is coming up — I hope nothing bad happens 👀” or “I can’t wait to see your face on April Fools’ Day. You’re never going to see it coming.” The fact that your parents will be so anxious that you’re going to pull a prank will become the actual prank. If they ask questions, just play it off like you have something majorly sneaky planned (which, in fact, you actually do).
13. The Updating Computer Screen
Pull up an updating computer screen video on their monitor or laptop and make it full screen. Then watch them as they watch and wait for the computer to update, which of course it never will. Eventually they will figure out something is up, but that reaction might even be the best part.
14. The Wrong-Day Prank
A simple but classic prank is having your parents think it's a different day than it actually is. Jim once convinced Dwight it was Friday instead of Thursday so that he would be late to work the next day (don't do that if someone has work). It could be both harmless and fun to try and convince your parents it's Sunday instead of Saturday if they have nothing important planned.
15. The Fake Vacation
This one is also a classic. Simply print out some fake plane tickets or pull them up on your phone, and convince your parents they need to pack their bags right away because you just bought them surprise vacation tickets and their plane leaves in a few hours. Of course, make sure your parents are the type who won’t call your bluff immediately, and that the situation makes sense. The more convincing, the better. Then, once they start packing and getting ready to go, break the news. (And take them out for ice cream to make it up to them.)
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