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Summer Camp Practical Jokes And Funny Pranks

Updated on October 22, 2014

Summer Camp and Practical Jokes Go Hand In Hand

I was fortunate to be able to go to summer camp in northern New England from the age of eight through my Junior year of high school.

I matured at camp. I became more independent and self-confident. It was at summer camp that my love of the outdoors grew and led me to me become an avid hiker and long-distance backpacker. I learned a lot at summer camp -- new outdoor skills and sports, arts and crafts, boating and water safety, leadership skills.

And, of course, the art of the practical joke.

Here, I'll share with you several of the pranks I remember from summer camp and show you where you can pick up more ideas. I'd also like to hear your practical joke stories, so be sure to share them in the guestbook below.

Did You Go To Summer Camp? - After answering the poll, you'll be able to leave a comment. Do you have a favorite summer camp memory? And where did you go to cam

Were you camper, too?

See results

My Favorite Summer Camp Movie - Which includes some funny practical jokes

I first saw this film in the mid-90s, and I've watched it a couple of times since. If you went to summer camp (or still go) and enjoyed it, I think you'll really enjoy this film too. It's funny and heartwarming and makes me really want to be a camper or camp counselor again.

Indian Summer
Indian Summer

This is a comedy about eight friends who reunite at their summer camp after 20 years. Shortly after their arrival, the old friends return to the best summer of their lives -- practical jokes, midnight kitchen raids, boat races, campfire stories -- and even secret romances pick up right where they left off.

The movie stars an ensemble cast including Elizabeth Perkins, Alan Arkin, Diane Lane and Bill Paxton.


Practical Joke Ideas for Kids

and Summer Camp

Summer camp practical jokes
Summer camp practical jokes

The Huge Pile Of Shoes Prank

Mixed and matched at that

I must take partial credit (or blame rather) for this idea, concocted one afternoon while floating around in a kayak on the lake. I was a "Counselor In Training," and I and my fellow CIT's were exempt from evening activity that night. A perfect time to carry out the plan.

So, while the rest of the camp was attending the talent show, my compatriots and I set to work. We gathered all of the shoes we could find in the deserted cabins and transported them in tarps, one CIT on each corner of the heavy loads, to the big field. There, we deposited the shoes in a great pile. We didn't purposely mix and match, but such was the result.

Needless to say, there was quite the ruckus later that night, when the victims returned to their bunks to find notes from their shoes, explaining they'd walked off to the field for some star-gazing. Actually, I don't really remember what the tell-tale notes said, but I do recall the chewing out we CIT's received from the director the next morning, as campers were still lamenting two left or two right shoes, neither of which seemed to fit right.

Summer camp practical jokes
Summer camp practical jokes | Source

The Loud Speaker Under The Bed Summer Camp Lark

It's time to get up, counselor!

Talk about a rude awakening. But it was pure justice, given all of the mornings we weary campers had been jolted from our beds by the sound of the head counselor's much-too-cheery voice over the loud speaker not long after sunrise, followed by a blaring bugle playing Reveille. (Listen below)

I mean, c'mon, our parents paid for us to go to camp! Why couldn't we sleep in when we wanted to? Who needed breakfast anyway, when we had our care packages under our cots?

So, one morning, our grumpy bunk of Senior girls hatched a plan to get even. And we enlisted the help of the Senior boys to carry it out. What we did was remove one of the loud speakers from the tree near our bunk and place it in the head counselor's private cabin, beneath her cot, hiding the wire as best we could. (Which turned out to be good enough.) The ingenious prank wasn't discovered until the next morning, when our own bunk counselor, who was in cahoots with us, went into the main office a bit early and did the morning wake-up call and the playing of Reveille herself.

Moments later, the head counselor came flying out of her cabin, red-faced and mighty ticked, in front of a howling audience of Senior girls and boys. We didn't mind getting up a little earlier than usual that morning.

Summer camp practical jokes
Summer camp practical jokes | Source

The Raising Of The Cot

With the sleeping camper in it!

He was a very deep sleeper, the boy in our brother cabin. The morning Reveille never woke him up. No, it would usually take a pile of his bunk-mates on top of him to rouse this particular boy.

