List of school pranks

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A school prank is a prank primarily occurring in a school setting. The effect and intent of school pranks may range from everyday play and consensual bonding behavior to crimes including hazing, bullying and assault, including sexual assault.

Common pranks[edit]

Circle game[edit]

Example of person playing the circle game

The objective of the "circle game" or "basic killer"[1][2] to form a circle with one's thumb and forefinger (the "OK" gesture) on the leg below the waist and get someone else to look at it.[2] If the person looks, the gesture-maker gets to hit them,[1] or is simply considered "out" or "killed".[2] In some variations the target can put their index finger through the hole without looking at it and thereby win the right to punch the maker of the gesture.[1]

Flat tire or flat foot[edit]

The heel of the victim is trodden upon, which may cause the victim to fall. 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" or "score". A variant is to kick their heel forwards as it lifts, known as an "airwalk".[3]


A prank where you ask someone to spell icup. Icup spelled sounds like ''I see you pee''. Saying this results in the person on the receiving end of the prank feeling embarrassed.[4]

Indian burn[edit]

This is a prank done by grasping the victim's forearm firmly in both hands, and then twisting the hands in opposite directions about the victim's arm to stretch their skin, making it red and sore.[3]

Known primarily as a "Chinese burn" or a "snake bite" in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand, "donkey bite" in South Africa, "buffalo skin" in India, "snake bite", "Chinese Sunburn" or "Indian rub" in Canada, and "Indian burn", "Indian sunburn" or "Indian rug burn" in the United States (except in some midwest states such as Wisconsin and Illinois where it is known as a snakebite), "Indian burn" in France, "policeman's glove" or "hundred needles" in Hungary, "barbed wire" in the Netherlands, "needles" in Romania and Bulgaria and "Brennnessel" ("stinging nettle") in Austria, Switzerland and the southern parts of Germany, "thousand needle stings" in the northern parts of Germany, "manita de puerco" (pork's little hand) in Mexico, "little fire" in the Czech Republic, "thousand needles" in Sweden, "Nettle" in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Russia, "French cuff" in Norway and Denmark, "kuuma makkara" (hot sausage) or "nokkonen" (nettle) in Finland and again "snakebite" in Flanders.[citation needed]

Kancho / Dongjim[edit]

Kancho is a prank played in Japan;[5] it is performed by clasping the hands together so the index fingers are pointing out and attempting to insert them sharply into someone's anal region when the victim is not looking.[6] It is similar to the wedgie or a goosing. Kancho means "enema". In South Korea it is known as "ddong-chim" This prank is also played in Scotland, in this case known as a 'fishy' or 'jobbie jab'. In Brazil is known as Pula Pirata (literally, Jump Pirate), named after the name which the game Pop-up Pirate is known there.

"Kick me" or other signs[edit]

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 items, such as paper and tape. There are also other signs such as Slap Me or Push Me signs too.[3]


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


Sometimes called a Monkey Scrub, Hippo Handing or Russian Haircut, a noogie is performed when the middle knuckles of the fore and middle fingers are rubbed vigorously against the surface of the scalp, stretching the skin and pulling the hair. A headlock may be applied for more exact or prolonged execution. This will trap the victim. The headlock noogie is called "La Savonette du Chef" ("The chief's bath soap") in the area around Toulon, France.

Also described as a 'Skully' in Australian Playgrounds circa 1980's. An open-hand variant known as the Dutch Rub is performed with the heel of the hand. In Czech Republic noogie is called "peanut"[3].


Pantsing (also known as "flagging", "depantsing", "pantsing" and various other names) is the act of pulling down a person's trousers and sometimes also the person's underwear, which reveals the person's genitalia. The most common method is to sneak up behind the intended victim, grab the waistband of the garment, and apply a quick downward tug before the victim is aware of the debagger's presence.[3]


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. This may cause the victim to unexpectedly trip or stumble when attempting to get up and move. This prank may be combined with a taunt or additional prank designed to provoke the victim into getting up and running after the prankster, resulting in a more pronounced effect. A related but more destructive prank involves secretly cutting the shoelaces with scissors.[3]

Another variant of this prank involves tying another student's backpack to a table. This is often done at lunch time to cause panic when the bell rings for students to go back to class and the victim only then realizes their predicament.

