a time to cry, a time to laugh

design, good laughs, inspiration

Longtime readers of Craft Nectar know that I pretty much live for pranks and practical jokes. The more elaborate the better. This year, however, it’s really hard for me to be thinking about April Fool’s pranks given the images I see coming out of Japan. Honestly, I know I should move on with my life but it feels really heartless to do so as I try to process what is happening to the country I called home for so many years. In future posts, I’ll write about other ways to help because the need will be great long after you’ve stopped hearing about it on the news.

In the meantime, the days on the calendar are flying by and I’m realizing that I will break our daughter’s little 9-year-old heart if I don’t pull myself together for a solid performance in the April Fool’s prank department. And in fact, this is not the first time I’ll be using humor as a mood-altering gesture.

When the atmosphere in my graduate school program felt especially toxic I thought (because I am nothing if not a creative thinker) “I could quit and return to investment banking or I could anonymously hire someone to run between classes through the studio  in a gorilla costume just to change the environment for a moment.” I went with the gorilla. It was $25 well spent and was the turning point for me knowing that I didn’t have to succumb to a bad environment. I had a good laugh and I got back to work with a new attitude.

My rule about pranks is that they can never been mean-spirited or genuinely scary. I once saw an episode of Punk’d in which they repossessed Justin Timberlake’s home and confiscated his dogs. I was with them until they told him that they took his dogs and that’s when they lost me. No heartless pet pranks.

Last year, you may remember that I built upon a really good prank at Family Fun.com. I sent my daughter an acceptance letter to Chore Camp along with the very-convincing brochure produced by Family Fun. So in trying to get some ideas for this year I checked out their website and found a similar idea that I can build upon for this year.

This year’s prank involves a permission slip for field trip to outer space. Family Fun has the .pdf you can download and I’m including below the text of the cover letter that I’ve written and will include in the envelope with the permission slip. I’ll slip it in with the mail on April 1.

My particular brand of prank-pulling involves details to make it very plausible. I’ve copied her school’s letterhead and signed the letter from the principal. I’ve included details that are unique to her school so if you plan to copy this text, feel free to insert details that would be pertinent to your child’s school.

I realize that right about now you’re thinking “I thought she had deadlines? Quilts to be making? Workshops to be teaching? Books to be writing? Fabric to be designing?” Yes, of course, you would be correct but for everything there is a season indeed. April 1 is a gift to us all. Don’t let it go to waste.

Here’s the link to the Family Fun space trip permission slip.

Here’s my letter:

Dear _____________________,

I am excited to notify you that you have qualified for a new program at XXXXX School. We know that you have taken many field trips to the Art Institute of Chicago, The Field Museum and many other locations in the Chicago area. Based on your grades and good behavior at school you have been selected for a special field trip to Outer Space.

Mr. K will be coordinating students from the 4th and 5th grades based on their ISAT scores and the number of WOW slips that they have received this year. Your trip will last two weeks and you will be expected to complete all assignments and homework during the flight. Mr. K has received training from NASA to operate the space ship but alien drivers will guide the space ship in each galaxie. Competent aliens in each galaxie will also chaperone the children. Students will make stops in other galaxies, so please wear comfortable walking shoes and dress in layers. Students are asked to bring a sack lunch but not to bring money on the field trip as the space ship has been carefully calibrated for weight for a successful blast-off.

Parents are asked to sign the attached permission slip for participation in the Outer Space program.

Please contact me if you have any questions.


13 thoughts on “a time to cry, a time to laugh

  1. Since your daughter expects “something” does this have much effect. I may be jaded, but I think that since she expects “something” this might only garner a smile.

    I hardly expect that you will get a “Yay, I get to go to Space Camp!” only to be followed by the ever deflating “April Fools.”

    Or is that not the point?

    I only ever experienced mean spirited or on the fly jokes. Or the overly trite jokes like the bow tie wearing boss who wore a neck tie on April Fools day.

    So I probably just “Don’t get it.”

