It's the roommate who keeps saying your ex-girlfriend called. The teacher who loves a pop quiz fake-out. We all have prankster friends, but let's face it: their acts are getting stale. Here are some gifts that should jumpstart their jokes.
1. Reeve and Jones Jokes on You! Prank Kit (12 Piece)
Time to get back to basics. The Reeve and Jones Prank Kit is a delightfully tidy compendium of classic gags, from pet vomit to magic ink to a your good ol' fashioned hand buzzer. And frankly, I'd like to see you find a reliable fart whistle for less, in today's economy. $US16. [Amazon]
2. Phantom Keystroker V2
Sneak the baddest thumb drive in all the land into the USB port of your victim's laptop, and watch him — and his notebook — bug out. The mouse squiggles randomly, Caps Lock toggles on and off, random letters and words sputter out. It's the perfect gag, unless you're the one they come to when they think they've got a virus. $US13. [Amazon]
3. Unfortunate Fortune Cookies
Traditional Chinese food takeout box: Check. 10 delicious fortune cookies to share with friends: Check. Fortunes about pigeon guano and halitosis? OK, it's not the very best prank in the world — until you add "in bed" at the end of each. Then it's funny and gross. $US9. [Vat19]
4. Prank Pack
There are many, many varieties of these whimsical fake product boxes, which really add up to an emotional roller coaster for their target: surprise that an iArm exists, relief that you didn't actually get them that, and joy at whatever's actually in the box (unless it's the ol' Reeve and Jones fake dog poop). $US13. [Prank Pack]
5. Fake Lottery Tickets
Last Christmas Eve, my family gathered around the table at my Uncle Jack and Aunt Helen's house. There were lottery scratch-off cards at every table. And when my brother finished his, he was numb with the joy of having won $US10,000. Then I saw that I too had won $US10,000. And my parents. And we all slumped, sad and dejected, because we had won no money even though we'd thought we had won lots of money. Which is to say: these really work! $US3 for five tickets. [Novelties Wholesale]
6. Air Horn
7. Fake Toilet Paper Roll Speaking of DIY: Just a little bit of cardboard, toilet pape and elbow grease can make an empty toilet paper roll look teeming with two-ply goodness. Well worth the effort if you like your pranks messy and unsanitary; full instructions over at Instructables. ~$US10 for materials. [Instructables]
8. Prank Powder Decepti-candy
Coming in Power Ranger colours and packing a Rock 'em Sock 'em punch, these delicious sugary powders are more than meets the tongue. The colours don't match the flavours, which isn't so bad. But the vials also alternately stain your victim's mouth, foam out of control, get ungodly super sour or do all three at once. A nice surprise for the unsuspecting sweet tooth. $US6. [ThinkGeek]
9. ThinkGeek EvilTron
It's smaller than a quarter. Its battery lasts a month. And this very tiny trickster's accomplice cranks out creaking, scratching, whispering, gasping and more sounds that would drive a sane man the brink of madness — or at least, of moderate annoyance. $US10. [ThinkGeek]
10. Professional Voice Changer
Alright, enough with the kid's gloves. Save the plastic poop. If you want to unleash the terrifying jerk within, there's nothing quite like a professional-grade voice changer. You won't sound like some garbled hash, either; whatever you say into the phone will come out sounding like some perfectly normal man or woman said it. A perfectly normal man or woman saying terrifying things. Weirdo. $US550. [SpyVille]
BONUS: iDrive Steering Wheel Mount for iPad
iDrive is an awesome idea! A steering wheel mount device for your iPad, you can use it to easily and comforably surf, read, watch movies and play Angry Birds while driving. It works with your Kindle too! What can go wrong? Fortunately, it's a fake. The product doesn't exist, but the iDrive box is available for $US8 from Prank Pack.
Still haven't found the right present? Don't worry, we're here all month with a new gift guide every day — right up until the last minute. To see 'em all, head on over to our gift guides.