Nobody in my family likes to be the butt of a joke, so we keep it light on April Fools Day. In fact, we rarely prank each other. When there’s a sensitive child involved, even good-natured hijinks are as likely to cause tears as laughter. So I tread lightly. That said, have four family-friendly April Fools tricks up my sleeve. Well, three, but the fourth one was funny enough for me to include with a warning.
Four Family Friendly April Fools Pranks
Grape Candy Eggs
If you’ve got a sweet tooth, this one is for you. Buy a bunch of grapes and a bag or two of discounted Easter Candy that contains individually wrapped egg-shaped candies.
These will usually be chocolates.
Eat the chocolates, carefully saving the foil wrappers.
Rinse and dry the grapes and then wrap each grape up in foil.
Place the candy back in the bag and offer to your kids. Even better, if you maintain a sort-of-but-not-really-secret candy stash for yourself, leave the grape candies there. You might not be there to witness their reactions, but it may teach them not to sneak your chocolate.
Although it’s both a trick and a treat (grapes, yum!), if you attempt this on Halloween with the neighborhood kids, the police might show up on your doorstep.
The Big Tiny Breakfast
You can go big for breakfast or you can start out your family’s day with a small meal. A really small meal.
To go big all you need is a can of peach halves and vanilla yogurt to set up what looks like a ginormous sunny side up egg. Spread a layer of yogurt on a large plate and place the peach half open side down in the middle. From a distance, it looks very convincing.
Alas, it’s not a giant egg, but toss in a bit of granola and you have a nice breakfast. If your kids are young enough, spin them a yarn about the ostrich or dragon that left the egg behind in your yard last night.
Going small requires a bit more planning and access to a market that carries specialty foods. Three ideal pieces of a tiny breakfast are a kumquat (looks like a tiny orange), quail egg (hard-boiled or sunny side up), cocktail bread or other tiny toast that might be used for hors d’oevres. A tiny hors d’oevres fork and dainty espresso cup complete the look.
Tell your child she must have grown a lot the previous night because suddenly everything else seems so very small compared to her.
The Cookie Caper
Admittedly, the one ruffled a few feathers in my house last year, but everyone, each member of my family, fell for it without me even trying to hook them in.
Buy a sleeve of Oreo or other cream-filled sandwich cookies. Carefully remove the cookies, taking care to maintain the packaging. Separate the cookie tops and bottoms, scraping out the cream. Any broken cookies must be eaten immediately so as not to blow your cover.
Substitute the cream with a nickel-sized dollop of toothpaste (not gel). Replace the top, gently smooshing around the filling so that it looks like a cookie.
We don’t keep a lot of sweets like this around the house. So I knew if I offered the cookies to my boys, they’d sense something was up. Instead, I left a small opened pack of Oreos on the counter with a few removed, okay, eaten. The pack contained a mix of altered cookies and untouched ones. The cookies definitely gave off a minty scent, but you know, Oreos come in all sorts of crazy flavors these days.
Sure enough, within minutes of returning home from school, one of my intended targets spotted the cookies. Before I had a chance to blow my cover, he bit into a cookie. As he started to chew, he made a face and I dissolved in laughter. He spit out the cookie. After I’d calmed his fear of dying from excessive fluoride exposure, he began plotting an attempt to trick his brother. Because that’s how we show love in my family.
Indeed the sibling fell for it a few hours later. But the real joy of our day came when my husband, who eschews sweets and highly processed foods and especially avoids highly processed sweets, unexpectedly grabbed the remaining cookie for dessert. We all got a good laugh out of that. Totally worth damaging the trusting relationships I’ve fostered all of these years.