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Summer Camp Practical Jokes and Funny Pranks

I've lived in Flagstaff, AZ, since 2003, where I'm an active member of the Coconino County Sheriff's Search & Rescue team and an avid hiker.

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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

anonymous: 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: jokes make the world go round

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

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

BlackSunflowerB: I never went to summer camp :(

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

miaponzo: Mostly pretty harmless :)

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

GeekGirl1: I think it's ok as long as it's a harmless practical joke.

Tony Payne: 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.

DogAdvisor LM: Harmless, fun, and a rite of passage into adulthood! You have to learn to laugh at yourself in order to grow, mature, evolve into adulthood.

anonymous: They should'nt be punished for having harmless fun. Of course if it goes too far then sure.

anonymous: Its part of life!

anonymous: it's just a little fun to make summer camp seem fun. No one should be punished

JoleneBelmain: I think they are harmless, but people should be aware of what pranks they are pulling as well and to make sure they don't get out of hand.

gravityx9: It's all in good natured fun, but prankster beware of retaliation! :D

Tolovaj Publishing House: If there is no harm, pranksters should not be punished!

anonymous: Harmless, all in the nature of camp and good natured rivalry.

anonymous: say the name of your fav cousin x1 scratch your head x5 eat a whole pie x1 find an ipad 2 in your closet

MrsPotts: Totally harmless and part of camp experience! Although I think the pranksters shouldn't be surprised at getting some kind of backlash if their discovered.

anonymous: really really weird pranks kinda stupid too really plain...and nothing severe

anonymous: pranking is a ton of fun

Jolyne LM: A little fun to raise spirits is always welcome :)

michael kapsner: Yes they are natural, fun, and naughty (perhaps). I have been the 'victim' of one such prank and somehow managed to continue on with my life :-). It's a good reminder not to take oneself too seriously....

anonymous: Summer Camp minus the practical jokes??? BOR-ING!!!

CruiseReady: It's just part of NORMAL growing up!

anonymous: they should never get in trouble i mean its camp duh there will be pranks. so if you've been pranked and don't like it get over it and get revenge

anonymous: i think as long as they stay harmless the pranker should never be in trouble!! its just innocent fun!

anonymous: They r awesome, i like playing pranks on my guy friends because they r such easy targets

anonymous: perfectly harmless and super funny and they should not be punished

HorseAndPony LM: I think they are a necessity and the pranksters should not be punished.

anonymous: lame

anonymous: it all depends on the joke

anonymous: these pranks are honestly terrible.. our camp pranks are beast compared to these, like putting life savers in the shower head so they get a sticky shower, and tying up peoples feet then setting off an air horn (:

anonymous: i say i think they aren't naughty enough!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm mormon, and on july 20th I'm going to young womans church camp, and i garuntee we will be doing pranks that are alot worse than that! come on, step it up, on a scale of one to ten, these are only a 4!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

anonymous: As long as the joke is that, a joke. If it's meant to be mean or offensive, then it's fine.

anonymous: harmless they brighten up some camps

anonymous: THEY ARE AWESOME I CANT WAIT TILL I GO TO CAMP

anonymous: i think these are funny! i did one of these once and that way the prankster can be getten back a!

Deb4FlatTires: I love it!!! As a summer camp counselor, I've endured my share of pranks and played quite a few. It's rite of passage.

Carolan Ross: Harmless and hilarious, sort of a right of passage.

Nancy Tate Hellams: Yes, they are basically harmless and add to the fun and memories of the Camp Experience.

Faye Rutledge: Harmless and part of the fun of camp.

JMowe: Ha ha! Im a prankster so I think that these are just part of the process. Even though pranks can be a little crazy, in the end people will bond and enjoy friendships and their prank stories for years to come! "I remember when..."

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

BFBDfans: gotta stay strick or it will escalate

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

anonymous: stupid

anonymous: culprits should be thrown to the bears

anonymous: i agree though those pranks are very funny.

anonymous: 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.

