What is an April Fools Challenge? (Don’t Be Fooled!)

As a teacher, I was used to kids coming in on April Fool’s Day with fake vomit or poo (like these on Amazon), perfect for playing pranks. After all, it’s April Fool’s Day, so they can’t get in trouble, in their minds, that is. So what’s meant by an April Fools Challenge? Is it the same thing or something different?

An April Fools Challenge is connected to social media platforms like TikTok or Instagram. It’s when a contest, or expectation, goes viral or gets popular, with famous and regular folk posting videos or pictures fulfilling it. This one of course must be done on April 1st, April Fool’s Day.

The April Fool’s Day custom has a long history, with most people agreeing that the origins trace back hundreds of years. However, to the chagrin of parents and teachers everywhere, the onset of technology has created a twist on this tradition, making it all the more chaotic.

Let’s look at this new twist on April Fool’s Day (April Fools Challenge) and some ways for accepting it, as well as how this holiday and challenge relate to kids in general.


What Exactly is the April Fool’s Challenge?

So what is meant by ‘April Fools Challenge’?

There are individual April Fool’s Day challenges about playing pranks on others, and then there’s the April Fools Challenge that is actually about video games instead. What they have in common is that they are related to April 1st traditions involving humor, particularly prankster-style.

Examples of the original April Fool’s challenges include whoopee cushions, fake spiders, silly signs on backs, shaving a ridiculous mustache, or dressing up in a funny costume.

Some silly pranks kids seem to enjoy (besides the ones involving fake poo) are toothpaste switches; false alarm clocks ringing; and fake cell phone cracks. Silly pranks parents like to play on kids most often involve school like getting your kids up on a Saturday and pretending it’s a school day. Or parents switching roles or acting extra goofy and pretending everything’s normal.

However, the recent April Fools Challenge that went viral on the internet wasn’t like these typical April 1st jokes. This Challenge with a capital C was about video games. In particular one about ‘Isaac’ had things happen random, things that were supposed to work a certain way didn’t, and roles were mixed up. It made the game quite ‘challenging’ as for the difficulty level and not really knowing what to expect.

The more recent April Fools Challenges have to do with video games and computer games, like Forza Horizon 3 and The Binding of Isaac: AFTERBIRTH+.

There are some other viral ‘Challenges’ too that happened on April 1st. Most of these have something to do with technology and posting your results. Sometimes it involves team work, family togetherness, or physical fitness.

Completing a challenge for April 1st can be a simple or difficult as you want. You just have to come up with a creative idea that works with your personality.

For families, you want to do something that’s pertinent to you. What ‘pranks’ one family may not be a prank at all for another family, so in some ways, you’ll want to personalize it rather than just copy something you see someone else do.

If you struggle with coming up with a challenge, you can find a lot of simple and easy-to-follow instructions on many blogs and YouTube videos.

The key thing about an April Fool’s Day ‘challenge’ or Challenge is humor. Whether you’re doing an offline or online challenge, it’s supposed to be funny.

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How Can I Participate In An April Fools Day Challenge?

One April Fools Challenge that occurred a few years back was about lying to people.

April Fools challenges are easy to join, but require some effort from you to investigate or get the materials you need. If you want to do the April Fools (video game) Challenge, you should have some familiarity with the game or games like it. Otherwise the humor will be lost on you.

There are lots of sites where you can search for April Fools challenges, so basic internet/computing skills are really all that’s required.

Once you’ve found the right challenge, it’s time to start preparing. If you’re participating in an online challenge, then you’ll need to make sure you have all the necessary equipment. For example, if you’re going to dress up as a clown, you’ll need clown materials like face paint, clown garb, and so on.

If you’re participating in an offline challenge, then you’ll also need to prepare yourself too, depending on the type of challenge it is. For example, if your aim is to build a full-scale model airplane, you’ll need to gather all the necessary materials.