How do I know this, being that I was in their sister cabin on the other side of camp? Um ... well, a little bird told me. (I can't remember his name all these years later, but I remember he was cute!)

Anyhow, I had some advanced notice of this practical joke (since I helped devise the raising system), so I was present the morning that the sixteen year-old heavy sleeper was raised, cot and all, to the rafters. Needless to say, he was suddenly very much awake when his bunkmate's rendition of Reveille on the electric guitar roused him from his slumber. Then the rest of us left for the morning flagpole ceremony, with the cot and its occupant still hanging around.

Summer camp practical jokes
Summer camp practical jokes | Source

The Old Toothpaste On The Toilet Seat Summer Camp Gag

Minty fresh!

This one certainly wasn't original, having been a tradition at every summer camp I attended for years before my arrival. But it was always funny nonetheless.

But be sure to use white toothpaste. If you use the blue stuff, it'll be too easily spotted on the seat before the victim sits.

This (what I call) minor practical joke is harmless, as I see it ... unless, of course, you use a fellow camper's toothbrush to apply said toothpaste. I don't recommend that practice, however; you might end up cleaning all the toilets with that same toothbrush. Believe me, I know.

Summer camp practical jokes
Summer camp practical jokes | Source

What Would Camp Be Without A Bra Up The Flagpole?

And of course it was always the biggest bra that could be found and pilfered. Which usually belonged to a counselor, since most of the campers hadn't developed enough to wear bras that were much more than double-A's.

This is another traditional summer camp prank, and I always thought it was rather lame ... especially by the time I was a Senior camper and well beyond double-A's myself. (I was always worried it would be my bra up there, so I kept those I wasn't wearing well hidden.) Funny thing was, no one would ever claim the chosen bra once it was brought down the flagpole. Not unless the owner had written her name in it, as campers and counselors often did with their clothing. In that case, her name would be called, and she'd have to walk to the center of the circle of at least 200 campers and retrieve her brazier, much to the delight of the boys while the girls rolled their eyes.

Summer Camp Pranks -- What Do You Think? - Are they a natural, fun part of camp, or are they just naughty?

Do you think these kinds of practical jokes are basically harmless or should the pranksters be punished?

Summer camp practical jokes are generally harmless and fun. No, the pranksters shouldn't be punished.

Summer camp practical jokes are generally harmless and fun. No, the pranksters shouldn't be punished.

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    • WillythebamJonson 9 months ago

      Have a laugh. It's fun. At my camp we have to serve the cabin we pranked.

    • anonymous 3 years ago

      Depend on the prank in some cases pranksters should be punished In others they shouldn't

    • anonymous 3 years ago

      I think camp pranks are really fun but not if you prank someone who is OCD or something like that then it's mean I've had pranks pulled on me and seeming as I'm a pranker myself usually find them quite funny

    • anonymous 3 years ago

      unless they actually hurt someone emotionally or physically then they are just part of summer camp!

    • anonymous 3 years ago

      You can't make it to extreem and make the camper not want to come again but it can be a silly inocent prank.

    • wjlambert lm 3 years ago

      I definitely side against punishment, but have been first the recipient and then the instigator, I know both sides of the fence. It really sucks to be the receiver especially if you're naïve about the whole thing. I think that camp pranksters should be aware that they are fair game as well

    • Virginia Allain 3 years ago from Central Florida

      Fun activities as long as they don't single out a very shy kid and humiliate him or her. (I was always that shy kid and it would have been excruciatingly painful to have a prank pulled on me)

    • mariacarbonara 3 years ago

      Great fun as long as they don't go too far

    • Birthday Wishes 4 years ago from Here

      C'mon people, everybody did a practical joke when they were young...

    • anonymous 4 years ago

      I love practical jokes! I never went to summer camp, but that never stopped me! I even pull them at work with a select few people!

    • anonymous 4 years ago

      jokes make the world go round

    • anonymous 4 years ago

      They're basically harmless. I'd totally enjoy helping out, or even coming up with my own. :D

    • anonymous 4 years ago

      I don't think practical jokes should be punished unless they endanger people or damage property.

