The Best Practical Jokes of All Time

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Everybody loves a good practical joke — prankster as well as those who tend to fall for the joke. The former finds satisfaction in having pulled off a trick, while the latter frequently experiences relief when the prank is over and learns it was all just a (hopefully harmless) joke.

Foolery of this kind is most popular around April Fools’ Day. Each year, the first of April is rife with practical jokes and hoaxes — a tradition that goes back hundreds of years. In honor of this year’s April Fools’, 24/7 Wall St. has identified 20 of the best practical jokes of all time.

While practical jokes have long existed, the advent of mass media has made it so a single prank can fool hundreds, if not millions. Numerous media outlets, including newspapers, radio stations, and television stations, have tricked their audiences at some point in the last century. The British Broadcasting Corporation is especially fond of testing the public’s faith each year, and several of BBC‘s jokes have made the list.

Other businesses have also lead successful pranks. Companies like Taco Bell and Burger King have earned widespread exposure for ad campaigns that were practical jokes.

In today’s world, even an individual has the power to pull off a legendary prank. Whether it’s a man tricking his city into thinking a nearby volcano is erupting or a college student securing a master’s degree for his imaginary friend, dedication and creativity are sometimes all that’s needed to pull off a successful practical joke.