April Fools! 4 Pranks to Delight the Whole Family

Boy with big popsicleFor April 1 -- or any day your crew is in need of a laugh -- check out this collection of pranks, props, and tricks. They're wacky enough to tickle an entire family of fools. We mean that in the nicest possible way, of course.

By Catherine Newman

1. A Micro Meal
To generate big belly laughs, present your kids with this Lilliputian lunch. Line a small empty matchbox with foil or parchment paper (so that the food can actually be eaten, if desired). With a glue stick, attach a 2- by 4-inch piece of decorative paper around the exterior. For the handle, squeeze a drop of tacky glue onto each end of a 1-inch length of pipe cleaner and adhere it to one side of the box as shown. Finally, pack it with a teensy lunch.

Sandwich: With a sharp knife, cut little triangles of bread, lunch meat, and lettuce, then stack them.

Doughnut: Frost the top of an O-shaped cereal piece and sprinkle it with nonpareils.

Carrot: Slice a bit of carrot into miniature carrot sticks.

Raisins: Chop a raisin into tiny pieces.

2. I Broke My Funny Bone!
What kid hasn't secretly longed to show up for school with a broken limb so that she can bask in attention and collect the loving signatures of well-wishers? This prank allows kids to cast themselves in that starring role -- without any of the suffering. As a bonus, this reusable fake is a fun prop to keep around for make-believe doctor visits.

You Will Need:
Knee-high white tube sock
Paper-towel tube
Plastic grocery bags
Masking tape
Plastic wrap
Foam brush
White glue

1. Cut the toe off the sock, then make a thumb hole by cutting a half-inch slit an inch from the cut end.

2. To make a cast form, bulk up a paper-towel tube by wrapping three or four plastic bags around it. Secure them with masking tape. Cover the form in plastic wrap, then slide on the sock. Attach a length of masking tape down the sock.

3. Use the foam brush to apply a thick layer of glue all over the sock, except for where the masking tape is (this unglued area will allow the cast to stretch so that the wearer can easily slip it on and off). Let the sock dry overnight. Remove the masking tape, then remove the cast from the form. Ask well-wishers to sign the cast with markers.

3. The Colossal Popsicle
So your kid has a huge appetite for frozen treats? Wow him with a mutant ice pop that's as big as his head. To make a simple version, remove the top from a 46-ounce can of juice, pour out a little of the juice (so it won't overflow when it freezes), and insert a foot-long length of 1-inch wooden dowel. Place strips of masking tape across the can to hold the dowel in place, then place the can in the freezer overnight or until the juice is solid. To remove the pop, run the can under hot water to loosen it.

To make the fancy striped pop shown here, pour all but 12 ounces of juice out of the can. Secure the dowel in place and freeze the juice. Add 12 ounces of a contrasting-color juice and freeze. Freeze the third layer, then run the can under hot water to unmold the pop.

After the prank is played, chop up the pop and put the pieces in a blender or food processor to make delicious shaved ice (that can be served in reasonable-size portions!).

4. A Helmet to Crow About
For a wacky stunt on April Fools' Day, deck your family's helmets with some chicken-inspired trimmings, then get ready to hear some chuckling -- and possibly some clucking -- as you cruise the neighborhood.

You Will Need:
Felt
Tacky glue
Large googly eyes
Old sock
Cotton batting or other stuffing
Safety pin
Heavy-duty double-sided tape
Pair of gloves
Embroidery thread and large-eyed needle

1. Cut a figure eight shape from the felt. Glue on the googly eyes.

2. To make the nose, cut off the toe of the sock and stuff it. Using a safety pin, attach it to the felt. Adhere the felt to the back of the helmet with double-sided tape.

3. Stuff the gloves, tucking in the cuffs to hold the stuffing in place. With the double-sided tape, adhere the gloves to the top of the helmet.

4. Using the embroidery thread and needle, make a few stitches through each glove and knot the thread ends inside the helmet.

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This article first appeared in FamilyFun magazine.