      Some other ideas that i have done myself are:

      1. Fill a super soaker with fermented pickle juice (it helps to make friends with the kitchen staff) and then sneak up behind a camper or counselor for a new take on a "water" fight.

      2. To get revenge on someone sneak into their cabin and steal all of their remaining clean clothes. Then fold them all neatly in a pile and soak them with water and stick them in a freezer. (the camp nurse lended her freezer to help) then when all the clothes are frozen in a block of ice set the block on the person's sleeping bag. If you are lucky it will slowly melt soaking their sleeping bag and by the time they find it they will have a wet bed and still frozen clothing.

      Another suggestion I have is to make friends with all the camp staff. You never know when you may need to borrow some pickle juice or a freezer..... haha

    • jondar 4 years ago

      No I don't think they should be punished. Its all in good fun.

    • BlackSunflowerB 4 years ago

      I never went to summer camp :(

    • Michelle 4 years ago from Central Ohio, USA

      As long as the don't involve blood or fire and no one gets their feelings hurt, they can be great fun.

    • miaponzo 4 years ago

      Mostly pretty harmless :)

    • mindlessnin 4 years ago

      it depends on whether the pranks were addressed to those who needed it...

    • GeekGirl1 4 years ago

      I think it's ok as long as it's a harmless practical joke.

    • Tony Payne 4 years ago from Southampton, UK

      I think there is nothing wrong with harmless pranks, as long as they don't come across as bullying to the recipient and as long as they aren't dangerous.

    Summer camp practical jokes usually are hurtful or emotionally harmful to someone, and the culprits should always be punished to some degree at least.

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      • BFBDfans 4 years ago

        gotta stay strick or it will escalate

      • peppervel 5 years ago

        Depends on the age group. Adults should be able to handle them. Children amy not have the maturity to do so.

      • anonymous 6 years ago


      • anonymous 6 years ago

        culprits should be thrown to the bears

      • anonymous 6 years ago

        i agree though those pranks are very funny.

      • anonymous 7 years ago

        They are mean!

        !people remembetr them for the ret of their lives. my aunt was a loer cause someone gave her a practical joke

      Looking For More Practical Joke Ideas? - Check out these websites for some good material....

      You can always adapt someone else's prank and add your own twist.

      The Encyclopedia Of Practical Jokes - Not just for summer camp

      The Practical Joker's Handbook
      The Practical Joker's Handbook

      Tim Nyberg, creator of the best-selling Duct Tape books, brings his bizarre sense of humor to everything he does. The author spent six years collecting jokes from around the world for The Practical Joker's Handbook; although, potentially harmful jokes and pranks were omitted. Nyberg first explains the "art of the joke" then goes on to outline where and how to pull off the best practical gags.


      Practical Joker's Handbook -- Part 2

      The Practical Joker's Handbook: The Sequel
      The Practical Joker's Handbook: The Sequel

      Like The Practical Joker's Handbook, this sequel is built upon contributions submitted to the author's website by his fans.

      Nyberg has sifted though his warped fans' merciless suggestions to weed out the dangerous, the mean-spirited, and the potentially litigious practical jokes. As he says in the book's introduction, it's only a good practical joke if "both parties (eventually) find humor in the prank."


      Do You Have A Practical Joke Or Fun Prank Memory To Share? - It doesn't HAVE to have been from summer camp.

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          JMowe 7 years ago

          This was a great and refreshing lens! I played college football so summer camp was actually a part of my training. Which basically meant that there were about 100 guys stuck together training for an entire summer on campus with no one but the football team roaming its grounds. Which leads to countless pranks to help pass the time. My favorite was we picked up a freshman and dunked him in an ice bath. Did I mention we tied him up first?! Don't worry, he wasn't going to drown or get hurt, we were watching him wiggle and wince the whole time! ;)

        • Sylvestermouse profile image

          Cynthia Sylvestermouse 7 years ago from United States

          Well, summer jokes or not, I am laughing and I am reminded of a time when we went into the bathroom while our advisor was in the shower and stole all of her clothes. She got the best of us though. A little while later she came out rapped in the shower curtain. Oh to be 13 again.

