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Top 10 Safe April Fool's Pranks to Play at Home

With April Fool's Day just around the corner, it's time to start thinking about what kind of pranks you want to pull on your friends and family. We know you don't want to pull the same tired jokes that everyone expects or do something that could get someone hurt.
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By: Holly King for

With April Fool's Day just around the corner, it's time to start thinking about what kind of pranks you want to pull on your friends and family. We know you don't want to pull the same tired jokes that everyone expects or do something that could get someone hurt.

With the proliferation of technology and mobile devices you have lying around the house, the clever possibilities are practically endless.

To make sure you have some good ideas up your sleeve, we've come up with our 10 favorite, safe April Fool's pranks that you can pull off in your home.

1. DVR Disaster

Setting the Scene: Your teenager is home from school, finished with homework and ready to settle in for a night of catching up on their favorite show. They plop down on the couch, reach for the remote control, and instead of seeing a DVR full of "The Vampire Diaries" or "Pretty Little Liars," they're faced with page after page of "SpongeBob SquarePants."

Pulling It Off: Go to the TV listings and search for a show that is the exact opposite of your child's favorite. Once you find the perfect replacement, set it to record all of them, including repeats, to fill up that DVR as much as possible. According to your local satellite company, you can remotely program your DVR from anywhere, which will help you be even more sneaky.

2. Wacky Wi-Fi

Setting the Scene: The next time Mom and Dad try to pull up the news on their phone, they'll get a message that they have no Wi-Fi connection. When they go to check their settings and re-connect they find that the Wi-Fi network name has been changed to a riddle and they have to correctly guess the answer to get their device connected.

Pulling It Off: When your parents aren't paying attention, go into your home's Wi-Fi network settings and change the network name and password to a riddle. It can be a classic like "What has two hands but cannot clap?" - a clock. Or use something more personal - an inside joke that only your family should be able to solve.

3. Surprising Screen Saver

Setting the Scene: Your sister wakes up, checks her phone, and is confronted with the most embarrassing photo of her - ever! - on her screensaver and wallpaper. When she turns on her computer to do some last-minute homework, the same photo is plastered on the screen. Even the TV isn't safe from this embarrassing photo takeover.

Pulling It off: The trickiest part about pulling off this prank is access to usernames and passwords that will let you change device settings. But once you've got that part handled, all you need to master the screen takeover is the perfect picture.

4. Possessed Garage Door

Setting the Scene: It's hard enough to remember whether or not you closed the garage door, but what if it's just impossible to make it close. As your dad tries to get on the road to work, imagine the bluster and bewilderment he'll feel when, no matter what he does, the garage door just will not close.

Pulling It Off: All you need to do is find a way to block the garage door sensor so that every time someone tries to click it closed, it keeps raising back up. Bonus points if you organize your garage beforehand and leave Pops guessing as to why it won't close.

5. Alarming Morning

Setting the Scene: Daylight Savings Time may have already happened, but you can still mess with your family's internal clock by setting everyone's alarms to go off two hours early. It's a classic prank that will get everyone will wandering from bed, bleary-eyed, and start getting ready for their day before they realize they could go back to bed for a few more z's.

Pulling It Off: The best way for this prank to work is if your family uses traditional alarm clocks rather than smartphones, as it's super-easy to reset both the time and the alarm on the clocks. If they do use their smartphone, you can still go into the settings and change the time on their phone - it's just a little trickier to get someone's phone without them noticing.

6. Stinky Shower

Setting the Scene: There's nothing better than a nice, hot shower to get the day started off right. After Mom turns on the water to get it warmed up just right, she notices something strange. It smells like last night's chicken soup - in fact, she's now bathing in a shower of nicely seasoned chicken stock.

Pulling It Off: You need a little know-how about how to remove the cap on a faucet, and some chicken bouillon. That's all it takes to turn your mom's morning shower into a tasty soup scrubbing. The good news is that the bullion should go pretty quickly, leaving your mom plenty of unsullied, clean water to rinse herself free from your chicken soup surprise. But you should probably volunteer to clean the tub afterword.

7. Haunted House

Setting the Scene: Everyone's piled on the couch for family movie night. Before someone pushes play, the lights flicker and the stereo comes on. It quickly stops and everything seems to return to normal, but it's not long before more freaky things start happening - lights going on and off, doors locking, the ceiling fan suddenly coming on.

Pulling It Off: Being able to control your home's lights, locks, and appliances from your smartphone in order to scare the living daylights out of the rest of the household might be one of the best perks of home automation.

8. Shattered Screen

Setting the Scene: Your brother was nice enough to let you borrow his phone. When you go to hand it back, you avoid eye contact and say, "Sorry, I dropped it." Your brother looks down and is greeting by a completely shattered screen.

Pulling It Off: Obviously, you didn't really shatter your brother's screen. There's actually an app you can download for iOS or Android that will make the phone screen appear broken. You'll need their password to download the app to their device, so make sure to do your research in advance.

9. TV Takeover

Setting the Scene: Your hubby is settling into his favorite chair to catch the latest episode of "Top Gear." Just as the drivers get ready to jump behind the wheel for their latest antics, your favorite chefs appear on the screen, judging the dishes of the latest "Chopped" contestants. Your husband looks around for the smart-aleck with the remote, but sees no one else in the room.

Pulling It Off: In order to remotely change the channels while someone else is watching the TV, you should be able to use a remote TV control app on your computer, smartphone, or your TV company's website. If that's not an option, you can modify the prank to render the remote control useless. You can pull that off by putting a small piece of clear tape over the signal on your remote.

10. Change the settings on your kid's mouse or trackpad.

Setting the Scene: Your son or daughter is so excited that it's finally iPad time, but when they sit down and get ready to play their favorite game, the controls aren't working. Every time they try to go the left, the tracker goes right. You watch them puzzle over the strange situation as they try to get things to work correctly.

Pulling It Off: This one's pretty easy. All you need to do is go to the device settings and change the cursor to go in the opposite direction.

What other family-friendly April Fool's Day pranks have you used to get the best of your loved ones?