25 Times A “Harmless” Prank Went Horribly Wrong

Published 1 month ago

Most of us have probably seen or even pulled off a prank at some point. They’re usually harmless fun, like salt in the sugar bottle or clear nail polish on the soap bar. But sometimes, even with good intentions, pranks can go too far. In rare cases, they can even put people’s safety at risk.

A recent discussion on the AskReddit forum brought this issue to light. Users shared stories of practical jokes that went terribly wrong, almost resulting in serious accidents or worse. These cautionary tales remind us all to think twice before pulling a prank that could have unintended consequences.

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Image source: MountainGoatAOE, Yura Forrat/pexels

99% of tiktok/social media challenges/pranks. Just the other day I saw some kids climbing up a construction crane and filming themselves. I suppose that that is not really a prank but a few months ago, I heard about senior students in high school who thought it would be funny to criss-cross the hallway of toddlers with fishing line for them to trip over and film.

Call me a boomer (I’m not) but social media really brings out the worst in human group behavior.


Decades ago, a neighbour’s brother was getting married and went out for his stag night with his friends. There was a tradition at the time of getting the stag really drunk and then doing something like stripping them, tying them to a lamp post and throwing flour/sugar/eggs/paint at them and leaving them like that for hours. The stag was absolutely terrified of this and was waiting for it to happen the whole night long. When they finally made a move to grab him he started to run. They gave chase. He ran into a chip shop, drunkenly leapt the counter, and fell right into a vat of boiling oil. The wedding had to be postponed, and he eventually got married on day release from hospital whilst covered in bandages. He required skin grafts and was left with permanent scarring and disabilities.

Image source: WorldWideWig

#3 Dumb neighbor kid thought it was a good prank to hide behind parked cars along the side of the road and jump out at approaching cars…. Didn’t get hit because the first car was driving very slowly and the owner got pissed enough that he never dared to do it again.

Image source: poklane, Bruno Brandao/pexels

#4 When I was younger my mom was out on a walk with her friends and my dad thought it would be funny to pelt them with water balloons when they came around the corner. As soon as they rounded the bend, we ran out with our water balloons and my dad tripped and fell and broke his foot, his leg, and his arm.

Image source: Mariambarouma, RDNE Stock project/pexels

#5 The guy who tried to jumpscare his family at the Grand Canyon and instead slipped and fell to his death.

Image source: _CozyLavender_, Rodrigo /pexels


Image source: Ok_Ambassador_9111, Nite Searcher/flickr

Few years ago 2 guys went to a pub. They got drunk. There was a random guy who fell asleep on the patio of the place sitting in his chair.
The 2 men decided they gonna prank him and tie him to the chair with tapes. They asked the bartender girl for tapes and tied him.
This was close to closing time and they decided to leave him there for the night, cuz how funny it’ll be when he wakes up taped to the chair in an empty bar. The bartender girl was fully in. So she closed the place and they left him there.
This was in November and the man froze to death at night. It was clear he woke up and tried to break himself free, so he didn’t freeze to death in his sleep. He froze to death while being completely concious and awake.
All 3 were sentenced.

#7 I was in my senior year of college. Some guy threw a grad party at one of his parents houses. I ended up going, cause why not?

Image source: BeyondXpression, WmJR/flickr

Three guys who were wasted as f**k had this idea to shoot Roman candles at one their buddies who was coming out of the poolside bathrooms. It was two bathrooms attached to a small closet with pool chemicals and the door happened to be ajar.

One of the rounds went right into the closet and started a fire while there was a girl passed out drunk in the next stall. Everyone freaked out and called the cops, but nobody knew the girl was passed out.

Luckily, she survived with minor burns, but the guy’s parents got sued. The girl was only 19 and had half her arm burned and a lot of her hair singed off.

#8 Medical student graduated. They tied him naked to the bridge. Died of exposure.

Image source: Pedantichrist, Andrea Piacquadio/pexels

#9 When I was young I went to a friends house for a sleepover where they had a prank planned.

