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27 of the Best April Fools’ Pranks to Play on Your Parents

The best pranks for parents are easy, fun—and won’t get you grounded. Who said mom and dad can't get in on the fun of April 1?

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Gotcha, mom and dad! These April Fools’ pranks for parents are genius

April Fools’ Day is a treasured holiday for kids around the world. Telling April Fools’ Day jokes and pulling pranks on your parents is good, clean fun—especially if your family members can take a joke! We’ve rounded up 27 of the very best April Fools’ practical jokes you can pull on your parents. Keep in mind that not everyone thinks April Fools’ pranks are funny, so proceed with caution and prepare to clean up any mess you make. Warning: Don’t be surprised if they turn the tables and try one of these April Fools’ pranks for kids or April Fools’ text pranks on you.

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Female Hand set up white bed sheet in bedroom
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Short the sheets

Here’s a good April Fools’ prank for your parents that is equal parts hilarious and frustrating: “Short sheet” a family member’s bed. Simply remove the top sheet, tuck one end under the mattress at the top of the bed, then fold it over so that it acts as both the fitted sheet and top sheet. When mom or dad hop into bed, their feet will hit the fold in an abrupt surprise!

Russian traditional sweet drink kissel with cranberries
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Juicy surprise

Does your mom like to sip a glass of cranberry or grape juice in the mornings? April Fools’ Day is the perfect opportunity to shake up her juice routine with Jell-O! On March 31, mix up a package of Jell-O (just follow the instructions on the back of the box) and pour the liquid into a clear cup with a straw in it. Refrigerate the cup overnight. The Jell-O will solidify, holding the straw in place and setting the stage for a jiggly surprise in the morning. If your mom gets annoyed, share these April Fools’ Day memes to make her laugh again.

Homemade French Bread. Sliced
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Bread gone bad

This April Fools’ prank for parents will have them thinking the bread they just bought at the grocery store has already gone moldy. With clean hands, take the top slice of bread off the loaf. Dab a drop or two of green food coloring on the next slice. Replace the top slice so that the colored smudge is hidden, then wait for a disgusted reaction when they think they’ve gotten a moldy loaf! At least they can have a laugh when you tell them these food jokes.

Stack of chocolate sandwich cookies on the rustic wooden background
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Kookie cookie

Do your parents have a sweet tooth? If they’re fans of Oreos or other sandwich-style cookies, this is the prank for you! Grab an Oreo and slowly twist the cookies so they come apart. Use a butter knife to scrape off the icing, then replace it with white toothpaste. Carefully put the Oreo back together, offer it to your parent, and watch them react to the minty surprise! This would also make a funny April Fools’ prank for boyfriends (if you’re old enough to have one).

Close-Up Of Colorful Balloons Hanging At Home
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Balloons in the pillow

When your parents aren’t looking, take their pillows out of their pillowcases and hide them in a closet or dresser drawer. Then fill their pillowcases with blown-up balloons instead. They’ll get a squeaky, airy surprise when they go to bed for the night. Depending on how heavy their heads are, they might even get scared with a pop!

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Soap no more

Anyone whose family uses bar soap in the bathroom sink or shower will enjoy pulling this classic April Fools’ prank for parents! When they’re not looking, take the bar of soap and dry it off completely. Then carefully paint the whole thing with clear nail polish. Next time a family member tries to lather the soap, nothing will happen! Looking for more ideas to prank? Here are some pranks to pull based on your zodiac sign.

Food Coloring in plastic bottles
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Colored water

Make your parents worry about the water quality with this harmless prank. Use a cotton swab to wipe gel food coloring around the rim of the faucet spout, right where the water comes out. Choose red to give it a particularly spooky touch! Then watch and wait for them to freak out when they fill up their glass. Nothing like a little fake blood in the morning, right?

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Salty shocker

If your parents drink their coffee or tea with a touch of sugar, replace the sweetener in their sugar bowl with salt for a not-so-sweet surprise. Note: Don’t forget to replace it before you need a little sugar for your oatmeal! While you’re at it, here are some hilarious prank videos to draw inspiration from for April Fools’.

best april fools pranks for parents cling wrapping
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Shrink-wrapped shampoo

This is the best April Fools’ prank for parents who love their bath products. Get them into a lather in the shower by sealing off their shampoo, conditioner or body wash. To do this, unscrew the cap and place a small piece of plastic wrap over the bottle opening, then screw the lid back on. They’ll have no idea why they can’t get their products out of the bottle.

Closeup of young female hand holding remote control and changing channel at home watching television alone
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Wrong channel

Take the batteries out of every remote in the house to make it impossible to change the channel. Bonus points if you switch the TV to your favorite channel before you shut it down. If your parents are tired of being pranked, try these office April Fools’ Day pranks to play on your co-workers.

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Turn the world upside down

This April Fools’ prank for parents will have them wondering why their world was flipped upside down! Sneak downstairs before your parents get up and set all the small objects in the house (picture frames, clocks, books and other doodads) upside down or backward. You can also turn jackets and other items inside out. If you don’t feel like putting in all this effort for a silly prank, try memorizing one of these funny jokes.

