Whether prankster, victim, or innocent bystander, April Fools' Day is always a day that favors the prepared. While everyone is channeling their inner Loki, tomorrow is sure to be more interesting than your average Tuesday.
For the Prankster:
Repeat after me the prankster's code:
"A good prank is easy to reverse"
Funny: switching a coworker's keyboard layout to Dvorak, or installing a phantom keystroke program.
Not funny: installing Bonzi Buddy, or signing up someone for spam email.
"A good prank keeps everyone safe"
Funny: making a "this copier is now voice-activated" sign.
Not funny: pranking someone's lunch in the fridge.
"A good prank is funny to EVERYONE"
Funny: plan a surprise birthday party, with cake and all, for a coworker whose birthday it is NOT. Mass confusion, but everyone can laugh about it over cake.
Not funny: pulling a prank targeting someone's insecurities, or attempting to actually embarrass someone.
For the Victim:
Share a laugh. If the prank was in good will, admit that they "got" you. Nobody benefits from "I knew it all along" or "real mature, Frank."
Plan appropriate revenge. Timeliness is everything here. If you can step up the level of the prank, victory will be yours. They covered your cubicle with post-its? Cover theirs with Justin Bieber or Nicolas Cage. They plugged in a wireless keyboard and started typing things on your computer while you worked? Modify their phone to autocorrect the benign to the hilarious.
Deal with inappropriate pranks with restraint. If a coworker sends a crude email from your computer to your boss, go to your coworker first. Ask them to go with you to hopefully share a laugh with your boss, instead of assuming the worst and cursing your coworker for getting you in hot water. In most of these situations, the prankster will be seen as the immature one as long as you don't lose your cool.
For the Bystander:
If it's funny, save it for posterity. Share a laugh with the prankee when you show him a picture of what his face looked like when he thought his phone screen was cracked. Offer to upload the pictures and video if everyone is fine with that.
Check out the more fantastical "pranks" happening online. Google (including YouTube) and ThinkGeek always deliver on April 1st, so be sure to check them out. Heck, if you like a ThinkGeek fake product enough, it might just become a real product! As usual, Lifehacker has a round-up post linking to the best and highest-profile pranks of the day.
A Final Word of Caution:
Regardless of how you celebrate, make sure you beware the real-life dangers we face tomorrow. Social engineering helps lure friends into falling for a prank, but it also can trick them into clicking links in spear-phishing emails, entering their username and password into copy-cat login pages, or opening up their computer to become part of a botnet.
Always think twice before opening suspicious attachments, always go to login pages on your own when an email asks you to login to continue, and never click random links sent from strangers!