April Fool's and money

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Almost half of pranksters say they will pay money to pull off their jokes.

Keep an eye on your friends and family this year. You may come home to find all of your furniture duct-taped to the ceiling.

Of course, all that duct tape ain’t free. Most Americans will be pulling pranks someone this April Fool’s Day, and almost half are willing to pay, according to a new GoBankingRates study that is apparently not a joke.

At least we don’t waste money to prank strangers — only the people we care about. According to another survey by mobile data research firm mfour, 63 percent of Americans plan to prank someone this year and almost 80 percent say it will happen at home.

Don’t get mad, it’s because they love you

For some, an April Fool’s joke shows someone really cares about you — because they’re willing to pay near as much on a gag as they are on a Valentine’s Day gift.

Older folks aren’t too keen on practical jokes, but are willing to spend some money when they do. Only 15 percent of 65-year-olds and up are planning a prank. 20 percent are going big and spending $75 or more on their April Fool’s joke.

That means they are willing to spend almost as much on April Fool’s Day gags as they are on Valentine’s Day gifts for their significant others, where almost all of us spent an average of $85.21.

We don’t hold much sacred with our significant others, either. Almost 40 percent of pranksters plan to announce a pregnancy or wedding engagement. And hey, those are free. (As long as they’re fake.)

We have a funny way of showing we care.

How much will we spend on a laugh?

Most of us don’t spend $75 on April Fool’s, thankfully. The average is under $25, whereas the average most people spend on friends and family members (not significant others) is under $7.

Forty-seven percent say they will pay to pull off their prank, and among those…

  • 34 percent plan to spend less than $25
  • 7 percent set aside $25-49
  • 2 percent are willing to spend $50
  • 4 percent say it’s worth $100 or more

Prank battle of the sexes

Men are slightly more likely to pull a practical joke this year, and definitely more likely to spend money on their prank.

  • 32 percent of men have tricks up their sleeve, and 53 percent of them will spend money
  • 29 percent of women are up to mischief, but only 38 percent of them will shell out cash

Opposite to the older generation, 18-to-24-year-olds reported the highest number claiming to have pranks prepared this year. One in three young adults are plotting gags.

Sometimes, being the butt of a joke costs money, too, with 17 percent of men and 15 percent of women saying a practical joke could cost them money.

Most memorable pranks

Though most people say pranks are harmless, these were too funny not to mention.

  • Loading a coworker’s office up with rabbits
  • Green food coloring, or hot peppers in food
  • Replacing faces in framed family photos with actor Wallace Shawn

The worst prank reported: “I came back from a doctor’s appointment and explained I had cancer and four months to live. My boyfriend started crying and I couldn’t hold back the laughter.” Guess that’s free… as long as your boyfriend didn’t need counseling for trust issues.

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Meet the Author

Joe Pye

Joe Pye

Associate editor

Pye is the associate editor of


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