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 www.Googleaprilfools.com.
- 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.