  2. @A – April Fool’s Day at our house is a jam-packed day of silliness. Next to her birthday and Christmas, it is our daughter’s favorite day of the year. She knows that she will be both involved in pranks and be the recipient of pranks but she doesn’t know how many, which is part of the fun. Last year in addition to the Chore Camp prank, there were gummy eyeballs in the juice glasses and there was milk in the orange juice carton. Both my husband and daughter started off the day with a good laugh as a result of my night-before planning. While my husband is in the shower, we generally take all of his socks and replace them with our daughter’s socks. When we go to bed, there will be a dozen of our daughter’s stuffed animals in our bed, that kind of thing.
    The above brochure is NOT space camp, which coincidentally she will be doing this summer. The brochure says that it’s a field trip in a spaceship driven by aliens so that’s the clue that it’s not real. It’s silly. It’s a funny notion to think of a field trip to outer space where you have to do your homework in the spaceship. I promise you it will garner more than a smile.
    The reason I wrote the post is to suggest that in the midst of all of the sadness and strife in the world right now that “lightening up” for one day can be very therapeutic and really memorable for kids. I PROMISE you that if you find some gummy eyeballs to put in the glasses at your home or office, you will make a lot of people laugh, most of whom would appreciate having a little laughter in their day.

  3. I just noticed that Martha Stewart has some April Fools ideas on her website. You guys seem to be veteran pranksters though, these may not be new ideas for you! What age did you start doing these pranks? Any ideas for a 4-year-old appropriate trick?

  4. I absolutely love this blog. The only thing is that depending on your daughters knowledge of space and spelling, she might notice that the word “galaxie” is really spelled “galaxy.” Haha, other than that, I completely love the idea! I’m just trying to figure out how to pull an awesome prank on a very precocious 13 year old 8th grader. They’re a little harder, but I might innovate on your camp acceptance prank from last year!

  5. @Kari – I think I must have started around 2 or 3 by involving her in prank planning on Bill. Conspiring with a child to play pranks on someone else is a major bonding ritual. Bill forgets holidays and forgets from night to morning sometimes things that were discussed so it didn’t matter if she spilled the beans, as she always did. We typically would put things in his shoes or hide the right mate to each of his shoes. Her favorite has always been taking all of his underwear out of his drawer and replacing it with her own. Any gag that involves replacing grown-up things with kid things or changing up the routine like serving dinner for breakfast is good for little ones. Family Fun has lots of food pranks which might also work for you. Let me know what you end up doing.
    @Lauren – Thanks for being my spell checker. I don’t know how I missed that one. For a 13-yr old the Chore Camp idea would be great. You could also develop some letter from school that puts her into some nerdy lunch table at school. So instead of sitting with her friends at lunch that she’d be eating lunch with a group of teachers or club that she really has no interest in. It’s all about finding something that she would feel bored by and acting as though this is some special treat. Let me know what you come up with.

  6. Hi Weeks, I know it’s not Friday yet, but thanks in advance for the April Fool ideas. I told my son who is 4 about a trick we can do to Dad’s underwear on Friday. He thinks it is the greatest idea and every morning asks if it’s “tricky day” yet. So I’ll keep you posted, but I think it will be pretty funny!

  7. April 1 is wonderful, not just because it is prank filled, but also because my 2nd grandchild was born on it. !0 years ago Kyle thought about pranking us and not coming on out to meet us. But somewhere before midnight he broke out and landed right smack in the middle of our hearts:). I think I may have to add this letter to his birthday presents … I loved the chore camp idea last year, awesome! Thanks for your caring heart for Japan, and thanks for also being able to enjoy a great day. Angela

  8. Thanks for the heads-up! I remember reading about chore camp last year and I must have told my daughter about it. She always has big plans to make a prank for her brother, but either has trouble thinking of a good one or never gets around to doing them, then is pretty disappointed at the end of the day that she will have to wait until next year. She was thinking about sending him something in the mail along the lines of the chore camp. However….this year we followed the link and put together the alien birth certificate from the Family Fun web site [It was not a PDF that you could type into, so I opened it with gimp to put text layers on top.] and “tricked” her this morning. (She was wearing her skeptical smile the whole time.) But then suggested she bring it in to school to try to conivince her teacher and class that she was really out of this world. I can’t wait to hear how it went.

  9. Weeks, thanks for the great idea! My son and I tricked Dad and swapped out his undies for my son’s teeny tiny drawers! It was really funny! I am glad we did it for a little fun. I told my husband though, he has to think up a good one to get me back!!!

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