April Fools’ Day has gotten a bit of a bad reputation over the years. Often thought of as a day full of mean-spirited pranks, this holiday can cause anxiety for many people. We end up walking on eggshells all day, waiting for someone to smash a pie in our face and post it on YouTube, or tell us some horrible news that ends up not being real. It doesn’t have to be that kind of day, though. Growing up in my house, April Fools’ Day was a day full of fun surprises, instead of stressful pranks. The idea of the holiday for my family was always to do something unexpected, but something we would all enjoy. The spirit of the day is just surprises, and they don’t have to be bad ones!
Some of my favorite April Fools’ memories include meals that look like other meals. One time my mom gave us “raw eggs” for breakfast that were actually Greek yogurt with circles of peach in it for the yolks. The “coffee” is actually a soft drink and the “bacon” is a brownie.
Another time, she made us a “cake” for dinner that was a meatloaf iced with mashed potatoes. She flipped the script the next year and made us “grilled cheese” that was actually cake cut into bread shapes with cheese-colored frosting between the slices.
We may have been fooled for only a second, but it was always a lot of fun. (Find more “fake food” ideas here.)
I also have fun April Fools’ Day memories in which my parents told my brother and me that we were doing something normal, and maybe slightly unpleasant, and then surprised us with something much more exciting. We would get up and get ready to go to the grocery store, or the dentist, and end up at the zoo, or our favorite restaurant for a special treat!
It doesn’t have to be something extravagant. Seemingly simple things will live on in memories as times when someone went out of their way to make the day fun and different. This kind of surprise isn’t just for kids! In a past April Fools’ “prank” I played on a friend of mine, I told her I was picking her up so she could help me move some heavy furniture. Instead, we went on a beautiful hike in the park.
There are so many ways to create fun and memorable surprises for your friends and family. You can wake up your loved one with a nice gift, like their favorite nostalgic candy or just leave the gift on the bed for them to see on their own in the morning. You can pop by school or work unexpectedly with their favorite lunch. The possibilities are endless. If pranks and practical jokes aren’t for you and end up making the day more stressful than fun, you can make April Fools’ Day whatever you want it to be. Instead of dreading the first of April, you and your family can look forward to it!