The Best Pranksters in Books

Posted by Sarah Fox

We know April Fools’ Day has come and gone, but it is never too soon to start planning pranks for next year. As we all know, the most elaborate pranks take the most time to plot. What better way to pull inspiration than from books? We have compiled a list of the best pranks and pranksters in literature.  


The Odyssey by Homer


We have no idea how this ancient prank could be applicable today, but we still have to give Odysseus mad props. Odysseus comes up with a clever escape plane when he and his men are trapped in the Cyclops, Polyphemus’ cave. He gets the Cyclops drunk, blinds him, and makes his exit by hiding under a flock of sheep. When the Cyclops had asked Odysseus his name previously, he responded with the word “Nobody.” Therefore, the Cyclops keeps yelling, “Nobody is killing me.” This is majorly embarrassing, especially when you are supposed to be a tough, mythical creature.


The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain

Tom Sawyer is a master of pranks, but our favorite is when he tricks his friends into paying him to paint a fence, by pretending it is fun (the whole pretending you are dead to see your own funeral is a bit morbid to us). The great thing about this is that you can use this trick year round. Don’t want to write a report for your boss? Act like it is the most prestigious, important report, and your coworker will be begging to take it over. Don’t want to clean the house? Pretend that you are enjoying it and your roommate…Okay, the prank has its limitations, but when it works, it is magical.


The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling

If you want to find the kings of pranks, look no further than Fred and George Weasley. Since they aren’t star pupils, they spend the majority of their time at Hogwarts getting into all kinds of mischief and pulling the best pranks. They even quit school to start their own business: Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes, a joke shop that sells items like Extendable Ears and Weasley’s Wildfire Whiz-bangs. You know you have dedicated your life to pranking when you start a venture that enables others to pull their own pranks. So if you are looking for your own prank ideas, head on over to your local joke shop. Fred and George, we tip our Headless Hats to you for being an inspiration to us all.


Looking for Alaska by John Green

There is no better place for to find prank inspiration than a book on a boarding school. The Colonel and Alaska are in a prank war with the Weekday Warriors (the rich kids of the school), and they certainly serve up some good revenge pranks. They send out fake progress reports to their enemies’ parents and put blue hair dye in their shampoo bottles. Not only do the Weekday Warriors now bear an unflattering resemblance to Gonzo the Muppet, but they also land in major trouble with their parents. As an adult, it is hard to use the progress report prank in daily life, but dying people’s hair unflattering colors is always a possibility (just avoid getting in trouble for breaking and entering

Sarah Fox

Sarah Fox

Sarah Fox is an editor, writer, writing consultant, and pop culture enthusiast. Besides regularly contributing to Quirk Books’ blog, she has published an edition of William Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure. She lives in Washington D.C. with her husband and Pembroke Welsh Corgi. You can find her online at