You found our guide to celebrating April Fools Day at work.
April Fools Day is on April 1st, and is a holiday that celebrates practical jokes and laughter. People usually observe the occasion by playing pranks on friends, family, and coworkers. The goal of workplace April Fools Day activities is to have fun and create inside jokes without harming or offending colleagues.
This holiday is similar to National Fun at Work Day and is an employee morale booster.
This article contains:
- April Fools Day ideas for work
- Harmless pranks for work
- April Fools jokes for work
- April Fools rules for work
Here we go!
April Fools Day ideas for work
From contests to games to gifts, here is a list of tips to host a fun April Fools Day in your office.
1. Comedy Workshop
Comedy Workshops are virtual events that teach teams how to craft hilarious, well-timed jokes. A stand-up comedian leads the sessions, sharing the tricks of the trade. For ninety minutes, colleagues discuss and dissect some of the greatest jokes in history before writing brand new material. The workshop concludes with a short open-mic style comedy set where each participant shares their witty one-liners. Comedy Workshops provide a way to strengthen group bonds while building up a comedy repertoire.
Learn more about Comedy Workshop.
2. Prank or Not?
Prank or Not? is one of the funnier April Fools Day games. Participants present stories of outlandish practical jokes, and the other players must decide whether the example is a real stunt from the news, or just a tall tale.
We made some starter questions you can use for your game.
For more fun challenges, check out our list of online games for virtual teams and this one with icebreaker games for groups.
3. April Fools Day Icebreakers
Icebreakers are one of the easiest ways to celebrate April Fools Day at work. Simply start your meetings with a holiday-themed prompt, and give teammates time to discuss.
Here are some starter April Fools Day Icebreakers:
- What is the best prank you ever pulled off?
- What is the best prank that was ever pulled on you?
- Which celebrity would you most like to prank or be pranked by?
- What is the worst prank you could imagine?
- If you had unlimited budget, what prank would you pull?
- What is the best joke you know?
- When did you laugh the hardest?
- What is something that made you laugh recently?
- What is the silliest thing you’ve seen your child or pet do?
- What is the dumbest thing you’ve ever heard someone say?
- What is the most embarrassing story you are willing to share?
- Share the funniest photo you have on your phone.
- Share a short funny video.
- Make a funny face
- Laugh obnoxiously
- Show us your silliest dance move
For more conversation starters, check out our full list of fun icebreaker questions.
4. Humor Hunt
Humor Hunt is a way to keep track of April Fools Day jokes from around the web. The purpose of this activity is for teammates to share amusing stories and stunts with each other. Simply start a Slack channel or thread devoted to funny April Fools Day news, and encourage team members to contribute fun snippets they stumble upon. Employees can also share their own April Fools Day mischief. Other channel members can react to the posts with emojis, comments, and gifts. At the end of the day, ask the staff to vote on their favorite post, and award the contributor with a prize like an Amazon gift card.
Here is a list of Slack Apps that may help.
5. Costume Contest
April Fools Day is an opportunity to wear ridiculous outfits. You can encourage your team to put funny fashion on display by hosting an April Fools Day costume contest.
First, decide the theme of the contest, such as witty T-shirts, full costumes, funny hats, mismatched clothing, or asinine accessories. Then, have teammates upload submissions to a social media page, Slack thread, or shared online photo album. Finally, ask employees to vote on their favorite entries, count up the results, and name a winner!
For more tips, check out our guide to virtual costume contests.
6. Trick or Treat
April Fools Trick or Treat is a play on Russian roulette. Periodically throughout the day, the gamemaster asks, “trick or treat?” and chooses 3 to 5 volunteers each round. The volunteers either receive a pleasant surprise, such as a Starbucks gift card or permission to leave an hour early, or a playful punishment, such as having to serenade their team with “Cotton Eyed Joe.”
To incentivize folks to participate, you can announce that one of the rewards will be a bigger prize. Swear the winner to secrecy until the end of the day so that players do not stop volunteering once the main prize has been claimed.
Check out our list with more virtual Halloween themed activities.
7. Funny Photo Contest
The saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. By that logic, a funny picture is worth a thousand laughs. Sharing funny photos with colleagues is a quick way to spread the April Fools Day spirit in the office.
Simply start a Slack thread or email chain and ask colleagues to reply with funny pictures. In fact, you can host a photo contest, and ask teammates to nominate their favorite submissions in each category.
Here are sample April Fools Day photo contest categories:
- Best altered photo.
- Brought to you by alcohol
- Embarrassing childhood photos
- Awkward family photos
- Terrible outfits
- Seen in the wild
- Homemade gone wrong
- Unphotogenic models
We recommend allowing one entry per category and unlimited votes.
