7 April Fools' Day pranks you should never play on anyone

April Fools’ are meant to be lighthearted, but these definitely aren’t

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April Fools’ Day is just around the corner, and while the day is all about pulling pranks, telling jokes and making people laugh there are some topics that just shouldn’t be joked about. April Fools’ is intended to be lighthearted - and both the joker and the person they have pranked are supposed to be able to find humour in the joke. But, while some jokes may go a bit too far there are others which are just harmful.

Here are seven things you should never joke about, whether it’s April Fools’ Day or not.

What April Fools’ Day pranks should you never do?

Fake pregnancy

Whether it’s drawing a line (or two) on a pregnancy test, or posting an image online of a fake baby scan or baby bump, pretending to be pregnant when you’re not is not okay. If you’re showing a fake test to a partner to wind them up then the result could be one of extreme panic or joy - either way, having to then tell them it’s not true is likely to cause serious problems in your relationship. If you’re posting something on social media to troll your friends into thinking you’re expecting then this could cause emotional harm for them too, especially as you never know if someone is going through their own struggles surrounding children and fertility. Around one in seven couples may have difficulty conceiving, according to NHS figures.

Fake present

This is one that is just cruel. If someone thinks they are getting a present, particularly if it’s something they have wanted for a while, then they will feel very special and cared for. To then reveal that actually, they’ve just got a nicely wrapped empty box, for example, isn’t funny and is likely to leave them feeling very upset and even unloved or unworthy.

Seven things you should never joke about on April Fools' Day, or any other day.Seven things you should never joke about on April Fools' Day, or any other day.
Seven things you should never joke about on April Fools' Day, or any other day.

Fake death or illness

This is probably the most extreme prank. Faking someone’s death or pretending you have an illness isn’t funny, it’s also emotionally manipulative. You may want someone’s care or attention, but this is not the way to do it. The person on the receiving end will be left feeling extremely confused and drained, and they’re highly unlikely to ever trust you again. Also, if you’re bringing another person into it by telling other people that they have passed away then it’s highly disrespectful to them and you are likely to cause their loved ones a huge amount of distress. 

Fake proposal

If you’re thinking about pretending to pop the question to your partner then think again, it’s a very mean thing to do. This could be anything from pretending to get  down on one knee and leading them into thinking that’s what you’re going to do - only to do other things instead such as tying your shoelace. Or telling them you have a “really important” question to ask them or taking them to a particularly romantic spot. Just don’t do it. Getting engaged is one of life's biggest milestones, and if your partner would like to marry you and then realise you’re not actually going to ask them it will cause a lot of pain. It may even lead them to question the entire future of your relationship.

Fake crime

This could mean multiple things, but you should never try to convince someone that they are responsible for an illegal act. Illusionist Derren Brown came under criticism six years ago for using his powers to trick someone into believing they were responsible for a murder. We know this is an extreme example, and of course most of us don’t possess the same talents as Brown, but telling someone they’ve done something bad when they haven’t is an awful thing to do and is likely to cause them a lot of anguish.

Fake feelings

Pretending to have feelings for someone you don’t is a terrible thing to do. You shouldn’t lead someone on and make them believe you care for them if you don’t. It’s not a joke to ask someone out. On the other side of the spectrum, it’s also not funny to tell someone you do have romantic feelings for that you no longer care for them or want to be with them.

Fake food

This could apply to any manner of things, but making food to give to someone that isn’t quite what it appears isn’t a good idea. If you put a hidden ingredient in something, for example, then you might accidentally be giving someone something that they are allergic to. Even if they’re not allergic, if you give them something that doesn’t taste very nice then that’s just really unpleasant. We’ve all had this misfortune of eating something that tastes foul, and we all know it’s not a very nice experience, so why do that to someone on purpose?

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