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10 April Fools Day Facts To Trust Completely

Where did April Fools come from? What are some of the best pranks ever pulled? Why is custard actually pink? Read on to find out!

Beano Team
Last Updated:  March 21st 2024

It's the most foolish day of the year! A time when it's completely fine to prank and hoax your neighbours, friends and mountain rescue services with calls about yetis (actually, prank calling mountain rescue isn't OK so don't do that one). But where did April Fools come from? What are some of the greatest pranks of all time? Have a read of this epic list of April Fools fun facts and find out!

Don't believe us? Fine! Can't blame you, to be honest. You'd better check out some of these other great facts instead! There's watermelon facts, Yorkshire facts, even some alpaca facts! Much more believable!

1. Where does it come from?

The truth is... we don't really know! There are lots of different theories about how April Fools started, although most agree it's a very old tradition. The problem is that nobody wants to believe any of the explanations, in case it's all another cunning trick to fool them. Well - you can trust us (maybe)! Here's are a few of the most likely places our favourite day of the year might have come from!

2. France, 1582?

It could be that April Fools comes from way back in 1582, when the Pope changed the calendar in France from the Roman one (that started in April) to the Gregorian one (that starts 1st of January). Anyone who didn't realise and carried on celebrating New Year in April were all called April Fools! And the rest is history.... or is it?

3. Hilaria!

It could also be that April Fools comes from the Roman festival of Hilaria! Hilaria was traditionally held at the end of March (so almost April 1st) and marked the start of spring. Traditions changed, but they usually had a big party and weren't allowed to be sad in public. And yes, hilaria is where the word hilarious comes from!

4. Hunt the Gowk

Hunt the Gowk was another old April Fools tradition, going back to Scotland in the good old days. A gowk or gawk is a fool, and Scottish pranksters used to ask messengers to deliver silly notes to each other. Each sender would send back sillier and sillier notes until the messenger realised the whole thing was a joke! Gahh! OK - well let's check out some more recent pranks!

5. The Great Spaghetti Harvest

On April Fools day 1957, the BBC ran a news segment about how a Swiss region near the Italian border had “an exceptionally heavy spaghetti crop”. The camera showed (obviously fake) footage of people picking spaghetti off of trees and bushes, then sitting down at a table to eat some of their “real, home-grown spaghetti.” TV was pretty new back then, and not everyone ate pasta regularly. So a lot of people believed it! It went down in history as one of the best pranks ever!

6. Siddharta the fastest

George Plimpton, a well-known writer, once cooked up a wild story for Sports Illustrated in 1985. He wrote that a new baseball pitcher for the Mets, Siddhartha “Sidd” Finch, could hurl fastballs at a mind-boggling 168 miles per hour! Sharp-eyed readers cracked the code right away. The sneaky headline spelled out "Happy April Fools’ Day" in the first letters of the headline! It was a curveball of a story, for sure!

7. More TV trickery

Back in 1962, the Swedish national network pulled a different kind of fast one. They had a tech expert come on and claim that you could turn black-and-white broadcasts into color by looking at them through nylon stockings. Believe it or not, plenty of Swedes fell for it!

8. Everybody jump!

Toast slices

Back in 1976, the famous astronomer Patrick Moore announced on BBC Radio 2 the start of the 'Jovian-Plutonian gravitational effect' at 9:47 am. According to Moore, the planets would line up, and Earth's gravity would momentarily relax. Supposedly, if you timed a jump just right, you'd experience a brief floating sensation.

Turns out, it was nonsense! Who would have thought! But it's gone down as a great prank, and a reminder you shouldn't believe everything you see or hear on the news!

9. Big Ben goes digital?

In 1980, those pranksters at the BBC tried another hoax, but this time it didn't go down quite as well! They broadcast that Big Ben was being changed from a traditional style clock to a digital display - and they were giving away the famous hands of the clock to anyone who wanted them. Lots of people were really upset about it and the BBC got record complaints! Someone's lost their sense of humour!

10. The prank that almost wasn't a prank

In Brazil in 1959, fed-up students were sick of the city's mess and sky-high prices. So, they tried to elect a rhinoceros to the city council as a protest. And... they won! The rhino was named Cacareco, or "rubbish" in Portuguese and won a city council seat with an amazing 100,000 votes! Way more than any other candidate! Unfortunately the council wouldn't let the rhino actually run, but it shows how April Fools pranks can have a real effect!