Aren’t you a little late to be looking this up? April Fools Day was changed from the 1st of April to the 8th of December! (You believed it for a second though, didn’t you?). With offices continuing to operate remotely, the prankster in you is probably itching to try out a few virtual April Fools Day pranks on your colleagues (and I bet that feeling is mutual!).
If you’ve watched Brooklyn 99, you’d know just how competitive the precinct gets by the pranks they try to pull on one another.
In this post, we’ll list a few virtual April Fools Day pranks that will make everyone facepalm. Keep your hat on!
1. What is Virtual April Fools Day?
Virtual April Fools day is a remote celebration of a day that people spend pranking or hoaxing their friends, coworkers and family! There are several accounts of how April 1st came to be. The most notable one is the tale of the clever fox and the rooster in Chaucer’s Canterbury tales. In 1561, Flemish poet Eduard de Dene wrote about a lord who sent his servants on foolish errands on the first of April.
Since the people you’re intending to make fools out of are physically distanced, your choices of virtual April fools day pranks would involve trying your best to convince someone that something fictional or fake is real, and see if they take the bait.
2. Best Virtual April Fools Pranks in 2022
2.1 The fictitious promotion
Compose a group message to your coworkers about this big and highly unexpected promotion that the bosses greenlit for you. Make up the title and department and tell them you’ll be heading it. Add further shock by telling your coworkers that they’re all going to be reporting to you and that they’ll be expected to get you your coffee, run errands, babysit or pet sit for you. Even mow your lawn on the weekends!
As they fire their indignation at you, remind them to read till the end where you’ll tell them all of the above is just a hoax and that they’ve been played!
2.2 Accidental-on-purpose reveal
Share the wrong screen on a group call on any video conference platform. Create a folder named “Audition Tapes” or “ Circus Juggling Application Form” beforehand, which is the screen you intend that everyone sees. Since it’ll pique interest, it is quite likely you’ll invite questions and will be asked to open the folder by the group (so be prepared with your fake-embarrassed face!)
What happens next determines how far you can go with quarantine virtual April fool’s pranks. The video you open will play your pre-recorded film of “April Fool!” or just an empty folder whereby you innocently declare to the audience how it was a virtual April fools’ day prank all along!
2.3 Funny team name
Change your team name to something comically long and ridiculous to shock everyone first thing after they log in. Here are a few examples to make your teammates’ mouths fall open in surprise;
- The Committee for the Care and Rehabilitation of Ostriches
- Devotees of the Defense Against the Flying Spaghetti Monster
- X-Files Versus Stranger Things
2.4 The zoom filter
Most virtual meetings are either with both audio and video, or just audio to keep the connection stable when speakers are in discussion or presenting. The trouble with this is that it does tend to get a bit boring. So why not give your workers a start with a funny image of a cat or potato? Rachel Clegg from People for the American Way would definitely agree it’s funny, considering how a Microsoft Teams fail resulted in her boss, Ms. Ocampo turning into a potato mid-meeting.
Dan Crowd did a double take (and made his colleagues do one too) when he created a video of himself entering a room and used it as a Zoom background. If you’re up for some video editing, definitely pull this virtual April fool’s day prank on your team!
2.5 Rent a meeting goat
In a cute word play on GoTo meeting, The Sweet Farm has started a Goat-to-meeting initiative that lets attendees e-meet a live animal. It’s a virtual experience offered by this nonprofit sanctuary, offering packages that last for 30 to 60 minutes.
Tell your coworkers or managers beforehand to expect a surprise guest and then coordinate with the Sweet Farm folks for the event. You’ll need to send them a meeting invite based on the available slots. Fair warning – you may not always get the animal you’re hoping for but it’s definitely an interesting virtual april fools’ day prank to pull off at no one’s expense!
2.6 Introduce a fake colleague
Invent a colleague and provide your team with convincing details, such as
- Their name and department
- How long they’ve been with the company
- When their birthday was and how everyone pitched in for a gift.
You can even prepare a virtual trivia on this fake colleague to take the prank. Quiz your unsuspecting (and actual) colleagues on this person by getting them to recollect what project they last were seen on, or where they holidayed. It’ll be even funnier still if someone answers that they do know such a person.
2.7 The fake launch
This virtual april fool’s day prank will take considerable planning and creativity. You’ll need to create logos, messaging and even probably rope in a designer or developer to design a mockup page. Hype up the product or service that is to be launched and ask them to keep an eye on the website for the big reveal.You could also change your mail signature to hint at the launch. Depending on how far you want this joke to go, you can use Zyro to create new branding messages and a website landing page to convince remote employees to expect something new.
