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List of school pranks

A school prank is any of several common pranks performed by children or young adults. The pranks may occur in or away from school, or in any peer group setting, such as a military barracks, or between siblings.

The effect and intent of school pranks may range from everyday play and consensual bonding behavior to bullying or even assault, including sexual assault.

Common pranks

Flat tire/flat foot

The heel of the victim is trod upon, which may cause the victim to stumble. Stepping on the rear portion of the shoe as the foot lifts and thereby removing it is also a "heels" variant known as a "flat tire". A variant is to kick their heel forwards as it lifts.

This is often done unintentionally, and so the prankster may feign innocence only to repeat the prank multiple times.

Hertz Doughnut

This prank fools the victim into giving their permission to get punched. The prankster approaches the chosen target with a closed doughnut or pastry box and asks "Would you like a hertz doughnut?" If the target says yes, the prankster then strikes them in the arm without any warning and asks "Hurts, don't it?"(pronounced "doughnut").

Kick me

A note (commonly reading "Kick me") is attached to the back of an unsuspecting victim. This prank may be performed with Post-it notes or other stickers.


"Mooning" is displaying one's bared buttocks to someone, so-called because the buttocks are generally not suntanned, so resembles a full moon. It is commonly performed out of windows of moving buses and cars.

Nipple cripple

Also known as a "nipple twist", "ruby booby", "nipple gripple", "titty twister", or a "(purple) nurple", it is the act of taking a person's nipple between the thumb and forefinger and then twisting it around . On August 8, 2005, David Thumler, a 15-year-old living in Gold Hill, Oregon , was charged with a misdemeanor for doing this act to 13-year-old Matthew Cox. Thumler was fined US$67 and given three days of community service.


Sometimes called a Dutch Rub, Monkey Scrub or Russian Haircut, noogies are performed by placing the victim in a headlock and using the middle knuckles of the fore and middle fingers to cause friction by rubbing them across the surface of the skull quickly and firmly.


Pantsing (also debagging, depantsing, shanking, skanking or dacking in Australia and dekegging or just kegging (in the United Kingdom) and also commonly said as breeking in Scotland) is the act of pulling down a person's pants (trousers in the United Kingdom) and sometimes also the person's underwear. The most common method is to sneak up behind the intended victim, grab the pants', shorts', or skirt's waistband, and apply a quick downward tug before the victim is aware of the "debagger's" presence.

Shoe laces

This prank involves the tying of a victim's shoe laces together, typically while the victim is seated and distracted. The laces may also be tied to a nearby object such as a chair leg, or cut with scissors. Inducing victims to run after tying their laces together may cause them to trip.

Short sheeting

A prank done at boarding schools, camps or on excursions where children sleep in full beds (also common in the military). A bed sheet is untucked at the foot end of the bed and folded toward the head, making it look as if it is two sheets (an undersheet and top sheet). The victim will find that he or she cannot get into bed (as doing this "shortens" the bed length). Known as an 'Apple-pie bed' in the UK.

In a variant of the 'apple-pie bed', described in "The Reverent Wooing of Archibald," a story by P.G. Wodehouse, the upper and lower sheets are sewn together and a spiny plant inserted in between to keep company with the victim as he slips himself in between.


A "spitball" is a clump of paper that the prankster has chewed and steeped in his or her saliva, to be thrown, spit, or blown at a person or object. Spitballs are often propelled by placing them in a straw or the shaft of a disassembled hollow pen and blowing through the other end.


The act of holding the victim upside down with his or her head in the toilet bowl, and flushing. Typically perpetrated by two or more older, larger individuals. Instances of swirling have been prosecuted in courts. More commonly known as bogwashing in the U.K., or dunnyflushing in Australia. Variants of the swirlie include the brown swirlie (or chunky swirlie) and the yellow swirlie.


A thumbtack is placed on a chair, with the point upwards, as to stab the victim when he or she sits down.

Towel snap

Also known as a "Towel Whip", "Towel Whipping" a "Rat-Tail" or "Rat-Tailing", the prankster twists a towel along the diagonal (typically dampened to hold its shape), making it into a whip with a towel corner at the tip. The prankster then "snaps" the towel as if cracking a whip, striking the victim with the tip of the towel and causing pain. This prank is usually performed in communal showers, where wet towels are plentiful and bare skin provides opportunity to maximize the pain inflicted.


A wedgie is any one of a variety of pranks involving pulling the victim's underwear up so that it wedges between the buttocks. A wedgie may be performed by one attacker, or by a group. On April 6, 2006, Fox News reported on an Albany, New York teacher who was arrested for endangering the welfare of a child for giving a 10-year-old student a wedgie.

In 2007, eight-year-old Jared and Justin Serovich came up with "wedgie-proof" underwear at the Central Ohio Invention Competition 2007 where their invention got them into the finals.

Wet willy

Usually performed on a sleeping or otherwise unsuspecting person, the perpetrator of a wet willy wets his or her finger with saliva and inserts it into the ear of the victim.

See also


Further reading

  • Steinberg, Neil (1992). If at all possible, involve a cow : the book of college pranks. New York: St. Martin's Press. ISBN 0-312-07810-2.
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