All Fools’ Day

All Fools’ Day (also April Fools’ Day)—Traditionally held April 1. Although the origin of the day is uncertain, it’s been celebrated as a day of practical jokes and PRANKING for the last few hundred years. Pranks perpetrated on this day traditionally have a designated victim, who is made aware of the situation when the prankster shouts out, “April Fool!” Some pranks—such as setting fire to a paper bag full of manure — are identical to Halloween pranks; others, such as persuading someone to go on a false errand, are specific to April Fools’.

In “Halloween in America: Contemporary Customs and Performances,” JACK SANTINO notes that Halloween and April Fools’ (the two days acknowledged for pranking) occur on almost opposite points of the calendar, and he suggests that April Fools’ pranks represent a season moving from death to life (spring), while Halloween pranks reflect the time of moving from life to death (winter).


The Halloween Encyclopedia Second Edition written by Lisa Morton © 2011 Lisa Morton. All rights reserved