A Good Article About the Benefits of Summer Camp

© 2009 Deb Kingsbury

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

Scindhia from Chennai on April 29, 2014:

Fun lens. Enjoyed reading it.

QuizSquid on February 21, 2014:

What a fun lens. Bring me back . . .

stuartym91 on September 16, 2013:

This i great :)

caretakerray lm on August 27, 2013:

Great Lens! This brought back some great memories

greygamer on August 26, 2013:

hello mudda... hello fadda

here I am at

Camp Grenada...

anonymous on August 23, 2013:

too many to remember, sorry

WriterJanis2 on August 22, 2013:

What fun ideas!

WriterJanis2 on August 22, 2013:

What fun ideas!

Anja Toetenel from The Hague, the Netherlands on August 22, 2013:

What a lovely Lens, big fun! Somehow I couldn't post my opinion, but I think these jokes should never be punished, they go hand in hand with summer camp!

Normyo Yonormyo on August 21, 2013:

Funny lens, but I do think it would be good to remember that not everybody is equipped to emotionally handle pranks, for what ever reason.

suepogson on August 21, 2013:

@wjlambert lm: hahahahahahahahaha ... love it!

drmattshepard on August 02, 2013:

thanks for the quizzes and polls. always appreciate the free points! :)

Mommy-Bear on July 04, 2013:

Summer camp sound like a real blast!

wjlambert lm on July 03, 2013:

I worked for many years at several different camps. The best prank I can think of was not actually at summer camp. In my freshman year of college, the dorms at my school had long hallways where each door opened from the inside out (including the hallway doors). It was the evil genius of an engineering student friend with the right resources and sneakiness to pull this off.

With 250 ft of rope he and several friends managed to tie up all the doorknobs and push bars in the hallway on the top floor of the dorm, leaving only enough slack to open 1 door at the end of the hall. With the trap set, the fire alarm was pulled. When everyone attempted to leave their rooms at the same time, no one could as the slack was pulled by all the doors. With people desperately attempting to leave their rooms, no one could enter the hallway. I believe it took 3 hours to get everyone calm enough to open the door so that one person could enter and undo the rope.

RoSelou on June 27, 2013:

summer camp? i did not attend one but your lens tells me how it is like. Jokes is okay as long as it cannot hurt somebody else.

ConvenientCalendar on May 07, 2013:

Great jokes!

ideaman21 lm on April 27, 2013:

Never had the pleasure or pain of going to a summer camp but I feel a little closer to the experience now LOL

Rhonda Albom from New Zealand on July 01, 2012:

Totally fun! Blessed by a Squidoo Angel.

Michelle from Central Ohio, USA on July 01, 2012:

This is a really fun lens! I used to be involved with similar pranks...ahem... Anyway, Squid Angel blessed!

miaponzo on June 30, 2012:

I never went to summer camp.. although we did go to girl scout camp one time :) We did a few practical jokes, but I can't for the life of me remember what they were :) Blessed! What fun!

Virginia Allain from Central Florida on June 30, 2012:

Going to camp for just one short week, I guess I missed all the pranks. Fun reading about your experiences.

Katie Harp on June 30, 2012:

blessed by a squid angel! :) <3

BarbaraCasey on June 30, 2012:

Really fine story-telling. Blessings.

mindlessnin on June 25, 2012:

great lens!

i remember being quite a prankster at high school...

i once scribbled at my classmates white polo with a chalk...

he never noticed that his arm eventually got covered by chalk dusts

BFBDfans on June 20, 2012:

Great lens, thank you for sharing I enjoyed it!

I let chickens loose in my high school cafeteria and pigeons in the schools lobby, grandma help me smuggle them inside lol. (never got caught ;P)

Toni-Roman on May 28, 2012:

I wrote a summer camp e-novel. Probably my most popular. So your lens brings back good memories.

Tony Payne from Southampton, UK on May 28, 2012:

These sound a real hoot! We didn't really have summer camp in England going back, so no fun like that for me, but I have watched a few summer camp movies and it seems like fun. Great job, great memories too I bet.