It would help to keep in mind that most people will not take you seriously. Therefore, you must be prepared to pull off a good prank. Also, you should make good time to complete the challenge.

Ultimately your success depends on how well you selected a prank that you can ‘pull off’ and how well you selected a prank that connects with those you’re pranking!

Do All April Fool’s Day Challenges End at Noon? 

For an April Fool’s Day prank or challenge to be successful, you also need to ensure it’s seen as an ‘April Fool’s Day’ joke. If not, it could just be considered mean or rude or un-funny.

This is why there is a sort of ‘code’ for April Fool’s Day pranks and jokes. For instance, they shouldn’t be the day before or after (that is, unless you live in Scotland where it’s custom to play jokes on April 1st AND 2nd!).

Also, they should be somewhat outlandish. Telling someone something that could very reasonably be true but is actually not true, isn’t very funny. It’s more just like telling a lie.

So, one unwritten rule of April Fool’s Day is that jokes and pranks should be met by noon. But with the advent of technology and new ‘Challenges’ for April 1st, this has been blurred some.

While 12 pm is typically the deadline for April Fool pranks around the globe, this isn’t necessarily meant for April Fools Challenges. Many Challenges are expected to last all day, or may take the whole day to be fulfilled. Some go into the evening, but many extend all the way til midnight.

One note, though, is that if a prize is connected to the ‘challenge’ then there usually is some concrete time limit in order to make judging equitable and fair.

Why Do People Celebrate April Fool’s Day?

With all the nuisance and misunderstandings that can happen, what is it that makes April Fool’s Day still appealing? Why hasn’t it been shunned or even outlawed?

Many people still celebrate April Fool’s Day because it’s fun, easy, and low cost to do. It also appeals because it gives permission to play a prank without too many repercussions. And this holiday tradition naturally connects with those who are playful and enjoy joking around.

Since many people are under a lot of day-to-day stress, work long hours, and/or work very serious jobs, April Fool’s Day provides time to let loose and have some fun, whether with friends, family, or even strangers.

Celebrating April Fool’s Day can actually be therapeutic and cathartic for some.

However, it’s important to remember that April Fool’s Day pranks are meant to be a harmless and fun. And unfortunately there have been times when people took the prank too far or used it as an excuse to bully or be mean. This is anti-April Fool’s Day and is inappropriate.

Do all April Fools Challenges come with prizes? 

No matter what type of April Fool’s Challenge/challenge you choose, you shouldn’t always expect a prize. However, there definitely are prizes connected to some Challenges. Just be clear about the challenge/Challenge if a prize is your motivation.

Clearly, the original ‘prize’ of April Fool’s Day challenges is to make someone laugh. April Fool’s Day pranks were meant to provide a ‘gotcha’ moment, which elicits laughter and joy, not money or some item.

There are some companies that offer cash and/or other prizes to winners of their particular April Fool’s challenge. If you opt to try one of those, read the small print so that the joke’s not on you in the end!

To be sure, though, it isn’t common practice to offer prizes for April Fool’s! And if so, that itself could be an April Fool’s prank to fool you!

There are some companies that give away promotional items as prizes for fulfilling an April prank, like t-shirts or stickers.

The true prize, of course, is completing the prank and it being successful! This means you were able to accomplish the task, which typically for this day means playing a joke on someone.

Is it okay for kids to do an April Fools Challenge?

Like I mentioned at the start of this article, I came to expect student participation in April Fool’s jokes and pranks. And since I know that studies show a good teacher-student relationship promotes learning, I indulged (to a degree) these pranks, and even pulled some of my own, in the spirit of fostering classroom community.

I must confess it is especially fun to ‘get students’ in a good-natured way, and to have it be appropriate actually since it’s on April Fool’s Day!

As to whether or not it’s okay for kids to do April Fools Challenges or pranks, it’s really up to the discretion of parents and teachers, and the individual kids. In general, pranks should be harmless, free or inexpensive, not too time-consuming, and age-appropriate.

