April Fools’ Day History, Media Pranks, and Pranks for YOU to Pull


Nick Huffman

April Fools Day is an annual custom on April 1st, consisting of practical jokes, some harmless, some very harmful, and hoaxes. 

History of April Fools’ Day

Although April Fools’ Day has been celebrated for centuries by different cultures, its exact origins remain a mystery. Some historians speculate that April Fools’ Day dates back to as early as 1582. This was when France switched the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar. There’s also a speculation that April Fools’ day was tied to the vernal equinox, or first day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere, when the weather underwent some changes, such as very quick to change and unpredictable. 

It spread throughout Britain during the 18th century. In Scotland, the tradition became a two-day event, starting with “hunting the gowk (fool)” This was basically people were sent on phony errands and followed by ‘Tailie Day”, which involved pranks played on people with “kick me” signs on them. 

Modern Day Media Pranks

Because of these simple pranks, in modern times, people have gone all out to create amazingly hilarious April Fools’ Day pranks. Even the media has participated with examples such as newspapers, radio and TV stations and Web sites have participated in the April 1st tradition of reporting unbelievable and outrageous fictional claims that have fooled their audiences. 

  In 1957, the BBC reported that Swiss farmers were experiencing a record of spaghetti crop, with footage of farmers harvesting noodles from trees; many viewers to this phenomenon were completely fooled. Another prank that the media pulled was in 1985, Sports Illustrated tricked many of its readers when it published a made-up article about a rookie pitcher named Sidd Finch who could throw a fastball over 168 miles per hour. In 1986, Taco Bell duped people when it announced it had agreed to purchase Philadelphia’s Liberty Bell and was gonna rename it to Taco Liberty Bell. In 1998, Burger King advertised a “Left Handed Whopper” which caused numerous customers to order a non-existent menu item.

April Fools’ Day Pranks

If you want to participate in some hilarious pranks, here’s a couple. Depending on how many stalls there are at the shared bathroom on your floor, create some fake lower legs and feet, using shoes and pants stuffed with towels. Place them inside the stalls before the workday begins, then watch as people get increasingly annoyed that every toilet in the bathroom has been occupied all day. Add a secret message to the bumper of your friend’s car, which reads: “PLEASE HONK. Driver doesn’t know. April Fool’s Day.” The trick will be getting the sign on there without the driver noticing. Measure out just enough bubble wrap to hide under the rug of a frequently-visited stretch of hallway. Once somebody steps down on it, it’ll make such a bang that they’ll dive for cover.

April Fools’ Day is a well known holiday for its creative pranks, hoaxes and gags. Whether you participate or not, you have to admit, it’s pretty funny to see your buddy surprised when the figure out what you have in store for them