The activity is more fun when contestants submit original photos. However, you can allow participants to send pictures they find online, as long as the pics are only used internally and not republished without permission.
You may want to set ground rules to ensure photo submissions are good-humored and not mean-spirited.
Here are more fun games to play on Slack.
8. Goodie Boxes
Handing out humor-themed goodie boxes equips employees with prank supplies and amusing toys for April Fools.
What to include:
- Silly string
- Candy and snacks
- Fake mustaches
- Novelty glasses
- Plastic bugs and spiders
- Water guns
- Funny books
You can also include gag gifts, like stegosaurus-shaped taco holders or boxes for imaginary products.
If your team is remote, then mail packages to your employees’ houses. Goodie boxes are an example of a virtual employee engagement idea.
9. This Tastes Funny
There are two ways to play This Tastes Funny.
Version 1- Mystery Box:
- Give teammates boxes full of strange food products like pickle-flavored soda, candy-flavored mac and cheese, and watermelon cookies.
- If any dishes require preparations, have participants cook before the event or at the start of the session.
- Join a video call or gathering in a meeting room.
- Try the strange foods together.
- Vote on the best and worst snacks of the bunch.
You can also run this version of the game as a pot-luck, and ask each teammate to either bring or suggest a strange item.
Version 2- BYOB: Bring Your Own Box
- Give team members a list of ingredients or products to buy.
- Cook unusual recipes in the break room kitchen or on a video call.
- Try the foods together.
- Discuss and rank the dishes.
If playing remotely, then you could also challenge contestants to whip up dishes from whatever ingredients they have lying around the house, then vote on a winner based on perceived palatability, appearance, and convincingness of the cook.
Whichever approach you choose, be sure to snap plenty of pictures of your teams’ reactions!
For more inspiration, check out our list of online cooking classes for groups.
10. Two Truths and a Lie
Two Truths and a Lie is a team building game that challenges players to find the falsehood. Each participant makes three statements, two facts and one fiction. Other players must decide which declaration is a fabrication. The game reveals unlikely facts about teammates, not to mention which colleagues pull off the best poker faces.
Players can either speak the statements in realtime, or write down their truths and lies and ask teammates to vote. For example, TeamBuilding uses Two Truths and a Lie as part of our company directory. Each employee uploads a photo, job description, and three declarations onto a Trello card, and coworkers must decide which statements are untrue.
Check out our full list of fun question games.
11. Lip Dub
Lip Dubs are music videos where participants lip-synch to famous songs. These routines typically involve costumes, choreography, and comedy.
You and your crew can film your own lip dub video in honor of April Fools Day. First, pick a song. Then, assign each employee or department a portion of the song to act out. Filming a final scene altogether is a nice way to end, though not necessary. Each team or employee will record and send their portion of the video, and then one staff member will edit the clips into a final cut. Dispersed teams can also record segments together on Zoom.
The point of the exercise is to have fun, so the final product does not need to look professionally done. Beyond the entertainment factor, lip dubs can boost your group’s teamwork skills and creativity.
Lip dubs are also an example of a virtual team building activity.
12. White Elephant Exchanges
White elephant exchanges are a type of gift swap usually reserved for Christmas parties. However, giving silly gifts is a perfect April Fools activity.
To host your exchange:
- Collect signups
- Instruct gift-givers to buy strange and silly presents
- Mark each gift with a number
- Take turns pulling numbers from a hat
- Unwrap gifts
Traditionally, players unwrap gifts one by one, and can choose to steal a present from another player instead of opening a new one.
These games are tricky to do remotely. However, there are ways you can play white elephant in remote offices too!
For official rules and gift suggestions, check out our guide to virtual white elephant exchanges.
Harmless pranks for work
The internet is full of lists of office pranks like gift-wrapping desks, covering mouse motion sensors, and swapping out desktop wallpaper. However, there are few practical joke ideas for virtual offices. Here is a list of pranks for remote offices and in-person offices alike.
13. Zoom background
One of the most obvious pranks to pull on your coworkers is to change your Zoom background to a ridiculous picture.
Here are some examples:
- Famous picture or movie scene with the meeting participant replacing one of the characters
- Running from zombies, dinosaurs, or lions
- Silly photo of a colleague like a baby picture, Halloween costume, or meeting screenshot
- The team photoshopped into a famous group like the Avengers or Friends
- Normal room backdrop flipped upside down
- Where’s Stripey Guy illustration
The tech savvy members of your group could rig up more elaborate setups, such as funny filters or video backgrounds. Or, for an old-school approach, use no background, but ask a friend or family member to walk past in a ridiculous costume.