Short-sheeting/apple-pie bed[edit]

Apple-pie (UK) or short-sheet (US) bed is a prank done at boarding schools, college dorms, camps or on excursions where children sleep in full beds (also common in the military services). A bed sheet is untucked at the head end of the bed and folded, 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). Also known as a 'wallet bed' (lit en portefeuille) in France and as an 'apple-pie bed' in the UK.[3] An apple-pie bed sometimes involves sewing up the sheets with a needle and thread so that it is impossible for the prankee to get in, and requires a degree of effort to make the bed usable again.


A "spitball" is a clump of paper that the prankster has chewed and made wet with saliva, to be thrown, spat, or blown at a person or object. If not removed from some types of surface, they dry and harden into a sort of paper cement. Small spitballs are often propelled by placing them in a straw or the shaft of a disassembled hollow pen and blowing through the other end. Larger spitballs are sometimes flicked with the fingers, a flexible ruler or through the use of a rubber band. Sometimes, whole sheets of paper are crumpled and inserted into the mouth for a period of up to five minutes to form a large spitball that is usually thrown manually.[3]


The act of holding the victim upside down and dunking his or her head in a toilet bowl while flushing water. Instances of swirling have been prosecuted in courts.[7]

Towel snap[edit]

Also known as a "towel whip", "towel whipping", a "rat-tail", or "rat-tailing", "kangaroo tail" in Australia, or "cat tail" in South Africa, the prankster twists a towel along the diagonal (typically dampened to hold its shape) by spinning it at the corner, 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 end 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.[3]


A wedgie (sometimes also known as a "gotchie" or "grundy" or "melvin" and in instances where the undergarments are torn off, a "Chinese Laundry") is any one of a variety of pranks involving pulling the victim's underwear up so that it wedges between the buttocks and may even be performed to the extent that the victim's underpants are torn off. The victim's underwear may also be hung on something in a more extreme form of this prank. 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 by giving the 10-year-old student a wedgie.[3][8]

Wet Willy[edit]

A prank whereby an assailant moistens one of their fingers with saliva, quietly sneaks up behind a victim and inserts the finger into the victim's ear hole. While the wet willy is primarily an elementary school prank, it is occasionally seen in higher institutions of learning, including the post doc level.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Bish, Joe (29 June 2017). "Searching for the Man Behind 'The Circle Game'". Vice. Retrieved 18 January 2018.
  2. ^ a b c Rohnke, Karl (1984). Silver Bullets: A Guide to Initiative Problems, Adventure Games, Stunts and Trust Activities (PDF). Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company. pp. 54–55. ISBN 9780840356826. Indexed at ERIC
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Greg Tananbaum and Dan Martin (2005). Atomic Wedgies, Wet Willies, and Other Acts of Roguery. Santa Monica Press. ISBN 978-1-59580-000-8.
  4. ^ "Urban Dictionary: Spell iCup". Urban Dictionary. Retrieved 2018-12-10.
  5. ^ "". Archived from the original on 2009-02-01. Retrieved 2009-04-25.
  6. ^ 佐藤 信正(さとう のぶまさ). "(Japanese) KANCHO across the world in Japan, Korea KANCHO What? ''Trendy Net''". Retrieved 2014-07-15.
  7. ^ "Hazing Investigation" (WMV video). WTLX. 2006-04-03.[dead link]
  8. ^ Hume, Brit (2006-04-06). "Charges for Giving a Wedgie". Fox News.
  9. ^ Via Akifokur1 (March 15, 2013). "Wet Willie On the News - CollegeHumor Video". Archived from the original on November 29, 2014. Retrieved 2014-07-15.

Further reading[edit]

  • 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.