Politically incorrect family April Fool's pranks

In my household, we take our holidays pretty seriously. For Halloween, we creep out the lawn with life size monsters, a graveyard and a kids playhouse we converted into a haunted house. There’s even scary music blaring from the porch speakers that makes toddlers rethink how badly they want free candy. Christmas gets the full Chevy Chase holiday light experience – even indoors – and we’ve got a snow village the size of a small village under our tree, with a Polar Express railroad encircling it. As one does. We even invented a holiday, Cousin’s Day, that we’ve been celebrating with our relatives every summer for the last 14 years and counting.

But the holiday that Team Sassa has elevated to an art form is April Fool’s. A day that’s sole purpose is to pull pranks on unsuspecting victims? Sign us up. Talk about the perfect occasion to showcase my family’s sick sense of humor, poor sense of boundaries, and healthy desire to build resiliency in each other.

Here are some of the epic (if not always appropriate) pranks we’ve pulled over the years. Use for your own inspiration. Or as cautionary tale. Don’t judge me and I won’t judge you.

Sorry kids, we’re selling the house

My husband manages real estate, so he had a “For Sale” sign in his work shed. (Hint: Home Depot has ‘em too.) We planted that sign on the front lawn so the kids would see it as they got off the school bus. To make the prank more convincing, Den pretended to be on the phone with a realtor when they walked in the door, shouting, “You need to sell it quick, we can’t afford to live here anymore!” The kids ran to me in shock and I confirmed that yes, I was sorry, but we were moving to an apartment. Cue the tears, then the April Fool’s relief. We all laugh about it now.

We bought you a new iPad!

This one is so easy, and extra fun if your kids don’t yet have their own phone or have to share a device. We took a surgical eye bandage and wrapped it in an Apple iPad box, then told our kids we bought them a new eyepad of their very own – no more fighting over ours! They were thrilled. This was so NOT like mom and dad. Then reality set in when they opened the box, and they were bummed. SO like mom and dad, hee hee.

Oh Lord Jesus it’s a fire! 

Inspired by his mischievous parents, my oldest son wanted to get his little brother good, and the rest of the fam was happy to help. Early one April Fool’s morning, Luke “set off” the fire alarm, waking Jack up from a dead sleep. We all yelled Fire! Fire! and Jack sprang out of bed, sprinting after us as we all ran down to the curb. The running continued after we let Jack in on the prank – he chased his brother down the block, fists-a-blazing. Mean? Maybe. Memorable? No doubt!

Fake letter from school 

Pranking his little brother proved to be so fun, Luke decided to try it again the following year. Jack had been fretting over a bad grade on a Math test (I think it was a B+), so Luke mocked up a letter from the principal on fake school letterhead, then mailed it, addressed to Jack. The letter said that, “Due to dropping grades, Jack Sassa is no longer eligible for next year’s enrichment program.” Here’s where you ask how anyone in our family could ever believe news like that on April 1st ever again? Yet somehow, he did, and disappointment ensued. But don’t worry, we laugh about that now too, and Jack has become the most resilient of the bunch. The lesson? Preying on your victim’s fears really makes for an effective prank.

Out for blood

Revenge is a dish best served on April Fool’s, so the next year I gladly assisted Jack’s efforts to get his brother back. Luke had such a fear of needles that it once took three nurses to restrain him so they could collect a blood sample. Opportunity? You betcha. I begged a favor from a friend, a physician, who mailed me a fake lab prescription for Luke ordering him to go get blood work. He acted skeptical at first. After all, the kid knew how to read a calendar. But the scrip was from an actual doctor, and he did just have his annual exam, which is often followed by these types of tests. Once Jack announced the joke, Luke admitted how worried he actually had been! Payback is a brother.

Toilet paper cupcakes

Lest you think all our pranks are complicated and mean, let me assure you, some of the next few are merely the good-natured kind of cruel. One year, my sweets-loving daughter had just come from a party to find me “baking” and could not believe I was letting her have another treat. I offered Nina a cupcake – actually balled up toilet paper in a muffin tin, covered with real frosting. She dove right into that frosting with her licking finger and pulled it out with a knowing smirk. Gotcha girl!

Frozen food fun: It's an enchilada!

My family loves Mexican food, and I’m a big fan of making meals ahead. So that’s how, one April Fool’s Day, I happened to have frozen enchiladas in the freezer and an idea off the internet. I thawed and reheated all but one enchilada, which I covered in salsa, and served to my husband frozen. The sound of his fork clanking on his petrified dinner was priceless (watch the video), as was him asking me, “What is this??!"

That's no yolk!

Easter often falls in April, providing an opportunity to dye Easter eggs in time to pull of the funny prank in the video above. Jack loves hard-boiled eggs so we were banking on him wanting to eat his own work. Too bad the egg we gave him was raw, which made it extra un-a-peeeling when yolk came spilling out. Good thing he was a good egg about the whole thing. Live and learn.

Happy Easter Fool's Day

Last year was a bit of a gift. April Fool’s fell RIGHT ON Easter, so we got two holidays for the price of one. The opportunities were unprecedented. Bogus Easter baskets were a no-brainer, filled with practical items like toiletries and school supplies. Not a piece of Easter candy in sight. I’d planned to pretend all day that this was all my children would be getting but they wore me down and I gave ‘em their real goody baskets after church.

Then it was time for the most epic Easter egg hunt ever. My kids, nieces and nephew waited in the house while the adults went outside like we always do to hide the eggs. After a good ten minutes, we sent them sprinting out into the yard with their empty baskets to begin the hunt. Only thing is, we didn’t hide any eggs. Oh, to see their faces when they realized what we’d done, or rather hadn’t done!  Easter Fool’s! 

My Friend Ellen shakes her head every year, not sure if me and my brood are genius or sadistic. I’m not sure how I could possibly top last year. It’s getting harder to outdo ourselves (without someone getting hurt).

I may just try an idea I saw online that is both subversive and genius. You send your victims a text that says, “April Fool’s. You’ve been warned.”

Then sit back and do absolutely nothing

My family will be looking over their shoulders all day, squirming and giving me worried looks as they await a torture that never materializes.

I guess I can’t blame them for being paranoid.

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