April Fools' pranks to remember

Tuesday, March 31, 2009 | 7:49 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — The origin of April Fools’ or All Fools’ Day, is as uncertain as a person’s fate on this particularly foolish day.

The most common reasoning, according to the Museum of Hoaxes, is that April Fools’ is a day to celebrate the turning of seasons or a change in calendar from winter to spring. In any case, it is an excuse to throw inhibition to the wind and truly dupe your friends and family.

To pay tribute to those who have tricked and teased before us, here is a compilation of some old, some new and some ridiculous past pranks.

Be warned that the following pranks were performed by professionals, some to a horrifying end, others to glorious immortality in the prank hall of fame and most, well, they just didn’t work out.

  • The Swiss Spaghetti Harvest: Topping the list of the Top 100 April Fools Hoaxes of All Time, as compiled by the Museum of Hoaxes, the Swiss Spaghetti Harvest prank combines mass confusion with an overall hilarity that many modern pranks fail to encompass. In 1957, the BBC show Panorama reported that due to the extinction of the “spaghetti weevil,” and a warm winter, that the spaghetti crops were booming. They even went so far as to show video of Swiss peasants harvesting the spaghetti. For the next several weeks BBC received a large number of requests of how to grow spaghetti trees, to which they responded, “place a sprig of spaghetti in a tin of tomato sauce and hope for the best.”
  • The Google Pranks: Starting in 2000, the search engine giant Google has been pulling pranks on their users every April Fools’ Day.  Their most recent endeavor attempted to convince Google users that they would have the ability to send e-mails back in time, so they are no longer late. The service was dubbed as Gmail Custom Time, and would limit users to only ten uses. Google even offers a separate Web site that their users can use to solely search for April Fools’ Day information. The site is
  • The Bank Teller Fees Prank: A prank with an unfortunate ending, this prank, pulled in 1999, involves the Savings Bank of Rockville in Connecticut. The bank placed an ad in a local newspaper announcing they would be charging customers five dollars for each visit to the teller. The bank lost over 1,000 customers, and when they announced the joke the next day, most of the customers still did not return.
  • The Free Eminem Concert Prank: This prank hails from Chattanooga, Tenn., where a pair of enterprising disc jockeys from 98.1 KISS decided to promote a fake, free Eminem concert to be held in a store parking lot. Chaos ensued creating bumper to bumper traffic and near-riot reactions from the displeased fans. The result of this prank? The DJs were jailed for creating a public nuisance.
  • The Pepsi Tattoo Prank: One of the more permanent pranks of all time, the Pepsi tattoo prank occurred in 1994 when National Public Radio announced that anyone who got the Pepsi logo tattooed on their body would receive a ten percent discount for life on any Pepsi products that bore the label. NPR received calls for months after the initial broadcast from disgruntled fans attempting to claim their prize.

While these pranks are grand in scheme, they can provide inspiration for smaller scale attempts. Whatever the case, be careful, be sneaky, and above all else, remember to watch your back. After all, everyone is a target on April 1.


Like what you see here? Become a member.

Show Me the Errors (What's this?)

Report corrections or additions here. Leave comments below here.

You must be logged in to participate in the Show Me the Errors contest.


Ray Shapiro March 31, 2009 | 8:15 p.m.

Why bother printing such an article?
If you consult the Farmer's Almanac you'll notice that the Spring Equinox came early this year, therefore, April 1st. was canceled for calendar year 2009.

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro March 31, 2009 | 8:21 p.m.

Why even bother to print such an article?
If you consult the Farmer's Almanac, you'll find that because the spring equinox came early this year, April 1st. was canceled.

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro March 31, 2009 | 8:27 p.m.

It's my understanding that because the spring equinox csme early this year, that April 1st. has been canceled. (At least that's what I read in this year's Farmer's Almanac.)

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro March 31, 2009 | 8:29 p.m.

I just read somewhere that April 1st. has been canceled.

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro March 31, 2009 | 8:30 p.m.

Don't let me be the first to tell you, but the first of April has been canceled.

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro March 31, 2009 | 8:31 p.m.

Anyone hear the rumor about April Fool's Day being canceled this year?

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking March 31, 2009 | 8:39 p.m.

We know, ray...


(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr April 1, 2009 | 2:47 a.m.

Blame Bush for it being canceled when he signed that stupid executive order changing daylight savings time it screwed up everything.

(Report Comment)

Leave a comment

Speak up and join the conversation! Make sure to follow the guidelines outlined below and register with our site. You must be logged in to comment. (Our full comment policy is here.)

  • Don't use obscene, profane or vulgar language.
  • Don't use language that makes personal attacks on fellow commenters or discriminates based on race, religion, gender or ethnicity.
  • Use your real first and last name when registering on the website. It will be published with every comment. (Read why we ask for that here.)
  • Don’t solicit or promote businesses.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through. If you see something objectionable, please click the "Report comment" link.

You must be logged in to comment.

Forget your password?

Don't have an account? Register here.