We’ve all seen the YouTube videos documenting some hilarious and elaborate prank that took weeks of planning and a full cast of willing participants. Sure, all of the effort is worth it, but you don’t always need a lot of time and resources to pull off a great prank. In fact, the best pranks are typically the simplest. Take, for example, the bar of soap that has been painted with clear nail polish so it won’t lather or the list of phone contacts that have been edited so that everyone is “Mom.”
A successful prank has one goal: To make your target question the very fabric of reality. Here are some of the easiest DIY pranks that you can play on your best friend, coworker or spouse. Just don’t blame us when karma comes calling.
The Stranger’s Drawer
This one can be as simple or elaborate as you want. The goal is to rearrange someone’s drawers in an effort to confuse and aggravate them. For a more subtle prank, move one item from one drawer to another every day. Treat it like a psychological study: How long can you keep the ruse going without your roommate, coworker or significant other suspecting that something nefarious is going on? If understatement isn’t your thing, replace an entire drawer with eccentric costumes for a one-time shock to the system.
The Dead Mouse
This is possibly the easiest DIY prank of all time because if it’s executed correctly, it can pay off over and over with increasingly hilarious results. All you need is a piece of paper and some tape. Take the paper and cover the sensor on the bottom of a coworker’s mouse. Then, watch as he or she struggles to move the cursor on the screen. For some reason, people always check the mouse last. They bang on the keyboard and unplug the computer only to find the cursor still won’t move. Eventually, they will turn the mouse over to see the picture of Kevin Bacon you taped to the bottom. Your victim may have a hard time not laughing, but an even harder time not strangling you with the mouse cord.
The Unexpected Shower
This one is elegant in its simplicity. Take a rubber band and wrap it around the head of a sink faucet. Sit at the table and pretend to read a magazine until your victim enters the room and turns on the sink to get a drink of water. Then, laugh and laugh as he or she gets sprayed.
The Frozen Home
Smartphones have created a whole new genre of DIY pranks that prey on the repetitive nature of cellphone use. You get so used to turning the phone on and seeing a certain screen that even a tiny deviation from the norm can cause a full-blown meltdown. The frozen home screen prank is guaranteed to drive anyone crazy. Start by taking a picture of your victim’s home screen by clicking the Home and Power Button at the same time. Then, move all of the apps on the home screen to another screen. Now for the coup de grace: Go into Settings and set the picture of the home screen as the background. This is a totally devious (but easily reversible) prank that also teaches an important lesson: Never leave your phone on the table when you go to the bathroom.
About the Author: Aaron Rote is a Chicago freelance writer and poet specializing in quick wit and quick turnarounds.