What Pranks Can I Play on My Parents?

Michele Meleen
Water in sink

If you've decided that pulling a prank on Mom or Dad is worth the risk of getting grounded, then you want to pick a good, funny one. These ideas offer some inspiration for safe practical jokes to play at home.

Jell-O Water

Startle your parents with potentially contaminated drinking water using a little Jell-O and some creativity.

  1. Get some Jell-O in a color like green or orange.
  2. Unscrew the mesh cap on the underside of the tip of the bathroom sink faucet. Use the pliers if it is on too tight.
  3. Fill the mesh cap with powder.
  4. Replace the cap on the faucet.

When Mom turns the water on to get a drink or brush her teeth, she'll be shocked by what she sees.

Lighting Problems

With a few choice purchases and some stealthy moves, you can turn your house into a dimly lit space straight out of a horror movie.

  1. bulb lamp closeup
    Purchase low watt or flickering light bulbs. Homes usually use 60 to 100-watt bulbs so look for something with 40 watts or less. Flickering bulbs can be found at Halloween stores or online. Get them in advance so you have them when the time is right.
  2. When your parents are asleep, sneak around the house and replace commonly used lights with the new bulbs. Start with places like the bathroom where light is most important.
  3. Hide the regular bulbs in your room.

When your parents wake up and turn on the lights they'll be really confused. This prank also works when your parents go out and come back late at night.

Key Swap

Your parents won't even be able to leave the house when you swap all their keys onto each other's keyrings.

  1. Take advantage of a moment where your parents are preoccupied and snag their keys.
  2. Remove all the keys from each ring keeping track of which one they came from.
  3. Put all the keys from the first ring onto the second and repeat for the other keys. When your parents go to start their cars, they won't have the right key!

This trick works best in the morning or whenever your parents typically leave the house. They each need to have their own car and specific key ring or the prank won't work.

Unhealthy Vitamins

If your parents take vitamins every day, try this fun switcheroo.

  1. Buy small candies that look like your parent's vitamins - Tic Tacs, Mike and Ike's, Good and Plenty's or mini M&M's work depending on the shape, size and color you need
  2. When you have a few minutes without your parents around, get out their vitamin containers.
  3. If they take multiple vitamins, choose just one to start with. Label a baggie with the name of the vitamin and dump all the ones from the container into the baggie. Fill the container to the same level with the candy.
  4. Repeat Step 2 for each vitamin.
  5. Hide all the baggies in a safe place where little kids or pets won't find them.

Wait and watch as your parents realize what you've done. Once the prank is over, make sure to return all the real vitamins to their containers.

Bloody Hands

Give your parents an early morning scare with this simple prank.

  1. Color the underside of the mug handle only with a red dry erase marker a few minutes before your parent will use it.
  2. Place the mug back in the cupboard, near the front, or on the coffee maker if that's where your parent keeps it. Make sure you can't see the underside of the handle at first glance.

After your parent grabs the mug and sets it down, they will find their hands covered in red and think they are bleeding. Make sure to use a dry erase marker so it will clean off easily.

TV Troubles

Mess with your television image controls to make shows look wacky. You'll need to find the picture settings menu on your TV to start. From there you can change many elements of the picture quality.

  1. Television
    Before you start, take a picture of the current settings or write them down so you can restore the quality later.
  2. Play with different controls to make the picture on the screen look as strange as possible.
    • Tint - changes the look of different colors
    • Brightness - increases or reduces amount of black in the picture
    • Contrast - how bright the white is in the picture
    • Sharpness - how clear the picture looks

Exit the settings menu and wait for someone else to turn on the TV.

Screen Fun

Parents aren't always tech-smart, so get them good with this creative prank. You'll need a basic understanding of computer screen images.

  1. Take a screenshot of your parent's desktop background on their computer.
  2. Place all of their desktop icons in a folder. Make sure you keep note of where the folder is saved.
  3. Set the screenshot from Step 1 as the new desktop or lock screen background. It will look like there are icons there, but they are just part of the image!
  4. When you parent gets on the computer they'll try to click on the icons and get concerned their computer is broken.

Once the prank is over, be kind and reset the desktop.

Clothing Swap

This tricky practical joke takes some expert planning on your part. You'll need to strike at a time when your parents aren't around, but also before they get dressed in the morning or change into pajamas at night.

  1. Take everything out of his top drawer and put it in hers, then put her clothes in his drawer.
  2. Continue all the way down their dresser.
  3. If they don't have a dresser, you can swap clothing in their closets as well.
  4. If you want to get a little more complex, mismatch their shoes.

While this prank isn't the kind that will fool them instantly, it will elicit a chuckle to watch them scramble looking for their clothing items.

Frozen Hot Chocolate

You've probably seen the frozen cereal in milk trick for parents to play on kids. This prank flips the script on parents who use a single cup coffee maker.

  1. spit coffee
    Make hot chocolate according to package directions in a mug your parents typically use for morning coffee.
  2. Hide the full mug in the freezer overnight.
  3. In the morning, pull out the frozen hot chocolate and drizzle a little hot water on top to melt a tiny bit.
  4. Place the coffee cup on the coffee maker in the correct position.
  5. Make conversation with your parents as they add sugar and cream to their coffee; try not to laugh!
  6. Watch as they try to stir or drink the frozen 'coffee.'

For parents who use one-cup maker like a Keurig, be sure to swap out their coffee flavor with an empty k-cup so they don't accidentally brew hot coffee all over the counter.

Phone Swap

This trick only works if two people in your household have the same phones, or the same size and shape phones, and use phone cases.

  1. Take the phone cases off both phones and swap them so they are on the wrong phones.
  2. If you have a little money to spend, you could buy a new phone cover and replace your parent's phone case with the new one.

See how long it takes them to realize what happened.

Battery Bandit

This one is sure to elicit a groan from the parentals.

  1. Remove the batteries from all household remotes, including those for the TV and your parent's car.
  2. Make sure you replace the battery compartment covers before putting the remotes back in their usual spots.

At first, parents might not think much of the living room TV remote not working, but as they discover all the remotes are "broken" they'll be baffled.

Stuck Toilet Paper

You've seen the trick of drawing a spider on the toilet paper and even leaving a message as it unravels. But, what if the toilet paper roll doesn't unravel at all?

  1. Put a line of hot glue down one side of the roll holder.
  2. Slide the roll of toilet paper onto the roll holder and press the cardboard inner tube onto the hot glue line until it dries hard.
  3. Alternatively, you can use duct tape. Cut and backward fold a few thin pieces of tape so the sticky part is on the outside. Stick them to the roll holder then stick the toilet paper roll's cardboard tube onto the tape.
  4. Replace the roll holder on the part that holds it.

While you can't actually witness the shenanigans, you can listen on the outside of the bathroom door to hear your parents being disgruntled.

Get Tricky

Playing pranks on parents and family members can be a fun way to beat boredom. All you need to trick your parents is some creativity and a few resources. For more practical jokes think about how you could use pranks you'd pull on your friends to trick your parents.

What Pranks Can I Play on My Parents?