Image source: Bumblebees_99, cottonbro studio/pexels

They dressed up in creepy clothing and makeup, and one of the girls (we didn’t get along) had a real knife and was planning to slam me against the wall and hold it up to my neck when I came downstairs. Luckily one of the girls got scared before I got there and ran upstairs to tell me what was about to unfold before I went downstairs. She was so scared she asked me when I went down there to ‘play along’. Wasn’t going to take that f*****g chance. I think I dodged something that would have gone VERY wrong.

#10 Wasn’t there some couple that made a “prank” in which the girl shot her BF because they thought a book would stop the bullet (it didn’t)? I think they tried shooting a different book before trying to do it. The other book stopped the bullet, the one they used did not and it ended up with the guy dying.

Image source: Olveyn, Byron Sullivan/pexels

#11 So a group of the big beefy football jocks grabbed the dweeby nerdy kid under his arms and escorted him, against his will, to the rear of the football field / track / stadium. There was a drainage cistern there, covered by a heavy grate, built as a catchment for the water running off the sports complex. It was normally dry unless it was raining.

Image source: triviaqueen, Keira Burton/pexels

It was nicely dry when they dumped the dweeby kid in the hole and let the grate fall, trapping him there. Well, it was just a prank, just a joke, but they failed to tell him that they intended to return at the end of the day to let him out. Meanwhile the dweeby nerdy kid had a big exam he’d been studying for and he didn’t want to miss the class. So after the beefy dudes left him there in the hole, he tried to climb out on his own.

The grate was too heavy for him to lift from below. It fell on him, breaking his neck.

It was the scandal of my high school career and the beefy dudes, though kicked off the football team, expelled from school, and brought before court, never served any time for this accidental murder.

That was in 1971; the dead kid would be retired by now had he lived through the prank, and he probably would have had a stellar intellectual career.

#12 Don’t push someone head into a cake “randomly”. By randomly I’m saying without knowing anything about the cake. Sometimes to make big cake pastry chief put big wood pointy thing in it so the cake doesn’t fall. It can be VERY messy. Just assume every cake have theses in it.

Image source: Lorithias, Gregg O’Connell/flickr

#13 My great grandfather got his chair pulled out from under him by his best friend at work on April Fool’s Day. My great grandfather broke his neck and died, his friend never forgave himself. We never celebrated April Fools at my house, and everyone always thought it a prank when I explained…

Image source: bulbagill, Pixabay/pexels

#14 Dumb kid thought it was a funny idea to push his friend from a sidewalk towards my car. Good thing i was driving slowly so i was able to stop in time. Since that day i’m always afraid someone is going to push a person under my car, when i drive near sidewalk with people on it.

Image source: Drogovich, Mary Taylor/pexels

#15 I heard this story around where I live where during a wedding, the groom was “abducted” as a prank by a bunch of friends, made extremely drunk and then had boots put on his feet that said friends then filled with construction foam. The foam hardened, sealing both of his feet inside so tightly that it cut off the blood flow, which ended with him needing to have both of his feet amputated.

Image source: anon, Juliano Goncalves/pexels


Image source: silent-l, RDNE Stock project/pexels

I was in grade 1 if we had to use the washroom we had to go in pairs teachers rules. Some girl from a much older grade thought she’d prank her friend by “hanging” herself in a bathroom stall. She slipped off the toilet when we came in. Opened the door and saw her struggling. My friend grabbed her legs and tried to hold her up to keep her from choking to death while I ran to find my teacher. I remember running out of the bathroom down the hall, and seeing kids lined up peering into the windows. I don’t know how many were in on it. The girl was helped by the teacher. The girl was not injured seriously but it must have been traumatic for me because I would wake up middle of the night screaming. I remember my mom visiting the girls home and losing it on the girls father a few days later. The nightmares continued for years afterwards.

#17 I was at a swimming pool with friends as a kid maybe 10 or 12 years old.

Image source: Fy_Faen, MarcTutorials/pexels

We were in the deep end, and diving down to 12ft, picking up coins off the bottom of the pool. I was coming up from the bottom, and one of the kids thought it would be funny to hold me head underwater with his foot. I gasped as I broke the water, then got shoved back down and inhaled a s**tload of water, and panicked, and two other kids had to drag me out of the water onto the concrete where I coughed and vomited for what felt like 10 minutes.

