The Best April Fools Pranks & Practical Jokes to Use at Work

By Chris Kolmar - Dec. 11, 2020
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Every year on April 1st, we get the opportunity to prank our friends and family with innocent jokes. Have you ever considered bringing a few lighthearted jokes to your office? April Fools Day can be just as fun at work and bring you closer to your coworkers, especially if you gang up on your boss.

If you’re a team leader, you might want to use some of these as a bonding activity for your team. It can be a great way to break the ice and get everyone working together for something lighthearted and unrelated to work.

Workplace jokes are great, as long as they stay appropriate and inoffensive. Sometimes it can be hard to tell where to draw the line, so we’ve rounded up some of our best pranks that you can use in your office.

Just keep in mind that April Fools’ pranks are meant to be fun and lighthearted. You shouldn’t take hours to set up your prank or waste company resources to get it perfect. It’s also a good idea to only prank your friends and don’t try to prank someone you don’t get along with. You don’t want to start any workplace disagreements over your joke, so keep it casual and inoffensive, no matter what you choose to do.

Let’s take a look at the best pranks you can bring to your office. Feel free to use these all year long. You don’t need the pretense of April Fools Day to have a fun day at work.

10 Funny Office Pranks to Pull on Your Coworkers

Not quite ready to prank your boss yet? We’ve got you covered. There are so many great ways you can confuse your coworkers and make them laugh. Here are our top ten pranks for coworkers.

  1. Bring a treat. If you don’t want to plan something elaborate, this is a great prank. Buy a treat for the office, like donuts, a cake, or cookies, and replace the treat with a healthy snack, like veggies and hummus. Make sure you use the original treat box and place it in your break room or wherever people hang out.

    Keep the box closed, and when people walk in, they’ll reach for the treats and find a healthy treat instead. If you want to be nice, keep the original sweet treat at your desk and offer them out to people, so they know who the trickster is.

  2. Costume change. Another easy trick that only takes a little prep work is switching outfits throughout the day and making your coworkers think they’re going crazy. Show up to work in one outfit, then make the rounds and say hi to everyone, so they see you.

    In the middle of the morning, switch into something completely different, and see if anyone notices. Keep doing this throughout the day, and your coworkers will think they’ve gone insane. This trick works best if you make each outfit progressively more weird and fun as you go.

  3. Sticky note attack. Odds are you have tons of sticky notes lying around your office. If you can spare a few, try covering one of your coworker’s offices or cubicles with sticky notes of all colors.

    They’ll be shocked when they arrive, and everything is covered with the little pieces of paper, and have a good laugh. If you want to take it to the next level, try spelling out a message like “April Fools!” with the sticky notes, so they feel extra pranked.

  4. Caramel “apples.” This classic April Fools joke gets laughs every year. If your colleagues have a sweet tooth, this is a great prank to pull. You just need to make caramel apples, but instead of using apples, you can use similarly sized onions.

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    Pass them out at work and watch the horror on people’s faces as they bite into a caramel-covered onion and realize what you’ve done. Just be wary if you use this joke since it’s a popular one, and your targets might know about it already.

  5. Bathroom surprise. Bathrooms are a great place to surprise people. One of the best bathroom pranks you can pull is taping a photo underneath the toilet lid to surprise your unsuspecting coworkers. When they lift the toilet seat, they’ll be shocked to find whatever silly photo you put there.

    Photos that work well for things like this are relevant to pop culture or your office culture. Is there an ongoing office joke that you can incorporate here? What about a TV show character everyone loves or just a celebrity everyone loves to make fun of?

    There are plenty of images everyone can find funny; just make sure it’s nothing offensive, like a photo of a coworker who won’t take the joke well.

  6. Biggest fan. Do you have a work best friend you want to tease a little? Do they have a favorite celebrity or, even better, one they hate? Decorate their office as if they were that celebrity’s biggest fan.

    Print out pictures of the person and hang them all around the office. If they’re a singer, play their music for when your friend arrives, or find other ways to show your coworkers how much your friend loves this celebrity.

  7. Kitchen prank. Does your office have a kitchen or break room with a few appliances? Try moving them around, then put a sign on the appliances that says something like “new microwave is voice-activated.”

    You’ll get to watch your coworkers talk to the appliances all day and try to get them to work. This trick works best if you recently got new appliances, but it can work whenever if you just switch things up a bit and confuse your coworkers enough.

  8. Scary ceiling. If you really want to scare someone, this is the prank for you. Find a creepy picture online. It could be like a zombie, a ghost, or just someone staring wide-eyed. Anything scary will work.

    You can then tape the picture to the ceiling near your friend’s desk and wait for them to look up. Once they look up and see the scary image staring back at them, you’ll have pulled the best frightening prank.

