I grew up in a prank-loving household. I still have vivid memories of my mother pranking our relatives by hiding fake dog poop on the couch. Best of all was the time my baffled family members spent an entire Passover meal wondering where IN THE HELL the fart noises were coming from (an electronic noisemaker, also rigged by my mom). Because I was raised to believe that you’re never too old for practical jokes, I present to you a list of some classic, affordable, easily-obtainable-in-your-corner-dollar-store pranks that will help you wreak havoc with your friends and loved ones. Hehe, suckers.

1. Rubber Dog Poop

All illustrations by Esme.

All illustrations by Esme.

The genius of rubber dog poop is that it doesn’t need to look or smell realistic, because once someone spots it they’re not likely to examine it up close. Location is key: Don’t just stick it to the floor, that’s boring. Put it in a shoe, put it on the kitchen cutting board, put it on a really nice piece of furniture. People get spooked by poop in weird places, period. One time my mom put a piece of fake dog poop on this brand new chair she and my dad had gotten for the family living room, and my dad gave a stern talking to to our little pug, Nigel. My mom let it go on until my dad got out the cleaning supplies and then was like “LOL, JK, IT’S RUBBER!” Poor Nigel, he didn’t do a thing!


Fake chewed gum is usually just a piece of plastic or rubber. If you’re not a dog owner, then it’s a great alternative to faux poo. Admittedly, it’s also a lot less disgusting, but again: It is all about placement. Prime spots for planting gum include keyboards at school or at work, on someone’s pillow, or on a steering wheel. Just make sure the driver spots it before they start the car.

3. Whoopee Cushion

The all-time classic prank! Blow up the cushion, place it on a chair, and laugh your ass off when your victim sits down and unwittingly makes a huge fart noise. The tricky thing about Whoopee Cushions is that you have to be very careful that the person doesn’t see it before they sit down. If you can rest the Whoopee Cushion under a chair or pillow, that’s perfect. Or just use a little acting magic and keep the person’s eyes busy while they sit in their chair. Note: You must make sure the cushion is all the way inflated if you want the loudest fart-blast.

4. Fake Teeth

Fake teeth in cartoonishly yellowed and cavity-filled varieties are simply priceless. Stick ’em in your mouth when you’re meeting someone new and want to make the right impression—or if want to make your parents really mad when your school pictures come in the mail. Vampire fangs are an understated alternative.

5. Fake Snake-in-a-Can

It’s exactly what it sounds like: a fake-ass snake in a fake-ass can. The thing about snake-in-a-can is that the can always looks way too fake. What you CAN do is take the fake snake—a slinky object that jumps out when you remove a container’s lid—and put it in a real can or jar. Better yet, gift somebody with one of those three-flavored popcorn tins, but instead of popcorn, fill it with a million fake jumpy snakes. Now you’ve got yourself a real surprise. Makes a great gift for your meanest teacher on their birthday, or when you want to freak out your bratty teen brother.

6. Bug Ice Cubes

You can buy these ready-made in plastic cubes but it’s cooler to make them at home with an ice tray and a bunch of rubber bugs. Gather your fake worms, spiders, ants, slugs, and what have yah, and throw them in the tray with water. Wait until the cubes freeze, then plop them into any drink (water’s probably best so that your guest can really see the bugs and freak out). Ta-da! Talk about a refreshing beverage!

7. Squirting Flower

This one doubles as a legitimate fashion statement, but it’s not really something you can DIY. The old Novelty Squirting Flower is a plastic flower attached to a small water pump. Put it in your lapel or in a bouquet of legit flowers, and then when someone leans down to smell the sweet fragrance, you squirt them with water. Eazy peezy!

8. Fart Machine/App

This one is for ADVANCED PRANKSTERS ONLY. Just kidding, the fart machine is nothing but an update on the classic Whoopee Cushion. You know that time at Passover when my mother would not stop using her fart machine under the table? While me and all my cousins loved it, my grandparents were NOT amused. Grandparents hate pranks that make them prime suspects for said prankin’. Back in those days, you had to go out and buy a little machine that would make fart noises under the table while your family ate their holiday dinner. But now apps like Fart Sound Board and FartDroid Fart Machine do the same thing! Can you believe there are people out there manufacturing electronic devices and apps that make fart noises? God bless them, right?

It warms my heart that in 2015, people still love (and fall for) corny physical comedy. Now that you have the tools—go forth and prank! ♦