Top 5 Things Teachers Can Share About April Fools’ Day

April Fools’ Day  is a holiday that’s all about having fun and being silly. Every year on April 1st, people from all over the world play pranks and make jokes to try and fool their friends and family.

No matter where it started, it’s now a well-known holiday, and even the BBC gets in on the fun by creating elaborate hoaxes for the public.

ThinkFives provides all these fun facts so that you can create great activities for your students.

Origins of April Fools’ Day

The origins of the day are unclear, but there are several theories about how it started.

One theory is that April Fools’ Day originated in ancient Rome, where the festival of Hilaria was held on March 25th to celebrate the resurrection of the god Attis. The festival involved participants playing pranks and disguising themselves in masquerade costumes. When the Roman Empire converted to Christianity and moved the start of the year to January 1st, the festival of Hilaria was moved to April 1st, and the tradition of playing pranks continued.

Another theory is that April Fools’ Day started in France in the 16th century when the country switched from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar. People who continued to celebrate the new year on April 1st were mocked and referred to as “April fools.”

Regardless of its exact origin, the tradition of playing pranks on April 1st has been observed for centuries in many cultures around the world, and has become a well-established holiday in many countries. Today, April Fools’ Day is a time for people to have fun and enjoy humor, whether it be through practical jokes, hoaxes, or other forms of mischief.

Movies Featuring April Fools’ Day

April Fools’ Day has made its way into American culture.  Here are just a few examples of movies that feature April Fools’ Day.

  • “April Fool’s Day” (1986) – A horror comedy film about a group of college students who gather for a weekend at a secluded mansion on April 1st, only to find themselves being picked off one by one by a mysterious killer.
  • “Practical Magic” (1998) – A romantic comedy-drama film about two sisters who are witches and must use their powers to save themselves and their family from a curse on April Fools’ Day.
  • “Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde” (2003) – A comedy film about a blonde sorority queen who heads to Washington D.C. to lobby for animal rights on April Fools’ Day.
  • “Date Movie” (2006) – A parody film that takes a comedic look at the dating world, with a special focus on April Fools’ pranks and gags.
  • “Easter Sunday” (2007) – A short film about a man who plays an elaborate April Fools’ prank on his girlfriend, only to find that the joke is on him.

April Fools’ Day Around the World

While the basic concept of April Fools’ Day is similar around the world, there are some cultural variations in the way it is celebrated and the types of pranks that are played.

  • In Europe, April Fools’ Day is known as “Poisson d’Avril” in France, “Aprilscherz” in Germany, and “Pesce d’Aprile” in Italy, among other names. The pranks played in these countries are often similar to those in the United States, with a focus on humor and playful mischief.
  • In some countries, such as France, it is traditional to tape a paper fish to the back of someone as a prank.
  • In other countries, such as the Netherlands, April Fools’ Day is known as “Doe Maar Gewoon Dag” (Just a Normal Day), and the focus is on not playing pranks at all.
  • In India, the Hindu festival of Holi overlaps with April Fools’ Day. Holi involves throwing colored powder and water at friends and family.
  • In Iran, April Fools’ Day is known as “Sizdah BedarIt is a time for people to get together and play practical jokes on each other, but it is also considered a time to ward off evil spirits.

Noted Pranks – Some Gone Wrong

  • In 1957, the BBC reported that spaghetti trees were grown in Switzerland and showed footage of people harvesting spaghetti from trees. This was one of the first widely broadcast April Fools’ pranks and many viewers were taken in by the hoax.
Noted Pranks – Some Gone Wrong
  • In 2014, a radio station in New York played the same song, “Never Gonna Give You Up” by Rick Astley, for the entire day as an April Fools’ joke. The joke resulted in a lot of frustration and anger from listeners who were tired of hearing the same song over and over again.
  • In 2016, a TV news station in Wisconsin reported that a local zoo had acquired a herd of unicorns. The story resulted in a lot of confusion and frustration from viewers who were angry that the station was spreading false information.
  • In 2008, the Swiss tourism board announced that it was going to build a giant ski slope on the side of the Matterhorn, one of the country’s most famous landmarks. The announcement caused a lot of outrage from environmental groups, who saw it as a threat to the mountain’s fragile ecosystem.
  • In 2013, a radio station in Detroit announced that a giant pothole on a local expressway had been filled with Jell-O. Commuters took the news seriously and caused a traffic jam as they tried to get a look at the “Jell-O pothole.”
  • In 2019, Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted that the company had gone bankrupt and he had been found “passed out against a Tesla Model 3, surrounded by ‘Teslaquilla’ bottles.” The tweet caused a lot of confusion and the stock market briefly dipped before the joke was revealed to be an April Fools’ prank.

Fun Facts about April Fools’ Day

  • The term “April Fool” was first used in the 16th century in England and referred to someone who was being fooled on April 1st.
  • In many countries, the traditional way to play an April Fools’ prank is to yell “April Fool!” when the prank is revealed.
  • In Scotland, April Fools’ Day lasts two days, with the second day known as “Taily Day.” On this day, people play pranks related to the buttocks, such as pinning a fake tail to someone’s back.
  • The BBC has a long history of producing elaborate April Fools’ pranks, including a 1957 hoax about spaghetti trees and a 2008 prank about flying penguins.
  • In France, it is traditional to tape a paper fish to someone’s back as an April Fools’ prank.
  • The “Invisible Man” prank is a popular April Fools’ prank that involves wrapping a person in invisible tape so that they are unable to move.
  • In the Middle Ages, April Fools’ pranks were often darker and more sinister, such as pretending to be a ghost or playing tricks with black magic. Today, April Fools’ pranks tend to be lighthearted and playful, with a focus on humor and fun.

Do you have any favorite April Fool’s stories?


  1. I can’t wait to share these with my students. It’s interesting to read about how other countries celebrate this day.

  2. There is a lot of great information that I can share with my students and others that I can share with my family too! Thank you!

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