Enjoying A Catch Up Coffee
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Voice command fail

This is one of those April Fools’ pranks for parents that can get people in stitches in no time. Tell your parents that one of their favorite appliances (like the coffee maker or toaster) has a voice-command feature that you just set up for them. Then, watch as they talk to that appliance and become confused when it doesn’t work. Looking for more fun on April Fools’? Have a hilarious time prank- calling these numbers.

Front Door with Delivery Boxes
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Special delivery

Give your parents a good laugh (and possibly a minor moment of panic) with this easy prank. Simply stash some old Amazon boxes, or other cardboard boxes, over the next few weeks, then tape them back together on March 31 so they look new. Put them on your porch on April 1 while your parents aren’t looking. Then, explain to your parents that you accidentally ordered a ton of stuff from Amazon that was delivered today … oops! If your parents start to panic (because budgets are real), simply scream “April Fools!” and watch the relief flood their faces.

Toilet paper roll
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Silly spiders

If one of your family members is freaked out by creepy crawlies, this April Fools’ prank will definitely get a reaction. Unroll the toilet paper slightly and draw a creepy spider a few sheets in with a marker. Roll it back up and wait for your victim to get a surprise.

The phone screen is cracked.
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Cracked screen

If you have your own smartphone or tablet, you can really get your parents fooled by pretending your screen has been cracked. You can download images or even find online apps that will make your screen look like it’s shattered. Your parents will totally be relieved when you scream “April Fools!”

Vertical storage of clothing. Clothing folded for vertical storage in the linen drawer
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Underwear switcheroo

This is the best April Fools’ prank for parents who have a rigid morning routine. Make getting ready in the morning a little more challenging by switching the underwear from one person’s drawers to another’s. (It’s especially funny if you put a kid’s teeny underwear into the biggest family member’s dresser.)

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Iced over

This is the best April Fools’ prank for parents who love their morning tea or coffee. There are a few different ways you can bring a little April Fools’ fun to their drinks. Try hiding a little food coloring beneath some ice cubes, so when you pour in water or another drink, you’ll get a colorful beverage. Or create a creepy ice cube by freezing a plastic bug into an ice cube and slipping it into their drink.

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Picture prank

Looking for a more subtle prank to pull on your parents? Print out (or snip out) pictures of your favorite characters or cartoons and replace your family photos with these silly shots. (Let’s see how long it takes for your parents to see that Harry Potter has replaced you in the portrait.) Speaking of, if you have wizarding fans in the family, don’t forget about these Harry Potter jokes and puns every muggle should know.

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Habla español?

Swap the settings on the TV or their phone so they see everything in Spanish or French instead of English. Then maybe they can help you with your language homework too!

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Sprays on you

This one is an oldie but a goodie: Use a rubber band on the sink sprayer handle to keep it pressed down. When the next unsuspecting person goes to turn on the faucet, your prank will make a big splash as the sprayer soaks them.

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Don’t get stuck

If your parents constantly ask you to replace the roll of toilet paper, here’s the perfect opportunity to do it—but with something funny. Put a roll of duct tape on the holder instead of toilet paper.

White wireless mouse pad best april fools pranks for parents
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Mouse no more

This is the best April Fools’ prank for tech-savvy parents. Stick a Post-it or a piece of clear tape over the tracking ball on the computer mouse to keep it from moving. Watch your parents’ confusion as they try to figure out why their computer is on the fritz.

Yellow rubber ducks close up photography.
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Ducks in a row

Is there such a thing as too many rubber ducks? You’re about to find out! Get an outrageous number of rubber ducks (the more the merrier). Start hiding the ducks everywhere: cupboards, drawers, desks, car glove boxes… Go big or go home!

USA, New Jersey, Jersey City, Morning in bedroom
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Never-ending alarm

Want to really prank your parents? This one’s perfect for you. Gather up all the alarm clocks in your house, set them all to go off at different times, then hide them all over. Be warned though, your folks will be mad at you. Help them laugh it off with these bad jokes people can’t help but laugh at.

Many different sizes of googly eyes on grey background.
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Here’s looking at you

Less is more, which is what makes this prank so fun. Buy a bunch of googly eyes and stick them on everything you can find. It might not be the most original prank out there, but it surely is one that will make people smile.

Bubble wrap
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Bubble fun

Use bubble wrap! Place bubble wrap under an area rug or a bathmat. This one’s particularly effective first thing in the morning, before your unsuspecting victim has had any coffee—nothing like a loud, unexpected noise to wake someone up real quick!

2012 Year in Review
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Confetti explosion

Party poppers are great—so grab one and affix it to the jamb of a closed door, with the string stretched across the door. When someone turns the knob, they’ll find themselves surprised by a loud noise and a mini-explosion of confetti. Talk about making an entrance!

Now that you’ve read up on April Fools’ pranks for parents, get a laugh out of these dad jokes that are actually pretty funny.

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Additional reporting by Lisa Milbrand and Kelly Kuehn.

Leandra Beabout
Leandra Beabout writes for Reader's Digest and a variety of national lifestyle, wellness and travel publications and brand websites. She covers all things books and words for Reader's Digest, and when she's not on deadline, you can find her curled up with a new novel or planning her next trip.