13. Misquoted email signature
Many folks include quotes from famous figures in email signatures. One sneaky prank to play on your officemates is to purposely misattribute the quote in your signature, and see who notices.
You could take a subtle approach, for instance, by swapping out MLK for Gandhi. Or, opt for blatant plagiarism or absurdism, by attributing a Stevie Nicks quote to Neitzche, or signing off, “Don’t believe every quote on the internet — Abraham Lincoln.”
Just be sure to tweak your email settings so that the joke signature is only visible to coworkers and not to clients.
For material, check out our list of inspirational work quotes or quotes by presidents.
14. Joke meeting invites
If you work in a department that holds many virtual meetings, then sending joke invites is a perfect prank. Simply send teammates calendar events with ridiculous names.
Here are a few ideas:
- Bacteria culture committee
- Afternoon sub-zero yoga break -prop open your freezer and get ready to chill!
- Work-from-home custodian union meeting
- Naptime with the CEO
- Teleporter training
- 3-D printable ice cream social
- Brad Pitt fan club
- Let’s pretend to have a meeting so the boss doesn’t know we’re not busy
Or, give your normal meetings silly descriptions or agendas, and see which colleagues notice first. You could even conspire with personal assistants to automatically add joke meetings to a coworker’s calendar.
15. Slack aliases
One of the easiest pranks for virtual offices is to update names in Slack.
Here are some suggestions:
- Childhood nicknames
- Superhero or supervillain alter-egos
- Movie characters
- Characters from fantasy novels
- Celebrity lookalikes
- Musician or band names
Feel free to get creative in your Slack names and try out other wacky categories.
To avoid confusing coworkers who need to communicate about work, we recommend keeping display names the same so that the @mention command still works. You may want to ask participants to also keep identifiable photos, so that you can tell teammates apart.
16. Website Easter Eggs
Website Easter eggs are a popular corporate April Fools’ Day joke. Developers and content managers often hide extra features for visitors to uncover. Examples include the Google results spinning upside down if you search for “do a barrel roll,” or a basket of Easter eggs appearing when you click on an image in the Wikipedia entry for Easter egg.
Your Easter eggs do not have to be highly technical or require extensive programming. You can create a pop-up ad to deliver jokes, photoshop wild animals into a company photo, or hide joke copy on one of your obscure website sections. Then, you could even give a prize to the first client or employee who discovers the joke and emails you about it.
17. Teammate emojis
One funny joke to play on remote colleagues is to make personalized emojis. First, follow this Slack tutorial to create your graphic. You can use your coworker’s company directory picture, or use a funny photo, such as your colleague dressed as chicken. Then, conspire with colleagues to use the emoji in a team Slack channel. For a more elaborate prank, make several emojis of the teammate and use them periodically throughout the day.
18. Pig Latin
Remote work requires a great deal of written communication. To mess with coworkers, write messages and memos in Pig Latin.
Pig Latin is a made-up language. To speak it, move the first letter of a word to the end of the word and ad “ay.” If the word starts with a vowel, then simply add “ay” to the end.
For example, “Can you send me that email around noon today?” becomes “an-cay ou-yay end-say e-may at-thay email-ay around-ay oon-nay oday-tay?”
If you are tech savvy, then you can upload an open source Pig Latin bot to automatically translate messages. Otherwise, we recommend copy and pasting common Pig Latin phrases into a text shortcut app to help you send messages quickly.
19. Broken keyboard
You can jokingly tell colleagues one letter of your keyboard is broken, and either write out messages without that letter, or add extraneous letters throughout the day.
For instance: “cn you send tht emil round noon tody?” or “Cannnnnnnnnn you sennnnnnnnd that email arounnnnnnnnd nnnnnoonnnnnn today?”
For fun, experiment with how many extra letters you can add to the message before a teammate suspects mischief.
20. Prank newsletter or email
Many companies send regular internal emails. To honor April Fools’ Day, fill your company newsletter or email with ridiculous claims and content. For instance, announce that your organization has built an impossible invention, named a golden retriever as the new company president, or instituted a new rule where all employees must sign off emails with a cat GIF. You could even collect bogus announcements from staff members, like “Fernando has been chosen to man a mission to Mars!” or “Philomena in accounting is thrilled to announce her engagement to the Prince of Atlantis.” To generate content, send staff a Google Form and ask for submission. Or, you can write your own snippets, just be sure any mentioned teammates are in on the joke.
April Fools jokes for work
Here is a list of work appropriate jokes to tell to coworkers on April Fools Day.
