Epic April Fool’s Day Pranks

Chances are that as a kid (and maybe to this day) you pulled some pranks on April 1st    : telling your friends you were moving, replacing the filling in Oreos with toothpaste; harmless tricks befitting the holiday. But some people – and companies, and even governments agencies – have really put their all into the silly holiday.

In April 2009, the Swiss Tourism Board shot and released a video detailing the hard work of felsenputzers: their official association of cleaners who climbed the Alps every day for the sole purpose of cleaning bird droppings off the rocks to keep them looking pretty. It even came with an online quiz so people could see if they could qualify for the job.

MIT students are some of the smartest around, and in 1998 they put their abilities to mischievous use when someone hacked their official website, announcing that Walt Disney Corporation had purchased the whole university for $6.9 billion.

Speaking of purchasing prized American objects, in 1996 Taco Bell announced in six major U.S. Newspapers that they had purchased the Liberty Bell from the government, and would be renaming it the Taco Liberty Bell.

In 1950, an entire Northern California town banded together to prank any tourists and passersby on the famous Rim of the World highway; on the last night of March, they discreetly hung 50,000 oranges from the pine and cedar trees lining the road, leading drivers to do a double-take at the apparent new feat of nature.

Perhaps the best, or at least most ironic, April Fool’s Day joke was played by Professor Joseph Boskin of Boston University, who in 1983 reported to the Associated Press that the silly holiday began when the Emperor Constantine let his jester rule the Roman Empire for a day, because the jester had claimed he could it better. It took several weeks for the press to realize their April Fool’s Day story was actually an April Fool’s Day prank!


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