April Fool’s Pranks: The Backfires

Meghan Tuzzolino, Columnist

April 1st has come and gone, but the aftermath of April Fool’s pranks still lingers, no matter the intentions. Although pranks can be funny and clever, most ideas have a tendency to end extremely poorly for the victims. According to The New York Times, nearly 500 April Fool’s pranks end in something more than a funny reaction. Some of the most recent cases include people breaking bones, developing salmonella, paying thousands of dollars in lawsuits, and much more.

One of the most famous pranks that backfired was on the larger side of things. In 1996, Taco Bell declared they would be purchasing the Liberty Bell in hopes of getting a good laugh out of customers for April Fool’s. They couldn’t have been more wrong. Instead of a light-hearted joke, many politicians began an online rage, calling it an “embarrassment to American history,” states The Washington Post. The prank ultimately ended in Taco Bell paying $600,000 to the state of Pennsylvania, claims PhillyVoice, and went down as one of the best prank backfires in history.

Just because it happened on a political level does not make the backfire any worse than what has occured recently. The recent prank popularity on the internet and social media has influenced many pranksters’ elaborate tricks. One of the more recent instances includes a “oil floor slip prank” that occured in Texas. The young 15-year-old boy who pulled the prank said that he was inspired by Youtuber Jake Paul and thought he would try the prank himself. And although he did not mean for his 79-year-old grandfather to be victimized, he unfortunately slipped and ended up with a fractured hip. Another prank similar to this can be seen in the “come get y’all juice” vine when a child breaks their oven glass after their mother put canola oil on the ground.

Another example of a prank gone wrong was two years ago where a 24-year-old man
“proposed” to his girlfriend of three years on the Youtube channel BookofKen. And although that seems entirely normal, little did she know the entire idea was a prank in honor of  April Fool’s Day. Therefore, when he opened the ring box, there was a piece of paper that said “April Fool’s!” Even though the prank was not meant to be done in a malicious way, the couple did end up going their separate ways.

This shows that even if a prank is well-intentioned, it can conclude harmfully. So in the end, pranks can be funny, but it is important to know how far is too over the top. Pranksters should anticipate the outcome ahead of time by knowing their victim, whether that outcome be funny or dangerous, to make sure it doesn’t end in dire consequences.