        • FlynntheCat1 profile image

          FlynntheCat1 7 years ago

          Very funny :D Angel blessed.

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          WindyWintersHubs 7 years ago from Vancouver Island, BC

          I was rather homesick at summer camp and only went once. I'm afraid we were a mean bunch and filled a girl's sleeping bag with baby powder. What a mess! At least no one played any practical jokes on me. I was too busy crying in my sleeping bag! Oh, dear, lol.

        • greenstarbuilders profile image

          greenstarbuilders 7 years ago

          The toothpaste gag is a classic. Nice work!

        • mysticmama lm profile image

          Bambi Watson 7 years ago

          I've never been to summer camp...sounds fun!

        • OhMe profile image

          Nancy Tate Hellams 7 years ago from Pendleton, SC

          I have so many fun memories of being a camper and a counselor. Summer Camp is an experience that every child ought to have. I enjoyed my visit here and reading about your practical jokes from your camp days.

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          Carolan Ross 7 years ago from St. Louis, MO

          Went to summer camp, too and later went back and was a counselor at same camp. Such an enriching experience with great memories. Love the shoes prank and remember doing a similar one, only we didn't take all the shoes, just ONE from each pair of the particular prank victims! Funny :-)

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          Deb4FlatTires 7 years ago

          @CrossCreations: It's the Parent Trap from 1961 and remade in 1998. Great movie.

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          Deb4FlatTires 7 years ago

          My first summer as camp counselor was memorable. I was 24 years old and still a little prissy college sorority girl at heart. One of the seasoned counselors named Donna decided I was an easy mark when I attended breakfast in white shorts, white bobbie socks and new white canvas Keds sneakers. Later that day I found myself attached to my cabin steps by thick, sticky tar. I even stepped out of my sneakers and into the tar with my socked feet! Needless to say everyone was enjoying my predicament. By the end of the day I had tar all over me. lol. I endured other pranks the rest of the week as a good sport and loosened up a bit. Donna put her arm around me as we walked to the gravel parking lot to leave and told me that she hoped I was not mad about my treatment and would love to have me back next year. Before I could say anything, Donna gasped as she saw her station wagon. Little did she know but Donna generously donated the new radial tires from your car to be used for rope swings at the camp. The lesson learned: it pays to be kind to the maintenance staff. I was, Donna was not. lol.

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          Deb4FlatTires 7 years ago

          @CrossCreations: That's a good one! I was "one shoed" at camp once also. It might have been you. lol. Someone mixed up shoes among cabins. I ended up with one size 8 and one size 7 of the same Keds sneakers. I had a pair, but one one shoe fit. lol. We never got it straightened up. lol.

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          Obscure_Treasures 6 years ago

          Terrific suggestions, loved the hat :) Great Job, You must have put in a lot of work in this lens. Awesome!

        • HorseAndPony LM profile image

          HorseAndPony LM 6 years ago

          Great lens topic. I love pranks. Thanks for sharing.

        • tiff0315 profile image

          tiff0315 6 years ago

          At girls camp we would saran wrap underneath the toilet lid....guess what happened when people sat down to pee. Gross!!

        • CruiseReady profile image

          CruiseReady 6 years ago from East Central Florida

          I went to summer camp, too! I just can't remember the details of any of our little jokes, tough. It was a pretty tame girls' camp.

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          anonymous 6 years ago

          Ours were pretty harmless. Salt on the toothbrush, Vaseline on the toilet seat (why do so many camp pranks involve toothbrushes and toilets?), salad dressing in someone's milk carton.squi

        • emmaklarkins profile image

          emmaklarkins 5 years ago

          Makes me sad I never got to go to camp!

        • flutestar123 lm profile image

          flutestar123 lm 5 years ago

          Lol. These pranks made me smile when I read them. Not many people play pranks at the summer camps I've been to. Although, on a winter retreat, some boys took another person's boxers, froze them, and put it on the handles to the rooms where the girls were staying. The girls weren't too happy when they got back.

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