April Fool's Day

Maya Driver

Has someone played a trick on you today? If they have, don't be angry, it's April Fool's Day! This traditional day of obscure origins has been around for many years and it is celebrated by playing practical jokes, pranks and by generally making a fool of friends, family and acquaintances. However, if you play a trick on someone after noon, then it is you who becomes the April Fool!

Every year on April 1st, practical jokes are carried out all over the world. Some of them on such a large scale as to fool entire countries. For example, the BBC has reported on the phenomenon of spaghetti trees, flying penguins and Big Ben going digital. In the US, Burger King announced its new product the left-handed Whopper burger, which was specially designed so that the sauce would only drip out of the right-hand side. Customers placed orders for these new burgers and some even requested the original right-hand burgers.

Playing tricks on people can be fun and there are lots of props you can buy to help you. If you are going to play a prank, make sure your victim has a sense of humour! Plastic dog poos, fun snaps, whoopie cushions, itching powder, sweets that change the colour of your tongue, fake blood and makeup for creating special effects can all be found in joke shops and online. Leaving a fake spider or rat for someone to find is bound to get some screams (and laughs). A very simple prank to play is to put some green food colouring into a pint of milk - although this works better with a carton than a see-through bottle. An old favourite is to superglue a coin to the pavement and watch passers-by try (and fail) to pick it up!

If you get your hands on a keyring TV controller such as TV-B-Gone or the Ninja Remote you can control any TV near you and switch it off - to the confusion and frustration of others. A rather cruel prank to play is to buy a trick lottery scratchcard and give it to your victim. They'll scratch the card to reveal they've won thousands of pounds ... shame it's only a fake card!

There are plenty of tricks you can play in the office such as setting up a screensaver on a friend's computer that makes it seem as though it has crashed. Search online for BlueScreen Screen Savers, also known as the blue screen of death, to download. There are lots of websites that allow you to set automated prank calls, so you can really start annoying your colleagues. Or a very simple trick is to take a Post-It note and stick it over the optical eye of your victim's mouse (or tape some paper over the trackball if they have an older mouse). When they try to move their mouse, the cursor will stay still. Don't forget to write April Fool's on the Post-It!

If you're not into playing tricks on people, you can still get into the spirit of April Fool's Day by telling a few jokes. Do some research online for funny jokes and make sure you're not repeating the same old ones. Why not watch some funny video clips online or read some comics? Then at the end of the day, when everyone's done playing pranks, you can watch some comedy DVDs.

Have you planned any practical jokes today, or was the joke on you? Leave a comment and tell us about it.

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