April Fool's Day is in exactly one week. It's a sacred holiday in our home. Who knows how these family traditions get started but it has now reached the point that the damn kids expect something spectacular. And I'm really tired.
So instead, I'm passing along six solid ideas to you lowly amateurs who believe yourselves clever when you switch the sugar and the salt. These pranks are presented as 'kits', or vignettes, since that's what I do. They are not for sale on Finder Not Keeper. Yet.
The best kind of April Fool's joke requires forethought, planning, and consideration for safety and harm. I don't want anyone to get hurt, either physically or emotionally. But let's all agree that enduring embarrassment in childhood and adolescence is character-building.
Lucky Charms for Breakfast (photo above)
What kid doesn't love this cereal. Sneak the box into the pantry before bed on March 31.
Get a box. Very carefully open it. Dump it into a bowl and remove all of the marshmallow charms. Eat them. Replace them with hot wasabi peas. Hot glue the inner bag closed. Hot glue the outer box closed. Voilà.
Meat Brownies (photo above)
This is so easy and people fall for it every single time because there is not a soul on God's green earth who can resist a plate of chewy chocolatey brownies. I've made these so often that one of my kids actually prefers them to regular brownies. (Don't even think about pitying him. He's FINE.) The beef ends up adding an interesting, non-lethal, date-like texture to the brownie.
Cook the ground beef. Drain the grease. Make the brownies. Add in the beef. Bake as usual. Cut as usual. Place on a paper plate over an index card that reads, "Hope you loved my special meat brownies!"
Fabulous and Foolproof Plastic Wrap (photo above)
Once we plastic wrapped one of the boy's bedroom doors so in the morning, he walked into a sheet of Saran. Caution: this prank does present a fire hazard. My dad would be punishing me with a forced reading of the Burn Book if he knew we did this.
You can plastic wrap cars. It takes a good 20 boxes, jumbo sized, and two people. You can also plastic wrap a blowup doll into the driver's seat of plastic-wrapped car. (It's not what you think. She was wearing lingerie.) Is there a Dwight Schrute in your life? Whatever Jim Halpert does with Jell-o, you can do even better with plastic wrap.
Cat Poop with Worms on a Pillow (photo above)
Cheap and easy. Mix a spoonful of brownie mix with a bit of oil to make a paste. Add in a little of the cooked orzo. Take the plastic poop. Put it on a pillow. Dab the brownie paste over the poop to enhance its realism.
Fart Machine Duct Taped Under Desk (photo above)
This requires some finesse in controlling the placement of the machine. The prank works well in restaurants, classrooms, airplanes, even hotels where you have a couple of rooms. The remote can effectively transmit through a hotel wall. (Thank you for that, Graham.)
Last year, I was able to enlist the help of a band teacher with a sense of humor. (Is there any other kind of band teacher?) He allowed me to duct-tape the machine in advance, under my son's usual chair. He was then kind enough to operate the remote with gusto. I did not get to witness the flatulence, but I watched his fellow bandmates leaving rehearsal that evening and their faces were aglow with joy.
Kiddie Lunchbox Personally Delivered to Class by Mom in Bathrobe (photo above)
This works well if you have a child in middle school. Bringing a kid's lunchbox straight into a middle school classroom is certainly blush-inducing. But when you're wearing a bathrobe, slippers, and a shower cap, it gets sublime. My only caveat is to watch the date. When I pulled this prank, April 1st fell on Election Day. The joke was on me as I passed countless friends and neighbors in the hallway, waiting to vote. April 1 is again on Election Day this year, so proceed with caution. (By the way, for more of my Election Day adventures, click here.)
All right, that's it for this year. Now go get 'em!
Photos by Renn Kuhnen