April First is a date on the calendar that people either look forward to or dread. So what’s behind this day best known for having a little lighthearted fun?
April Fool’s Day History
No one knows how April Fool’s Day truly began. However, some historians suspect it may be tied to the Spring Equinox and France’s New Year’s Day celebrations, which were originally celebrated from April first until the Sixteenth Century when it adopted the Gregorian Calendar.
Those who refused to convert to the new calendar and insisted on keeping New Year’s Day on April first were referred to as “April fools” and were often the butt of jokes and pranks. In France, they refer to April first as “Poisson d’Avril “(April Fish) because school children would often tape a paper fish on the backs of friends and classmates.
Some historians believe the April Fool’s Day customs go back even further to Ancient Rome and the Festival of Hilaria, which in Latin means ‘Joyful.’ This festival honored the goddess Cybelle and the Egyptian goddess Hathor, who was known for joy, love, and “every good thing.”
Modern April Fools Pranks
April Fool’s Day is the most widely recognized non-religious holiday worldwide. It’s a day when almost everybody plays tricks on family, friends, or work colleagues.
From the 20th Century to the present day, April First pranks have gained an even wider audience. In the 1950s, the BBC reported on a spaghetti harvest from spaghetti trees only native to Switzerland. That image still gets posted on social media.
In 2004, National Public Radio’s All Things Considered ran a story about the U.S. Postal Service’s new policy of portable zip codes that would act much like telephone area codes. Those who moved would keep their phone number and be able to keep the same zip code, no matter where they moved to. Some listeners were disappointed when it turned out to be an April Fool’s Day prank.
Interestingly, on April first, 2004, Google launched its Gmail email service offering one-gigabyte inboxes. Because most other services only provided a maximum of 4 megabytes or fewer, many interpreted the announcement as a joke. The announcement, despite its unfortunate timing, ended up being true.
Make April Fools a Day of Fun and Frivolity
If you want to share in the joyfulness of April first, why not host an April Fool’s Day-themed tea party? Rather than making the day all about pranking the other guests, give it an atmosphere of crazy fun everyone can enjoy.
Here are some ideas for food and fun that are sure to make your party a joy to remember.
Fun Party Décor
What would a party be without balloons and other fun party favors? Since April Fool’s Day falls on a Friday this year, you can kick off a fun weekend by hosting an appropriate party for adults and kids alike.
You can let your creative and fun side run wild with a visit to the party store to pick up things like whoopie cushions, rubber chickens, fake bugs, Chinese finger traps, or other kinds of fun yet safe gags.
Send in the Clowns
- Having cardboard cutouts or posters of your favorite comedians or clowns can also set the stage for laughs.
- Put on a costume and make it as outrageous as possible with mismatched clothes, oversized glasses, fake lips, big eyelashes, eyelashes, and rubber noses.
- Set up a karaoke station so your guests can tell jokes or make fun rhymes.
Party Like it’s 1399
If you want to take your April Fool’s Day party to the next level, consider hosting a medieval or Renaissance-themed soiree.
- Party hosts can invite guests to put on their best finery to eat, drink and revel.
- Encourage your courtiers to tell jokes and play games and fun pranks; guests can decide who has carried the day as the Court’s Jester based on who could create the most laughs and fun. Or declare that the one who can pull the best prank wins. Be sure to crown the winning court jester properly with a court jester’s hat!
April Fool’s Day Foods
If you’ve ever taken a bite of food that you expected to taste a particular way, only to find it tasted like something else entirely. If you know what that’s like, then you have the idea behind these amusing food ideas.
- April Fool’s Meat and Potatoes Sundae – What looks like a deliciously sweet ice cream sundae is actually made of alternating layers of mashed potatoes and shredded BBQ chicken topped with a cherry tomato instead of a cherry. For those guests who are non-meat eaters, there are great vegan substitutes that can stand-in.
- Faux Grilled Cheese – Make or purchase a pound cake, slicing it thin. Heat a pan to grill the pound cake. Butter each side and grill until golden brown. To make the “cheese,” add 1/8 teaspoon of red food coloring and ½ teaspoon of yellow food coloring to the frosting. Mix well and spread between two pieces of the grilled pound cake slices.
- Tricky Tea Sandwiches – Host a tea party that’s truly mad by serving tea sandwiches that are not quite what they appear to be. Mix mini marshmallows, shredded coconut, and diced pineapple into a base of French vanilla pudding. Place between two slices of pound cake triangles.
Thinly sliced papaya between slices of chocolate pound cake looks enough like smoked salmon finger sandwiches it’s sure to be an incredible taste treat.
- Dirt Cake Deception – April really marks the beginning of spring for many people. Why not surprise your party guests with what looks like a charming plant inside a terracotta pot, but is actually a dessert that’s been a seasonal favorite for decades.
You will need:
- A 32-ounce package of chocolate sandwich cookies with crème filling.
- ½ cup butter softened
- 1 8-ounce package of cream cheese, softened
- ½ cup of confectioners (powdered) sugar
- 2 packages (3.5 ounces) packages of vanilla pudding mix
- 3 ½ cups of milk
- 1 12-ounce container of frozen whipped topping, thawed
- Gummy worms (optional)
Chop the cookies to a fine consistency in a food processor. The crème filling will disappear into the mix. Set aside.
Mix butter, cream cheese, and confectioner’s sugar into a bowl.
In a separate bowl, combine milk and pudding, whip together. Then combine the pudding mixture and whipped cream mixture.
In a new and clean flower pot, add a layer of the pulverized cookie, then top with the cream mix. Continue to alternate the layers until the flowerpot is filled. Add gummy worms in between layers if you wish.
Chill in the refrigerator for a couple of hours or until ready to serve. Top with an artificial plant or flower to complete. Dish out the “dirt” by serving it with a garden trowel, and enjoy watching the expression on your guest’s faces turn from surprise to one of pure enjoyment!
“April Fools Ideas – Great Party Ideas for April Fools Day.” Party Ideas & Inspirations, by Anjali Ghadge, Purple Trail, August 25, 2017. Web. March 26, 2022.
April Fools’ Day” by History Channel Editors, History.com. A&E Television Networks, March 132017.Web. March 28, 2022.
“The Goddess Book of Days” by Dian Stein, Second Edition, 1992, The Crossing Press, Freedom, CA