2.8 The mystery flavor
Those of you who self-identify as Potterheads would know of Bertie Botts’ Every Flavor Beans (as Ron told Harry on the Hogwarts Express, they really do mean every flavor). One version of this would involve
- Selecting unusual combinations of food or drink items, such as pickles and soda or caramelized watermelons.
- Ship this to your team and schedule it to arrive at their doorstep on the first of April.
- If any of the drinks or recipes require preparation, forewarn them so that they have the right utensils on hand.
- Get onto a video call on any virtual meeting platform and record everyones reactions as they sample the strangest of foods together.
- Everyone can rate the worst and best combinations.
Another version is more potluck-y and would pair employees up to make each other strange food or drinks. The sender can include a note with hints to help the recipient guess what the ingredients are. The pair that correctly guesses their mystery flavors wins!
2.9 Invent a funny chat name
Do you have a watercooler chat on any messaging platform? Why not give it a funny name or rename your colleagues with characters from your favorite series? They can also give you a name and join in on the fun of referring to each other by anything other than their actual names.
2.10 Spam fake birthday wishes
It’s NOT your colleagues birthday, they say?We insist it is! If a number of you are keen on this, you can all agree to spam a particular colleague privately on this fake birthday. This is assuming you know when his or her real birthday is! Try to hold in your laughter when they exasperatedly try clarifying that today is in fact, NOT their birthday! If they’re a good sport, you can at least tell them to look on the bright side- the real fools are the ones who believe it’s their birthday and end up sending them a gift voucher or two!
2.11 Caramelized onions
Fool your unsuspecting colleagues with a thoughtful box of caramelized apples. Only those are white onions.
2.12 Change your signature
Change your signature to something comical or strange, and compose your official letters to clients and employees alike. Those who come back to you asking you why your signature has changed will tell you that they at least read your mails thoroughly!
2.13 Prank or Fact?
This is more of a virtual icebreaker question than a virtual April fools’ day prank. Collect a set of real and made up facts and ask your team to guess which ones they think are true.
Team building has a helpful starter kit of questions which are as follows
- A zoo in China passed off a Chow Chow as a lion
- Maine is the closest U.S state to Africa.
- Virginia Woolf was one of six students who successfully impersonated the Abyssinian royal family.
2.14 Create a fake popularity contest
Announce the creation of a popularity contest and come up with different criteria per team member. For example, the marketing team’s popularity will be based on what shampoo they use, or the developer’s popularity will be based on who on the team drank the most amount of fizzy drinks in a week.
2.15 Are you saying anything right now?
The classic “I can hear you but I’ll pretend I can’t”. Go on mute when someone’s speaking in a call and intentionally mis-read or mishear what they’re saying. As they try to clarify their sentence, unmute yourself and gently tell them “Sorry, I was on Mute” before adding that it’s just a virtual April Fool’s day prank!
2.16 The disappearance
You can pull this prank off with some assistance from a friend or family member at home. Turn off your camera for a few minutes and have someone else take your place at the seat. Switch the camera back on and wait for the meeting attendees to notice that their colleague looks different! If any of you has a twin that your office does not know about, now would be the right time to introduce them to the team and have them marvel at how there’s two of you on the same screen!
2.17 Ship your enemies glitter
This is one of the most unusual virtual pranks for coworkers- with disastrously hilarious results! The company, Shipyourenemiesglitter, does exactly that. Their writeup is amusingly snarky and promises the sender some crafty revenge on someone who hasn’t had your back this week. They’ll include a note based on your reasons for sending someone glitter, and stuff the envelope full of it so that it spills everywhere upon being opened by the recipient.
As funny as the mental picture is, we advise going for this only if you know the recipient well and that the joke won’t land wrong. (perhaps offer a cleanup service as an apology?)
3.1 What are some good work-friendly April Fools Day ideas?
Do remember to keep the prank harmless and not go too far as to make someone feel humiliated in front of the others. Examples of good work-friendly April Fools Day ideas include
- Changing your title or meeting invite.
- Announcing a fake colleague.
- Guessing the prank from the fact.
- Adding an unusual zoom or Microsoft Teams background in place of your regular image.
3.2 What are some clever April Fools pranks over text?
1. Pretend not to know them when they text you.
2. Confuse them for a famous celebrity or social media influencer and keep the conversations going as if you’re texting that person rather than them!
- Ask them what is that shape behind them? (it’s going to make them whip around in terror).
- Ask them if they read the news bulletin on migratory birds landing on their lawn.
- Text them that you’ve signed them up for a Barista volunteering service where they’ll need to spend a minimum of 5 hours on the weekends serving coffee.