High School Halls: Pranks, or How to TP a House

Welcome back to Deep-Fried Friday and my High School Halls series where today the subject is PRANKS. The temptation to wreak a little mischief is too big for most high schoolers to resist. At some point or other, they will pull a prank.

That Was Then

Toilet papering houses was a definite pastime for me and my friends. I gave as much grief as I got when it came to tissue drooping from tall limbs and covering the lawn. I’d like to give a shout-out to our neighbor who had a handy long tool that allowed me to clean up the trees the next morning and keep my parents from barring my friends’ fun. The trick to cleaning up is to lift the tissue out slowly and gently to keep the squares together. Otherwise, the TP tears and bits are left in those high branches only to find their way to the ground in the next big thunderstorm.

Whoever invented shoe polish just thought they were doing it for shoes. Its best use remains writing messages on friends’ car windows. You can go with the standard “WASH ME” or “HOW’S MY DRIVING? 1-800-CALL-DAD” or get creative with a personal message aimed at the pranked party.

Sleepovers were prime pranking opportunities. Shaving cream and a feather, anyone? A bra or undies in the freezer? Saran wrap across the toilet opening?

Another fun one we did was called Chinese Fire Drill. I have NO IDEA what the Chinese have to do with this, so I apologize if this is wrongly worded. But essentially one person is driving, and when you reach a stoplight, everyone in the car jumps out, runs around the vehicles, trades places, and jumps back in before the light turns green. Why? Because you can, and the cars around you are caught off guard.

Harmless pranks on fun teachers could go over well too. For instance, your teacher is talking, and all of a sudden everyone in the class turns their desk to face the back. If you have a fun teacher, they might laugh at this coordinated prank. And if you’re willing to spend a minute laughing with him/her, and then quickly return your attention to the lesson, you can get away with it! Spitballs in the back of a teacher’s head is not a prank: It’s saliva in someone’s hair, dude! Not cool.

Did pranks ever go too far? In my opinion, yes. Pranking gone too far is hazing or torture. I have to admit that when a friend suggested putting Icy Hot in someone’s underwear, I declined because, well, OW! And I’m not duct taping anyone, ever.

This is Now

So what’s up in the world of pranking these days? Well, toilet papering a house is still on the list of fun teen activities. So here are some basic tips for teens on how to do it well. As my father taught me, “a thing worth doing is worth doing well.”

If you’d rather leave the TP at home, buy a package of plastic forks and “fork” a lawn.

If shoe polish seems too passé, grab several stack of sticky notes and post-it note a car.

If you can gain access to a friend’s room or hallway, you can leave a nice trail of water cups. Dixie, Solo, or Styrofoam cups all work.

Some tips for playing pranks:

  • Play pranks on friends, not as some effort to get revenge. For instance, playing a prank on an ex is really just retaliation.
  • Injury or humiliation of another is not funny. Believe me, those victims will be able to vividly recall the hurt even twenty-five years later.
  • No injury to animals either. Dressing the rivals’ mascot in a tutu can be funny; stealing the mascot and keeping it in a dark, enclosed space is not. That’s just animal cruelty.
  • Be careful where you play your pranks. Google “senior prank suspension,” and you will be surprised how many high school seniors have been suspended or not allowed to walk in their graduation because of a prank they played at school. Some parents and some principals are more lenient than others, so just choose your target with forethought.
  • Be willing to fess up–after a lot of hemming and hawing, of course. At the end of the day, you are responsible for the prank. But sure, go ahead and play the Queen or King of Denial as long as you can. Make your friends suspect everyone but you. However, a good part of the fun is eventually saying, “I totally got you. It was me!” Also, if your friend gets in trouble with their parents, be willing to help clean up.
  • Have a plan, gather your supplies, and designate a good time. There is some strategy involved in a good prank.
  • Take photos! Wouldn’t like to have a record of your handiwork? I have absolutely no photographic evidence that I was a master toilet-paper, and I would kind of like to have that now…if for no other reason than to show my kids. Because yeah, I want my kids to be proud of their mom for her pranking expertise.

Now your turn: What’s the best teen prank you’ve ever been a part of or heard about? What do you like about pranking? What do you dislike about pranking? Do you have any other great ideas for high school pranks? If so, share.

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21 thoughts on “High School Halls: Pranks, or How to TP a House

  1. I have never done anything like this. I knew kids who did it. Just nobody I hung out with. Your videos cracked me up, though. That you had a method for this stuff is hysterical. 😀

  2. oooh, a Hoot! Forking a lawn? AWESOME! I never did TP a house. Thanks for the demo! But I did play many pranks on the helpless nuns. Like locking the library nun in the library…too funny to see her little old figure banging on the glass doors “let me out!”…or skipping Mass to unscrew the wheelchair ramp and hide it in the bathroom so the wheelchair nun couldnt get to class to teach! hee hee

    1. Oh my, poor nuns. I do confess that some guys locked our freshman English teacher in her closet one time. She was in way over her head, bless her heart. We should go TPing sometime, Donna!

  3. I guess I was boring as a kid. I never did anything like the TP-ing. But I knew those that did. We did have fun with some of those harmless pranks during sleepovers though. Funny stuff. Brought back some good memories. 🙂

    1. I don’t know that wrapping a house with toilet paper makes a person all that exciting, Rhonda. 😉 Sleepover pranks were particularly appealing because the audience for the laugh was all right there.

  4. Growing up in Chicago, we used to do Chinese fire drills on the trains. It was very tricky at rush hour; more than once we had to wait for the next train.

  5. I love the post it note one! More recently I’ve actually silly stringed my next door neighbor’s house with the help of my husband… Fortunately we’re good friends. Best part is he never figured out it was us. Of course that was only after they mowed 3:16 into our back yard for Stone Cold Steve Austin…LOL! Thakn goodness grass, like hair, grows back.

  6. I, too, like the post-it note prank. Totally harmless, yet really cool. I was a nerd and wasn’t allowed to do this type of thing. I went to Catholic schools and was a goody-two-shoes (whatever the heck THAT means!) so I missed out on all of this stuff.

    1. I thought you Catholic girls were supposed to be the wildest, sneaking cigarettes and pulling pranks and all that. LOL. I’m betting you’ve had plenty of good stuff in your life, Patti, but if you ever want to go post-it-note a car, let me know.

  7. We could have used the teaching videos for wrapping a house. That’s what we called it in my home town–I had no clue what someone meant if they said, “Let’s TP a house.” Such a sheltered life. I don’t recommend forking a yard though, because those cheap plastic forks break off, which means no more walking barefoot on the lawn.

    My best friend and I put self-sticking present bows on her boyfriend’s car windows in high school. It was gorgeous. Fun side note–they got married and are still happily so. I think it was all about the bow prank.

  8. I never did pranks either but I really like the post-it note one. Pretty.

    When I went to Junior high, in 1970, there were two teachers (both males) who’d play practical jokes on each other. I didn’t have either of them but heard of the following joke one pulled on the other.

    One of them had a student go to the other’s classroom and got him to leave somehow – I think he was told he had a call. While he was gone the first teacher came and stole his whole class so when he returned the classroom was empty. He had to go searching the rooms and finally found them in the back of the first teacher’s class while that teacher was giving a lesson..

  9. A friend and I traded dresses midway through a formal dance to see if our dates would notice. I suppose that’s more of an experiment than a prank, huh? 😉 Fun post, Julie!

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