Pranks can be fun for them to do and completing challenges can be a good motivation for kids, teaching them about problem solving, goal-setting, and appropriate humor.

All in all, it can be quite healthy for kids to do April Fools ‘challenges’.

Is it okay for parents and teachers to play April Fool’s pranks on kids?

It’s okay for parents and teachers to play pranks on kids for April Fool’s Day. However, it’s important to consider the child and his/her ability to understand humor. As well, the pranks shouldn’t be harmful or mean, or take up too much time. And most vital, pranks should be age-appropriate.

As a teacher, I often played April Fool’s Day pranks come April 1st. However, I don’t ever remember singling out a particular child for a prank. The typical pranks from teachers involve the whole class, such as assigning an exorbitant amount of homework, or pretending to switch classrooms with another teacher.

Usually it didn’t take long for one or two kids to ‘get it’ and call out, ‘it’s April Fool’s Day!’ and then the rest of the students would realize the homework, for instance, is a joke.

It would not be appropriate to do something mean (mean as far as kids are concerned) and then should ‘April Fool’s!’ For example, if I said I’m dying as a joke, that’s not funny. Or if I berated a child, and then said, ‘April Fool’s!’ that wouldn’t be funny at all.

So as teachers or parents/grandparents, we need to keep in mind how funny the joke actually is, and evaluate if it’s appropriate…before doing it.

Why Do Companies Play April Fool Jokes On Their Customers?

Ever since the first major companies decided to do April Fool’s Day pranks, it’s really become an expectation from big players like Google and Nike.

Some companies like Google and Nike like to play an April Fool’s Day joke on their customers on this day. Nike pulled off a prank on April 1, 2006, when they announced they were releasing a new shoe called the Nike+ Air-Sole. This mythical shoe was designed to track the wearer’s distance run, speed, and calories burned on a computer.

Companies and businesses like to get in on April Fool’s Day pranks and or create their own April Fools Challenge as a promotional event. The bigger the prank or challenge, generally, the more hype and excitement they create surrounding their product.

Regarding the Nike prank shoe, Nike was flooded with emails for this shoe, but of course the company revealed the shoe was fake. When this happens, there’s potential for backlash that can actually cost the business, ‘business’, so there’s a fine line to walk!

For example, a company might release a video game that has no real gameplay. Or they may announce that they’re going to sell a certain item for free. These types of jokes help companies attract attention from potential customers, but it can backfire and create negative attention instead.

Can I Start My Own April Fools Challenge?

Yes! There are plenty of opportunities to start your own April Fools Challenge. For instance, you can create a Facebook page dedicated to your specific challenge. You can also post videos on YouTube about your challenge.

In addition, you can create a website where you can share information about your challenge. This way, you’ll be able to promote your challenge to as many people as possible. 

You should make sure to include a link back to your site, or social media account for people who wish to try your challenge. 

It is also possible to create a challenge that doesn’t exist as just an April Fool’s Day prank, too, of course. You just do all the same things mentioned, but tie it in to a different holiday or special event like a St. Patrick’s Day Challenge or Summer Challenge.

When I was still teaching, I was in charge of our school’s fitness challenges. Several times a year, I sent out information about healthy habits from exercise to nutrition to mental health and tasks to complete the related ‘challenge.’ Those who fulfilled the requirements earned small gifts, and there were some special giveaways as a lottery to a select few.

And if you want to create a challenge but keep it low-key, you can just involve your family, friends, and/or co-workers minus all the internet set-up.

Wrapping Up April Fool’s Challenge

To wrap it all up, there are two kinds of April Fool’s Day ‘challenges’ most people mean: the traditional kind of challenges you set up for yourself related to pranks and jokes; and the recent ones related to completing tasks on a video game “April Fools Challenge”.

Ultimately, you decide what you mean when you refer to these challenges related to April Fool’s Day.

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