April First looms — the day for pranking and punking, fooling and feigning, hexing and vexing, hijinks and low jinks.
Some hoaxes are simple. One perpetrator, one victim. A costumed wife flashes her unsuspecting husband. A fiancee bakes an unforgettable, impenetrable, inedible cake.
Others are elaborate, costly conspiracies. Families, friends, co-workers, even hired hands plot against an unwitting target. A man’s man comes back from vacation to a pinkalicious office. A couple return home only to find a wall where their door once was.
We asked readers to share their best capers. Maybe they’ll inspire you or maybe they’ll remind you to beware come Monday (or, for that matter, any other day, heh-heh-heh).
Apocalypse now • “I tagged my friends’ house in Sandy with spray-painted giant words ‘THE END IS NEAR’ because we knew they were replacing their siding the next week. They had people texting and knocking on their door, freaked out. Even better was that they lived off a bigger street, and it was the week of the blood moon in September 2015, [doomsayer and prepper] Julie Rowe was at her peak, and the [LDS] church had just released the statement to avoid end-of-days movements. My favorite prank of all time.”
— Jacquelynn Sokol, Sandy
School daze • “When I was a student at Davis High, I worked one class period for the attendance secretary. When the school office updated its stationery, I kept a stack of letterhead and envelopes. Years after graduation, I drafted a letter to several high school friends, advising them that they had failed to complete one mandatory credit from high school and that their diplomas were invalid — they would have to come back to high school and finish the class. Mailed them out from the correct city of origin, signed by a made-up administrator of the school — sat back and thoroughly enjoyed the ensuing freak show. (It usually only took a day or so for the recipient to determine the letter was a fake.)”
— Traci Gundersen, Draper
Smelly delivery • “As a teenage worker at a Jack in the Box in Auburn, Calif., a co-worker used to crouch down below me unseen at the drive-thru window and make authentic fart sounds — timed exactly as I stretched out the window to deliver the orders to the cars. I actually married the prankster a few years after, and the marriage has lasted.”
— Jill Taylor, Hawaii
A bevy of buyers • “I asked people on Facebook to call or text brother-in-law Joe that you read his ad on Craigslist for a used lawn mower. He received hundreds of text messages from people he didn’t know wanting the lawn mower.”
— Solomon Sampson, Mesa, Ariz.
Scary trophy • “My neighbors in college used fishing line to tie our shower door shut and pack it full of leaves. We used a blanket to scoop leaves out, drag them to a window and dump them outside. As we got to the bottom of the leaves, we discovered a deer head from their recent hunting trip.”
— Alice Fisher Roberts, Salt Lake City
Urinetown • “I bought some methylene blue solution from a pet store (labeled use is to treat fish ich) and baked it into a batch of brownies, which I brought to a [Latter-day Saint] Young Single Adult linger longer potluck. Everyone who partook ended up having a bold blue color to their next, er, No. 1 bathroom event.”
— David Outhier, Anaheim, Calif.
Ask what you can do for your ... • “In 1962, while living in California, our parents woke us kids up early on a Sunday morning for a family meeting. They said the newspaper reported that President John F. Kennedy had announced he was making Peace Corps opportunities available to families. They felt we as a family should volunteer. They didn’t know the specific assignment yet, but we would likely be moving overseas in the next month. We were stunned. They then said they would fix us breakfast while we read the article in the paper. They handed the paper to us. Across the front page in bold marker was written ‘April Fools!’ I was relieved but also a little disappointed.”
— Mark Steele, Cedar Hills
Better late than ... wait • “For April Fools’ Day one year, I turned all the clocks ahead one hour. I even turned my husband’s watch ahead. His friend was in on the joke. He picked him up a little ‘late’ for work. Jim was really sweating it. He hates being late. As he was chafing about his tardiness, his friend had him look at a work clock. All day long my husband’s co-workers asked him to check the time.”
— Liz Vail Ashworth, Salt Lake City
Called to serve • “We created a fake [Latter-day Saint] mission call for my husband’s brother. It was complete with a letter from [then-church] President Gordon Hinckley and a mission president. The mission president letter was over-the-top hilarious. The envelope was stamped at the post office and all. We actually were worried because the family did not suspect anything.”
— Jeni Lawrence Colarusso, Salt Lake City
Discriminating taste • “My husband was always commenting on how disgusting it was to eat raw dough, like cookie dough or cake batter. For April Fools’ Day one year, I mixed two packages of chocolate cake batter, put them in a pretty glass bowl, topping the mixture with whipped cream. My husband finished off his bowl and asked for more.”
