April Fools' Day 2020: 11 of the best pranks, jokes and ideas to try this year - and UK's most famous pranks in history

April Fools’ Day is the perfect excuse for trickery, jokes and invention, and this year as lockdown in the UK continues, there will be plenty of time to plan and carry out an excellent prank

By Helen Johnson
Wednesday, 1st April 2020, 9:10 am

Here are some of the best jokes, ideas and tricks for April Fools’ Day, including some of the UK’s most remembered pranks from the past.

Elastic band prank

Wrap one of your loved one’s most valued objects, such as their phone or tv remote, in multiple layers of elastic bands. Watch as they try to undo them all and free their item.

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April Fool’s Day is the perfect excuse for trickery, jokes and invention, and this year as the UK’s lockdown continues, there will be plenty of time to plan an excellent prank

Googly eyes

If you’ve got any googly eyes handy, glue a pair to items in the fridge so that when your family member goes to open the door, all of the condiments/products appear to stare back.

Text a ‘typing dots’ GIF

Prank a friend or family member by sending them a GIF of the dots which indicate that you're typing (when you’re actually not).They will be waiting for a message for a while.

Bubble wrap trap

If you have any spare bubble wrap lying around, place it under a rug or a bathmat to surprise a family member or flatmate when they step on it.

Tape over the TV sensor

Tape over the TV remote sensor and watch as those you live with get more and more confused as they try to figure out why they can’t change the channel.

Hide random photos around the house

Hide different size photos of whoever you choose all over the house and see how long it takes the people you’re living with to notice.

The UK’s best April Fools’ Day Pranks

The Washing of the Lions

One of the first known April Fools’ Day pranks in the UK occured on 1 April 1698, when several people went to the Tower of London to see the ‘washing of the lions’, in the moat.

This joke continued to be known for many years after, and in the mid-19th century a group of pranksters printed up official-looking tickets which promised admittance to the annual, yet non-existent, lion-washing ceremony, and distributed them around London on April 1.

The Swiss Spaghetti Harvest

In 1957, BBC news show Panorama announced that due to a mild winter and the elimination of the ‘spaghetti weevil’, farmers in Switzerland were enjoying a thriving spaghetti crop.

Footage of Swiss farmers pulling strands of spaghetti down from trees was shown and an incredible amount of viewers believed this trick, with many calling the BBC up and asking how they could grow their own spaghetti tree.

The BBC told viewers to "place a sprig of spaghetti in a tin of tomato sauce and hope for the best.", the director-general of the BBC at the time even fell for this trick, looking in an encyclopedia to find out if this was actually how spaghetti was grown.

The decrease of gravity

On April Fool’s Day in 1976, the British astronomer Patrick Moore made an announcement during an early morning interview on BBC Radio 2 that at precisely 9:47 AM the very same day, a once-in-a-lifetime astronomical event was going to occur.

This was that the planet of Pluto would pass behind Jupiter and this would then very briefly disrupt and lessen the Earth's own gravity. Moore told listeners that if they jumped in the air at precisely 9.47am, they would be able to float for a very short period of time. Many listeners fell for this and called in to say that they had in fact felt this floating sensation.

UFO Lands in London

In 1989 on March 31, the then 36-year-old chairman of Virgin Records, Richard Branson, flew in a hot air balloon which had been specially designed to look like a UFO.

Hundreds of motorists driving on the motorway outside London looked up to see what they thought was a glowing flying saucer descending into London, many of them pulling up to watch this incredible event.

When the ‘flying saucer’ landed in a field on the outskirts of London, local residents called the police to inform them of an alien invasion. A police officer approached the ‘spaceship’ with his truncheon in hand, but ran in the opposite direction when the ‘UFO’ door opened and a silver-suited figure came out.

It is believed that Branson’s original plan was to land the craft in London's Hyde Park on April 1, but when the wind blew him off course he had to land his balloon a day early and in the wrong place.

Whistling Carrots

On April 1 2002, supermarket chain Tesco ran an ad in The Sun announcing that they had successfully developed a new, genetically modified 'whistling carrot.'

This ad stated that the carrots had been specially engineered to grow with ‘air holes’ in their side, which, when fully cooked, caused these ‘air holes’ to make the carrot emit a decibel signal, equivalent to the noise level of a drill, indicating that they were fully cooked.

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