April Fools! 5 Lighthearted Office Pranks

April Fools’ Day at the office. For some, it’s the equivalent of the Super Bowl, a time when the creative juices really start flowing. For others, it’s a chance to even the score after being punked in the past.

april fools

Whether you’re looking to take your tricks to the next level or out for revenge, here are five great themes you can explore.

1. Playing with your food

Is your desk headquarters for the office sugar rush? Start a few weeks in advance to set up an unappetizing April Fools’ Day prank. Keep your candy jar stocked with Jelly Bellies so people will think nothing of it when you move in for the kill. On April 1, replace the usual goods with a supply of Bertie Botts or Bean Boozleds.

Fake cake pops are the perfect stunt for the office pastry chef who keeps the staff supplied with goodies. Instead of baking up a batch of sweets, replace the cake with Brussels sprouts or meatballs. Food Network shows you how. No one will know the difference until after they take a big bite.

Before you go wild with these food pranks, make sure you remain cognizant of any food allergies or dietary restrictions that if overlooked could get you in trouble with your HR department.

2. Phone-y baloney

Prank phone messages long have been a staple of office April Fools’ Day jinx. Get creative this year and step up your game. Instead of scrawling a message on a memo pad or sending an email, recruit a co-conspirator to make an actual call.  

Potential material includes:

  • Pretend to be business trying to confirm an order of, say, flowers to be delivered to someone other than your victim’s significant other. Or maybe you’re double-checking a delivery address for 100 pounds of dog food from a pet store.
  • Imitate a radio-station on-air personality who’s offering a prize for answering a series of silly questions or obscure trivia.
  • If you work at a store or restaurant, claim that you’re stuck in the restroom or closet and plead with your victim to please oh please come and rescue you.

Office intercom or email systems also offer great pranking potential. “There’s a gray Chevy Equinox in the parking lot with the lights on.” Or “your car is about to be towed!”

3. Customer-service capers

For anyone who answers an outside line at a business, every shift can seem like April Fools’ Day. Have a little fun by rolling out a few of the greatest hits adapted from some of the most annoying customer-service calls. Phone a coworker and imitate some of these frustrating callers:

  • The caller who can’t understand why your web site isn’t functioning properly on Netscape.
  • The customer who calls for tech support and doesn’t understand the first thing about how the computer, phone or device works.
  • The person who’s trying to multitask through lunch and keeps chomping and slurping through the entire conversation.

4. Cyber surprises

Most of these require covert work after hours on March 31 or early the morning of April 1—but they’re worth it.

Change a colleague’s search engine language preferences. It’s easy enough in Google, though your victim will have to be careless enough to leave the desktop accessible while still signed onto an account.

The language trick also works if you can find an unsecured cell phone and change the keyboard settings for a messaging app. If you have the time, replacing the names of contacts with, say, fictional characters is also good for a laugh.

It’s easy to mess with someone’s computer or phone screen by changing the wallpaper to a screenshot of the actual screen. Clicking and tapping will get them nowhere because the icons they’re trying to access aren’t real.

5. Pranks with props

Just like with electronic shenanigans, these capers require a degree of stealth. But isn’t part of the fun of April Fools’ Day not getting caught?

Engage in some restroom trickery by taking an old pair of pants, affixing boots to the cuffs and then positioning them inside a stall. See how long it will take someone to notice that the same “person” has been in there all day.

Messing with office supplies is a traditional approach. Clear desk trays of pens and paper clips and fill them with candy. Swap coworkers’ drawers. Rubber band or plastic wrap a telephone or keyboard.

You can always hit a novelty shop and go for a classic—air-horn tricks and whoopy cushions will catch the innocent every time.

From time-tested stunts such as prank calls, rearranged desk supplies, or fake messages to modern stunts involving electronics, the office is a target-rich environment for April Fools’ Day fun. Try a few of these tricks to bring some light-hearted frivolity to the workplace.

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