  9. Upside down cup. This prank is as much a puzzle as it is a prank. Find a coworker’s desk and move any valuables or electronics out of the way. Fill a glass with water, and using a thin piece of plastic or cardboard, flip over the water glass, so it’s upside down with the cardboard between the desk and the top of the full glass.

    Slowly move the cardboard out of the way and wait for your friend to show up. They’ll have to figure out how the glass got there and how to move it safely out of the way. Even better, you can add a little April Fools note to the bottom of the glass, so they know who did it.

  10. Swimming in Jell-O. If you want to plan ahead and prank someone, this Jell-O trick is the perfect one. Before April Fools Day, take something your colleague uses every day and bring it home with you. It can be anything on the smaller side, like a stapler or their nameplate.

    Pick up some Jell-O from the store and make it according to the package, but before you pop it in the fridge, put your coworker’s borrowed possession in the liquid. When it firms up, you’ll have their object in the Jell-O, and you can place it on their desk to surprise them on April Fools Day.

10 Funny Pranks to Pull on Your Boss

If you want to step it up and get everyone laughing, pranking your boss can be the most rewarding April Fools joke. You can probably even convince other colleagues to help you out and pull off the perfect prank. Here are some funny but appropriate workplace pranks you can pull on your boss.

  • Swap pens for utensils. This harmless prank is a good one to try out on your boss. If they keep a drawer or a pen holder stocked with writing implements, you can swap them all out for something silly like straws or even forks and knives. You can choose to hide the pens you stole for them to find or just move them around so they can get back to work without too much of a distraction.

  • Broken mouse. Does your boss use a traditional mouse? If you can sneak into their office before they arrive, bring some tape and a sticky note. Write “April Fools!” on the note, then tape it on top of the mouse’s light sensor.

    This will make the mouse stop working with their computer, and when your boss realizes what’s happened, they’ll probably flip over the mouse to make sure it’s working correctly. They’ll see your note and realize they’ve been pranked.

  • Fake spider. For this prank, all you need is a sticky note and a cup that isn’t transparent. Place the cup upside down on your boss’s desk and write a quick message on the sticky note like “don’t move unless you want to kill the spider.”

    You can watch your boss avoid the cup all day, knowing that there’s nothing under it. You might even get to see your boss realize they’ve been pranked when they flip the cup over and see nothing. Try adding an “April Fools!” inside the cup so they know it was a joke and the fake spider didn’t escape.

  • Substitute boss. If your boss has a unique look or always dresses the same, you can try replacing them with a doll or a stuffed animal for the day. See if you can dress the doll up to look like them and give it a name tag that says their name.

    Leave the doll or stuffed animal at their desk and wait for their reaction. You can even get your coworkers in on the joke and have everyone speak to the doll instead of your boss for the day.

  • Air freshener attack. Take things up a notch with this trick, but make sure your boss doesn’t have any allergies first. Find an aerosol air freshener with a push trigger. Tape it to your boss’s chair, so it presses the trigger and releases the scent when they sit down. Once your boss sits down, the room will be full of whatever scent you put under their chair and surprise them.

  • New family. If your boss has family photos on display in their office, swap them out with new photos. They can be funny photos, animal photos, pictures of you and your coworkers; anything will work. You can get creative with this prank, so think about involving your coworkers with this one.

  • Peanut surprise. Do you have a bunch of packing peanuts in your office? Grab a few and fill your boss’ desk drawers with them. When they go to reach for their pen or whatever, they’ll be shocked to find their drawer filled with packing peanuts. If you go with this prank, be ready to help your boss get all of the peanuts out.

  • Christmas in April. If your boss is more fun-loving, consider wrapping their entire office with wrapping paper. Take all of the small things on their desk, like staplers and pens, or even their computer, and wrap it up in wrapping paper. It will be a big surprise when they walk into their office, and it will be fun to help them unwrap all of their things.

  • New desktop. If you can access your boss’s computer, try this prank. Take a screenshot of their current desktop and set it as their wallpaper. Then, move all of the folders around, so all you can see is the new wallpaper they set. You’ll get to watch your boss struggle to open folders and applications that are really just the screenshot on the desktop wallpaper.

  • Balloon surprise. Try bringing a bunch of balloons to your office and enlisting your coworkers to help you blow them up. Once you have a ton of balloons, put them in your boss’ office. The more full you can get in their office, the more rewarding the prank will be. Try to fill the office completely so nothing else can fit and wait for your boss’ reaction when the balloons spill out of their office.

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Chris Kolmar

Author

Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar is a co-founder of Zippia and the editor-in-chief of the Zippia career advice blog. He has hired over 50 people in his career, been hired five times, and wants to help you land your next job. His research has been featured on the New York Times, Thrillist, VOX, The Atlantic, and a host of local news. More recently, he's been quoted on USA Today, BusinessInsider, and CNBC.

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