- Two muffins are in an oven. One turns to the other and says, “boy, sure is hot in here.” The other muffin screams, “aahhhh! A talking muffin!”
- My daughter told me she wants to be a secret agent. Based on that alone, I don’t think she’d be a good secret agent.
- What do you call a dog that can do magic tricks? A labracadabrador.
- Why did the scarecrow get promoted? Because he was out standing in his field!
- I went for an interview for an office job today. The interviewer told me I’d start on $2,000 a month and then after 6 months I’d be on $2,500 a month. I told them I’d start in 6 months.
- I quit my job at the helium gas factory. I refused to be talked to in that tone of voice!
- What does a mathematician say when something goes wrong? Figures!
- How does NASA organize a party? They planet.
- What days are the strongest? Saturday and Sunday. The rest are weak-days.
- I gave up my seat to a blind person on the bus. And that’s how I lost my job as a bus driver.
- I heard they are going to fire the employee with the worst posture. I have a hunch, it might be me.
- What’s a werewolf’s favorite food? Werewolves aren’t real.
- When does a joke become a “dad” joke? When the punchline is apparent.
- What’s the difference between a poorly dressed man on a unicycle and a well-dressed man on a bicycle? Attire
- A horse walks into a bar. The bartender says, “Hey!” The horse replies, “Sure.”
- What do you call a pile of kittens? A meowntain.
- What kind of building has the most stories? A library.
- You know why you never see elephants hiding up in trees? Because they’re really good at it.
- Why is Peter Pan always flying? Because he Neverlands. (I love this joke because it never grows old.)
- What kind of shoes does a spy wear? Sneakers.
- George Clooney, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Matthew McConaughey get together to make a movie. Clooney says, “I’ll direct.” DiCaprio says, “I’ll act.” McConaughey says, “I’ll write, I’ll write, I’ll write.”
For more inspiration, check out our lists of team building jokes and icebreaker jokes.
April Fools rules for work
Work April Fools Day jokes should end in laughter, not in an uncomfortable conversation with HR. Here is good advice to keep in mind when planning work mischief for April 1st.
1. Steer clear of serious subjects
There is a fine line between funny and offensive. Even on April Fools Day, some subjects are off-limits. Joking about inappropriate matters can make colleagues upset and uncomfortable. Death, injury, and illness are specific examples. You should not fake an accident or announce a made-up misfortune, as this false news can cause real concern and anxiety. Termination and discipline are another touchy topic. Do not pretend to quit or fire a team member. Also, you should steer clear of claims of harassment or rumors of romance
A good rule of thumb to follow is that if the subject matter would involve HR if it were true, it is better not to joke about it.
2. Avoid harmful or damaging pranks
Jokes cross the line when they involve bodily harm, damage to property, or extreme emotional discomfort. Although the pranksters might have had playful intentions, the results can be disastrous.
At all costs, avoid stunts that cause or have the potential to cause lasting physical, psychological, or financial harm. For example, breaking a piece of office equipment, embarrassing a colleague or harming their reputation, or sending a worker to the hospital. Be sure to think through all possible consequences and avoid stunts that may go awry.
3. Have participants opt-in beforehand
Not everybody enjoys April Fool’s Day. Even innocuous pranks may upset coworkers who prefer not to join the festivities. Most folks use their best judgment and only target colleagues that they know will appreciate the joke. However, another approach is to have employees opt-in to April Fools activities. You can ask employees to specify whether or not they are open to getting pranked. For instance, willing participants can place a symbol next to their names on Slack or wear a special badge to the office. Knowing who is down to clown helps pranksters target only good sports and prevents unpleasant reactions.
4. When in doubt, run your idea past your manager first
If you believe that pulling a prank might get you into trouble, but are not sure, then consulting a manager is the best bet. Organizational leaders can advise whether the stunt is harmless fun or crosses a line. Cool bosses may even offer to play a part in the prank. If you follow company rules and policies and use professional judgement, then you should be able to pick a work-friendly April Fools prank. Nevertheless, getting a second opinion helps. If you cannot find a manager or HR officer to consult, then ask a trusted coworker to weigh in on the plan.
Setting ground rules, taking precautions, and sticking to clean humor does not remove the fun from April Fools Day. In fact, a mindful and sensitive approach ensures that more employees can enjoy the occasion. Consideration and common sense prevent jokes from going too far, which means fewer headaches for HR. Work friendly April Fools Day ideas are a team bonding opportunity. Coworkers get to laugh and relax together, relieving stress and tension and growing closer to colleagues in the process.
For other occasions to celebrate in spring, check out our guide to Easter team building activities and virtual Easter party ideas.
We also have a list of the best virtual comedy shows.