The best April Fools’ Day pranks to play on your family while stuck at home

In a world turned upside down by a global coronavirus pandemic, it is difficult enough to know what to believe. But there’s still a need for some harmless fun that can bring a smile to kids, parents, partners and friends alike.

This April 1, the internet is pleading with brands not to pull their regular pranks, and Google has canceled its annual April Fools’ hoax. The company will “take the year off from that tradition out of respect for all those fighting the COVID-19 pandemic,” according to an email obtained by Business Insider. “Our highest goal right now is to be helpful to people, so let’s save the jokes for next April, which will undoubtedly be a whole lot brighter than this one.”

There are ways to still lightly celebrate the day remotely, though, that can prove to be an excuse to connect with a family member or friend while social distancing at home. Just don’t pretend to have the coronavirus.

Swap out the family photos

Mom, why did you frame that random photo of Steve Buscemi? For those quarantining with others, putting a strange new image in front of a familiar photo is an easy way to get a double take — even from people who maybe haven’t left the house in weeks. If you’re quarantining alone, consider placing a swapped-image frame behind you in a Zoom call, and see if the person you’re video-chatting with notices.

Pretend to be typing … forever

With everyone glued to their phones, the three dots which signal that someone is responding to your text carry great weight. What are they going to say? Will they ever press send? Why does it feel like they’ve been typing for an eternity? Maybe it’s because they aren’t actually typing, but just sent you a gif of the three dots.

Subscribe a pal to a hilarious mailing list

Here’s a harmless way to brighten someone’s inbox at the expense of a little confusion. The internet has seemingly endless free email newsletters to sign up for, including a great assortment of ones on raising chickens, community chickens and chicken secrets — perfect for causing mild bewilderment in that friend who has zero poultry-related interests.

Text replacement

iPhones have a feature intended to help enhance typing speed that can easily be hijacked in the name of a laugh. Text replacement, while meant to automatically fix quick errors — like when you write “hte” instead of “the” — can also be used to automatically replace “good morning,” with “CAN I GET FRIES WITH THAT?” every single time. Here are instructions on how to do it. (You’ll need physical phone access for it, so it’s only good for those you’re quarantining with.)


Is there a more perennial hoax than the fart? For those who have a whoopee cushion on hand or are skilled at the hand-in-the-armpit trick, this one is easy to do the good, old fashioned way. For everyone else, there’s a farting app.

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