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Practical Jokes Gone Wrong

Updated on February 16, 2008

Everyone loves a good practical joke, right? Unfortunately, not everyone knows what a good practical joke is. Nobody should ever get hurt during a practical joke. At the same time, you should avoid breaking laws when pulling off a prank.

I can be quite the prankster myself, but have never gotten in trouble for my little jokes. The following stories will leave you wondering: “What were they thinking?”

Pranks Gone Wrong

Stop Sign Pranks Don't Pay
Stop Sign Pranks Don't Pay
Aqua Teen Hunger Force Promo Causes Panic In Boston
Aqua Teen Hunger Force Promo Causes Panic In Boston
False Fire Alarm Prevention
False Fire Alarm Prevention
Bomb & Gun Scares Are No Joke
Bomb & Gun Scares Are No Joke

The Stop Sign Removal Prank

I remember some teens pulled this prank as their senior prank just as I was about to enter high school. They stole the stop sign from an intersection, but this prank later ended in a fatal car accident. These young pranksters were made an example out of—they ended up being sentenced to jail time. You may be familiar with the Florida accident in July of 1997 where three teenagers were accused of stealing the stop sign at the site of the accident. The teens admitted to stealing other street signs, but not the one in question. The three teens were convicted of manslaughter, and sentenced to 15 years in prison. They didn’t go to prison, but were released on bond, pending appeal. In February, 2001, the convictions were overturned.

The point here, though, is that a prank might seem innocent, but you need to think it out. If it could endanger the lives of others, don’t do it. Not only could people be injured or killed, but you will face tough penalties.

The Cartoon Network Prank

This prank was actually a promotional campaign for the Cartoon Network. A marketing firm planted blinking devices in cities across the United States. Unfortunately, these blinking devices looked like bombs. Boston was the most disrupted city after one of these devices was spotted, spouting fears of terrorism. After news of Boston’s scare spread, the marketing firm alerted authorities in the cities where they had placed the other devices. Last I heard, the network agreed to pay restitution. Locally, here in the Seattle area, a construction crew announced they had found the device the week before Boston’s scare. The crew simply thought someone was playing a prank, so they simply removed the device from the area.

Pulling the Fire Alarm Prank

A lot of people are tempted to pull a fire alarm as a prank. Whether they think it is funny or they want to get out of taking a test, this is one prank that carries serious consequences. First of all, the fire department has to come out to check out the entire building whenever a fire alarm goes off. False alarms end up costing the school or business where it occurs. Second, it is illegal to pull a fire alarm without cause (and getting out of a test is not cause). Penalties range from formal charges to monetary penalties.

Bomb & Gun Scare Pranks

There was a time when these pranks didn’t carry intense penalties, but that is no longer the case. These scares will not be considered pranks by mischievous youths. Instead, they will be considered serious threats no matter the age of the person who does it. It simply is not funny or smart to make a fake bomb or gun threat scare.


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    • www.lookseenow profile image

      www.lookseenow 6 years ago

      Brandishing dangerous weapons or arrows of death at someone who could be physically harmed is premeditated manslaughter like some of the episodes you included in your post. The practical joke target is the victim who could be killed just by being the brunt of trying to be cool. After it has happened, it will be too late to say: “I was just having fun.”

      That’s the gist of (Proverbs 26:18):

      “Just like someone mad that is shooting fiery missiles, arrows and death, so is the man that has tricked his fellowman and has said: ‘was I not having fun?’”

      Your post is very well structured, ad informative. Thanks for letting me link.

      Regards: jghn

    • profile image

      joejoe 7 years ago

      Video of fire alarm prank gone right!

    • profile image

      edward church 8 years ago

      I don't mind jokes I feel prank jokes are very serious to pull on people and it all depends how far u go with it. my step son when on you tube where there were pranksters calling up business so he got the idea of doing it him self. he kept on going to far with it and had a few others with him do it too. after a time he did stop people did not like it. after a while ur luck runs out and then ur caught .

    • 397268 profile image

      397268 9 years ago

      I remember the Cartoon Network problems with the promo devices and I live in Ireland. That story made news all over the globe.

    • Stacie Naczelnik profile image

      Stacie Naczelnik 9 years ago from Seattle

      Debbie, nothing like the practical joke that ends up getting the joker!

    • Deb4FlatTires profile image

      Deb4FlatTires 9 years ago from Tennessee

      I'm a practical joker for many of my 48 years on this earth. No, I have not outgrown it and never will. A couple of years ago, I researched and found the stickiest glue I could find in order to torment my friends and family with pranks. One of my best friends at work parks her car in a parking garage that's dimly lit. I poured my industrial strength rubber glue by her car door to trap her. When I heard some people walking to their cars, I panicked. My first inclination was to hide my 5'4" 120 pound body behind my friend's car. For a brief moment, I forgot about the glue trap. And that was enough time to firmly plant a pair of size 8 1/2 AAA stiletto heels my own glue trap!!! A couple of the ladies passing by asked if everything was alright while strands of glue 2 inches long was between my right shoe and the pavement. I was mortifled!!! I said yes and proceeded to unsuccessfully rescue my stilettoes. Needless to say, I went home barefooted. - Debbie

    • Stacie Naczelnik profile image

      Stacie Naczelnik 10 years ago from Seattle

      Idiots! Wow...those rural towns...

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 10 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      Hey this is a good Hub.

      Here's another one. During senior year, some guys drove to the outskirts of a small rural Ohio Town. One of the three got in the trunk and the other two drove him through town while this guy hung out the trunk screaming that he'd been kidnapped and would be murdered. All their parents cam down to the sheriff's office to bail them out,