#18 Compressed air up the butt. Destroys the gut and ends lives…saw a few of those and people never learn.

Image source: _Ed_Gein_, anon

#19 My buddy thought it would be funny to swerve his car towards the ditch and turn away at the last second. We wound up going into the ditch, slamming into a culvert, and flipping end over end. There’s still debate amongst a few people whether he meant to do it or not. Apparently he was the butt of a lot of jokes and I just hadn’t been around the group of people long enough to understand how deep it went. So, maybe a prank gone wrong, maybe attempted crime. I have no idea.

Image source: AstroWorldSecurity, JESHOOTS.com/pexels

#20 When my dad was a kid, he thought it would be fun to shoot open safety pins at stuff with a slingshot fashioned out of a rubber band. Eventually, he aimed at his older sister and she ended up with a safety pin stuck in her forehead. It’s a good thing he didn’t hit her in the eye.

Image source: FUCK_INDUSTRIAL, Gustavo Rangel/pexels

#21 A friend of mine’s dad once decided to jump out of an empty wardrobe and scare his wife when they were house shopping. He didn’t see a downward facing hook at the back of the wardrobe and when he jumped up to leap out he caught his back on the hook and ripped his skin open. They had to go to A&E to get stitches and the police showed up as the doctors were concerned it was a stab wound. So he had to explain to the police how he had f****d up a simple prank so badly he had basically stabbed himself in the back.

Image source: silentarcher00, RDNE Stock project/pexels

#22 A kid at school whose dad flicked a towel in his face. It got his eye really bad and he had permanent damage. The kid was an up and comer in the local tennis league as well. Really sad.

Image source: Prstty, cottonbro studio/pexels


Recently my coworker pranked my friend and I by removing the wheels on our desk chairs. Unfortunately she removed two wheels right beside each other and thought we would notice before sitting down. Then she had this crazy elaborate scavenger hunt for us that ended with us finding our wheels in jello at the end like something out of the office. It was an amazing prank on paper but I had been having a rough morning when I got to work and didn’t notice and just sat right down…suffice to say I fell right backwards off the chair and hit my head on the ground. Luckily it wasn’t bad and I just got a bit of a bump, but that certainly changed the pranking dynamics in the office.

Image source: WolffHDGaming


Image source: groundunit0101, Pastime/youtube

This isn’t my story, but David Dobrik hit Jeff Whittek with an excavator. He was a part of his vlog crew and they were supposed to be filming a video where the excavator would swing them around. David ended up slamming Jeff into the side of the excavator after going too fast and then abruptly stopping. It broke lots of bones including his skull and caused lasting damage.

#25 I used to do this trick with a butterfly knife when I was a dumb 13 year old, where I would flip it around like I was gonna open it but keep flipping to where it would be closed again and then thrust it at your face like I was going to stab you in the face.

This one time I did it with this other kids plastic handled knife where the handles were a bit fatter and rounder than the normal brass handled ones and it didn’t fit my hand quite as well as the knives I was used to.

I did my twirly twirl and thrust with the knife but because the handles were fatter than normal I missed the catch and as I was thrusting towards the kids face the knife folded open. Stabbed that poor f****r right in the bone at the bottom of the eye socket/top of the cheek bone.

Stabbed him good. There was a knife point hole there and It was leaking blood. Would have been worse if the blade had a proper point on it.

I was a couple of mm away from taking out that guy’s eye. Needless to say, neither the kid it happened to nor the people watching me thought it was anything less than deliberate.

Never played my butterfly knife trick in anyone ever again.

Image source: wtfisspacedicks







Shanilou Perera

Shanilou has always loved reading and learning about the world we live in. While she enjoys fictional books and stories just as much, since childhood she was especially fascinated by encyclopaedias and strangely enough, self-help books. As a kid, she spent most of her time consuming as much knowledge as she could get her hands on and could always be found at the library. Now, she still enjoys finding out about all the amazing things that surround us in our day-to-day lives and is blessed to be able to write about them to share with the whole world as a profession.

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dangerous pranks, fails, harmful pranks, jokes, pranks
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