AJ from Australia on April 07, 2012:

I'm glad I wasn't on your summer camp!

ernad18 on February 28, 2012:

great lens... thanks for sharing

anonymous on January 16, 2012:

enjoyed your funnies tonight, thank you for them!

luvsdragonflies1 on December 14, 2011:

Great Pranks!!! I can't wait to try a couple of them lol

JoleneBelmain on August 11, 2011:

Friends of ours went on their honeymoon, so a bunch of us blew up hundreds of balloons and filled their bedroom so full they balloons went right to the roof so the victims couldn't even get into their bedroom the night of their return.... I must say, they did have fun popping all of them though :)

gravityx9 on August 09, 2011:

fun lens! :D Laughter and fun at camp makes it more enjoyable for all!

pawpaw911 on August 05, 2011:

I love practical jokes. I think the best joke I ever had pulled on me was many years ago, as a young man, I worked in a factory where we wore work aprons to keep our cloths clean. One day, a coworker took my apron home, and had his wife sew white lace around the edges of it. Still makes me smile decades later. Gotta love a good joke.

Tolovaj Publishing House from Ljubljana on July 16, 2011:

Joke a day keeps doctor away:))

GrowWear on June 27, 2011:

Love the shoes one the most. Funny as heck to leave a note saying they've decided to walk out and sit under the stars a bit.

MrsPotts on June 27, 2011:

I was never the prankster (that I can remember), but have fond memories of jokes played at camp on the counselors. It certainly broke the ice among the campers and gave us something over which to bond. All good fun!

Deb4FlatTires on May 28, 2011:

@flutestar123 lm: I cause a lot of the pranks at my camps. tehehehehe Maybe you sounds get the ball rolling. lol

flutestar123 lm on May 28, 2011:

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.

emmaklarkins on April 26, 2011:

Makes me sad I never got to go to camp!

anonymous on April 20, 2011:

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

CruiseReady from East Central Florida on April 08, 2011:

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.

tiff0315 on January 31, 2011:

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

HorseAndPony LM on October 02, 2010:

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

Obscure_Treasures on July 09, 2010:

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

Deb4FlatTires on February 02, 2010:

@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.

Deb4FlatTires on December 27, 2009:

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.

Deb4FlatTires on December 27, 2009:

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

Carolan Ross from St. Louis, MO on December 09, 2009:

Oh and what's that movie with the twin girls whose parents divorced and they met up at summer camp? Darn, can't think of the title right now but would be a great one to include here...they pulled some awesome pranks on the dumb blonde their dad was going to marry.

Carolan Ross from St. Louis, MO on December 09, 2009:

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 :-)

Nancy Tate Hellams from Pendleton, SC on November 15, 2009:

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.

Bambi Watson on November 14, 2009:

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

greenstarbuilders on November 13, 2009:

The toothpaste gag is a classic. Nice work!

WindyWintersHubs from Vancouver Island, BC on November 11, 2009:

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.

Faye Rutledge from Concord VA on November 10, 2009:

I enjoyed summer 4-H camp, and there were the normal pranks, but can't remember any specific (or different) ones right now. One year I was a junior leader and several of us stayed in the first aid room (in case of emergency) while the others were at the talent show. (There was only supposed to be one, but about 6 of us stayed.) It was a really hot night and we opened the refrigerator and the freezer door to let out some cool air. It was nice, but the next morning the ice cubes had all melted and were one big solid ice blob. I guess they must have been in a bowl or something. Anyway, the nurse in charge wanted to know how that happened, but none of us had any idea!!! :-) We had a lot of fun that night and still laugh about the ice melting. Not such a big, funny thing, but to us kids it was.

FlynntheCat1 on November 09, 2009:

Very funny :D Angel blessed.

Cynthia Sylvestermouse from United States on November 08, 2009:

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.

JMowe on November 08, 2009:

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! ;)