My New April Fool’s Day Prank: “Gelling Joke” Turns a Beverage into Sludge (Non-Toxic).

prank coffee

In my book The Happiness Project, I write about one of my favorite resolutions—to celebrate minor holidaysand Elizabeth and I have also talked about this resolution many times on the Happier podcast. Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day…and of course, April Fool’s Day.

This year, for April Fool’s Day,  I played a trick on my daughter Eleanor.

In my research for my book about my five senses, I’m always looking for ways to trick or confound my senses. Helium balloon, Newton’s cradle, that sort of thing.

When I read about this “Gelling Joke,” I was intrigued. I wanted to see how it worked, and I wanted to use it for a prank. Usually I rely heavily on food dye on April 1, and I’ve been wanting to branch out.

The product description explained that I’d get a little bottle of something to tip into someone’s drink that would instantly change the beverage into “non-edible sludge” (important: non-toxic).

So on April Fool’s Day, I dumped the contents of the bottle into Eleanor’s coffee when she stepped away from the breakfast table. I had to act quickly, because I knew she’d be back soon.

Here’s my report and advice:

Before you use Gelling Joke for a prank, experiment with it, to get a sense of how it works. My prank would’ve worked much better if I’d known exactly what to expect.

For instance, I dumped the whole container in, and I don’t think I needed that much. It acts very quickly, so I would’ve known when I’d put in enough.

I assumed the Gelling Joke substance would be a liquid, but it’s a white powder that has to be stirred in, and as the “sludge” forms, the former liquid starts to hold a shape, so it doesn’t look liquid anymore. So if possible, add to a glass or cup that has room left, to be able to pour in some liquid to disguise the surface. Eleanor’s coffee cup was almost full, so the minute she glanced at the cup, she could see that something was wrong.

That said, she was astonished! “What happened to my coffee?” she demanded. So it worked well just to mystify her.

I can never hold back a secret long, so I immediately said, “April Fool’s!” But someone else could’ve kept up the mystery longer.

Do you pull April’s Fool’s Day jokes? What are some of your favorites? I really love this family tradition.

And in fact, I love any kind of easy, fun tradition. They build happiness because they mark the passage of time in a special way, they’re memorable, they’re a source of whimsy, and they contribute to a sense of connection. And they don’t take a lot of time, energy, or money!

Here are some of my previous April Fool’s Day pranks, if you’re looking for future ideas…



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