How did April Fools’ Day start?

It’s time to start planning the perfect April Fools day prank! We’ve put together our list of top office friendly pranks.

Widely celebrated in the Western world, April Fools’ Day is known as the international day of playing pranks on others. The day is full of hoaxes played by young and old, although the exact origins of the day are not common knowledge, which is why we’ve done the work for you and summarised the origins of the day below. 

We’ve also compiled a list of our favourite office pranks to play on your coworkers this April Fools’ Day.  

Photo by Tanja Cotoaga on Unsplash

The History of April Fools’ Day

Celebrated annually on 1 April, April Fools’ Day is a day of pranks, good and bad. Whilst the day is widely celebrated across the world, and dreaded by some, its exact origins are a bit of a mystery. It’s first written history was 1561 in comical verse written by a poet.

Ancient Roman heritage.

One likely origin is the day’s relation to the ancient Roman tradition of Hilaria. Hilaria is a spring festival usually held around 25 March to celebrate the first day of the year that the day was longer than the night in Rome, the day we call Vernal Equinox. During the celebration, it was customary for commoners to imitate royalty, often playing devious pranks.

Changing to the Gregorian calendar.

Another possible origin stems from the changing of the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar in France in 1563. This change meant moving the start of the new year to January rather than the end of March. 

Due to the difficulty and pace of mass communication, many weren’t aware of the change for quite some time, still celebrating the new year in the final week of March through to 1 April. These people quickly became subject to jokes and hoaxes, the most popular of which being the placing of a paper fish (April fish) on their backs. This fish symbolises a gullible person. 

Now, April Fools’ Day, called Poisson d’Avril, is celebrated annually in France.

Bringing April Fools’ to the mass media.

One of the first times the age of tradition of pranking others on the first of April made its way to the mass media was on the British television channel BBC in 1957.

On the eve of April Fools’, views were shown a ‘news’ segment of a Swiss family who harvested spaghetti from their trees. The popular nightly news program successfully played a practical joke on the nation, however, this was not well received by all, with many viewers writing complaints to the station following the prank.

4 Office Pranks that Shouldn’t Get You Fired This April Fools’ Day

1. Cling-wrapped doorway.

The classic cling-wrapped doorway is simple and only takes a few minutes. All you’ll need is cling wrap, which you can probably find in your office kitchen. Wrap the doorway to an office, the bathroom or anything really. To ensure your victims don’t see your prank coming, it’s best to do this in a dimly lit space. 

2. Tape everything down.

This April Fools’ Day prank is exactly as it sounds, simply tape everything down. All you’ll need is a roll of tape and some time where your victim is away from their desk. Then get taping, stand back and watch your prank unfold.  

An alternative to this, is to cover your co-worker’s desk in sticky notes. If you’re game, and have a lot of sticky notes to spare, you can even cover their car. Another favourite is wrapping all their desk items in foil or wrapping paper, trust us this is the height of annoying.

3. Foghorn entrance.

Foghorn entrance is a great prank to play if you have a coworker who is constantly opening and closing their office door.  All you need to do for this is get a foghorn and duct tape. Both of which should be available at your local hardware store. Then simply tape the fog horn to the wall behind the door, ensuring that when it opens the door handle will activate the horn. 

Sit back and watch your whole office jump in fright whenever someone exists or enters the room. For an alternative of this simply attach the fog horn to the underside of someone’s desk chair.

4. Voice activated appliances.

This is a great trick to play on anyone who is new to the office or simply those who are super gullible. All you need to do is make a very legitimate looking note that reads, “This is voice activated” on your selected appliance. Take a seat and listen to your coworkers talk to kitchen appliances all day.

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      Katrina Stapleton

      Senior Digital Content Specialist

      Katrina Stapleton is a Senior Digital Content Specialist at Localsearch with a background in social media and marketing. Although most of her experience lies in the entertainment sector, Katrina has written content for a vast array of industries including tourism, hospitality, retail and property development. Katrina is an avid dog lover, who finds a way to weave her fur-baby, Mylo, into most conversations. Aside from being a self-confessed bookworm, Katrina can often be found checking out the Gold Coast's latest coffee nook, paddle-boarding or baking up a storm in her free time — all with Mylo by her side, of course! As a Senior Digital Content Specialist, Katrina enjoys sharing her knowledge and passions on the Localsearch Blog.