— Christine Wallace Balderas, Millcreek
Great wall • “My father, Ross Ekins, and his friend, Bill Partridge, living in Salt Lake City, engaged in a long series of pranking one another, but it all came to an end when my father administered the coup de grace. While Bill and his wife were out of town, Ross hired masons to brick up Bill’s front door. It was a brick house, so it was a fairly easy thing to lay in the same color of brick across the porch, effectively making the door disappear. Of course, Ross had the masons insert shims along each side of the big, beautiful wall so it could easily be pulled down later. We just wish they had spy cameras back in those days so we could all enjoy the looks of bewilderment when Bill and Jeanette returned late at night only to find their door had disappeared. As Bill told the story later, he had his front-door key in hand as they groped around in the semi-dark, trying desperately to find the door. Realizing that their mutual pranks had now escalated to an unsustainable level (this was NOT inexpensive) and that it would be unlikely either would ever be able to top the Great Wall of Salt Lake City, both pranksters declared a truce that was never, to my knowledge, violated.
— Roger Ekins, Jacksonville, Ore.
Door approach • One Halloween night, when our small children were asleep, I snuck out the back door in a trench coat and mask. I had nothing on under the coat. I went around to the front door and rang the doorbell. My husband opened the door expecting a trick-or-treater. In a disguised voice, I said ‘trick or treat’ — and flung open my coat. He was so shocked! When he finally got his wits about him, he grabbed my arm and pulled me into the house. A good Halloween night ending.
— Anonymous, Salt Lake City
Class act • “While I was a middle school teacher in Arlington, Va., I prepared for weeks to play a prank on my students by pretending to be a substitute teacher in my own class. I changed my hair, got glasses, bought new clothes, adopted new mannerisms and pulled it off. All my students thought I was ‘Mr. Johnson,’ who I told them would be substituting. The joke only fell apart when the school office called to say that there were reports of a substitute in my class but that I hadn’t called in sick, so the principal wanted to know what happened.”
— David Bennett, Concord, Calif.
Groundhog day • “We hid about 100 pictures of groundhogs in and on a co-worker’s desk after he got a voice-over gig as a groundhog in some cartoon. He was such an easy mark.”
— Manny Mellor, Lehi
Sisterly love • “I called my sister-in-law on the phone and told her I was from the water company, and there had been a break in the waterline a couple of blocks from her home, and I was calling just to let her know so that she could save water for her use, to fill bottles, pitchers, bathtub, etc. I also told her I was running behind in my calling because everyone had so many questions and would she mind contacting the neighbors on each side of her home and let them know the situation. She said she would but also said she wasn’t working today so she said she would cover both sides of her street for two blocks and let all of the neighbors know. Yup, she did it!”
— Gale R. Frandsen, Salt Lake City
Meet the in-laws • “When I was engaged to my husband, we had dinner at his mom’s house with some of his siblings and their spouses. I offered to bring my ‘famous sponge cake’ for dessert. My soon-to-be husband was having a hard time trying to cut the cake because it was so rubbery. He was trying hard not to embarrass me in front of his family, but it was obvious that I had baked a bad cake. When he finally got one slice cut open, he realized that it was a chocolate-frosted foam rubber sponge.”
— Valerie Phillips, Kaysville
Bat girl • “I placed a very lifelike bat on a co-worker’s keyboard, during a time when we were having a bat infestation in our downtown offices. Her scream could be heard for miles.”
— Judy Swenson Cullen, Salt Lake City
Pretty in pink • “I worked with a manly guy who made a HUGE deal about hating pink. He went on vacation and came back to a totally pinked-out cubicle. We all wore pink shirts to work that day. My favorite was the pink chair cover.”
— Kathy Cushman, Payson
P.R. blitz • “During my first month doing P.R. for a new Bay Area company, a co-worker approached me to say she had told one of our brand managers that the carpet tiles were made from recycled human hair. Now she really wanted to ‘sell’ the prank. So, I created a website for a fake company that manufactured the tiles, including multiple pages outlining the process and talking about different tile types. Then, I made up a fake P.R. person and an email for her. Naturally her email signature included the website for the carpet tile company. I emailed the brand manager at my company as the fake P.R. woman, telling him that a magazine within the ‘green building space’ was working on a piece about our tiles and that we wanted to have a quote from him about what he thought of the tiles in his office. We emailed back and forth a couple of times — not just him and the fake P.R. person, but also me, the real P.R. person. It was a hilarious chain.”
— Lindsey Nikola, Salt Lake City