Monday, March 26, 2018

Please DO NOT Try to Fool Me!

HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN:  I know it's not today. Ha ha, March Fool.  But I know the worst is still ahead. April Fools Day. I hate it. It's because I am a complete dupe, and incredibly gullible about stuff like that, and I don't think it's one bit funny.  I know we should wait until Sunday to talk about it, but I'd rather talk now, and wave everyone off. 

For instance, a million years ago, my little brother, ten years younger, would come up to me on April Fools Day (which I always forgot about, and even now, you know me, I rarely have any idea what day of the week it is, let alone what holiday) and he'd say: OH! THERE'S A SPIDER ON YOU! 

And I would leap a hundred miles into the air.

He'd laugh and laugh. I cannot think why, because it was not one bit funny.

This happened every year. Every year! And I fell for it, miserably.


Many years pass, and he lives in Colorado, I in Boston. One day he called, and we were chatting ON THE PHONE, mind you, and he says OH, THERES A SPIDER ON YOU.

On the phone! And I still shrieked. Yeah, whatever, April fool. Gah.

So, just saying, I hate practical jokes and April Fools stuff. Although I did hear about one prank where kids sprinkled mashed potato flakes on the floor of the school cafeteria, and when the cleaning people came to mop it all up, well....that's pretty funny, unless you're the cleaning people, and the kids got in a lot trouble, which they should.  But it's a funny idea.

Funny ideas, fine. Actually doing the funny idea? Not funny.

BUT WAIT--AND NO FOOLING!  BREAKING NEWS! OUR RHYS HAS JUST WON THE LEFTY AWARD FOR BEST HISTORICAL MYSTERY FOR IN FARLEIGH FIELD!  YAAAAY!  

But now:

Are you an April Fools fan?  (Jenn, I'm predicting I should stay many many miles from you and the Hooligans.)

RHYS BOWEN: Since April Fools Day is the same as Easter Sunday this year I foresee opportunities for the grandkids to play jokes on me (Easter Egg paper wrapped around something.... raw egg instead of hard boiled? I hope I'm not giving them ideas.

At school we played an April Fool's joke on a dotty old teacher. Her class traded homerooms with another. She called the attendance roll that morning without noticing she had the wrong group of students! Another prank was putting Vaseline on the chalk board. This didn't go down so well. Lots of scrubbing and refinishing required.


The BBC is always brilliant at April Fool's newscasts. My favorite was the spaghetti harvest in Italy. They showed video of woman harvesting long strands of spaghetti from spaghetti trees. This was back when people didn't travel so much and all over Britain people were saying "I never knew spaghetti grew on trees!"

INGRID THOFT:  That sounds like heaven, Rhys!  Spaghetti growing on trees!  I’m not an April Fools fan probably because I’m a control enthusiast, and we don’t like being surprised.  I also have the most sensitive startle reflex, and I promise, my response will scare the joker more than the original joke scares me.  So count me out, but Jenn, do tell!  On can only imagine the shenanigans in your house!

HANK: Rhys, no way. Come ON.  And yes, Ingrid, maybe it does have something to do with control.  I don't like surprise parties, either.

JENN McKINLAY: LOL! Yeah, we live for April Fool's Day around here. Surely, we are not the only people who have a drawer full of rubber spiders, cockroaches, ants, fake vomit, and, yes, a remote control fart machine. Now we are even technologically fancy with our pranks. I have recently figured out how to take over the television from another room and switch the basketball game to a YouTube video of my choosing. I'm looking for something with bad music, cartoon unicorns, and possibly glitter. It must exist. I will use it for my mayhem. Bwa ha ha! 

HANK:  How about this? Perfect for the Hooligans.


JENN:I think you need to crossover to the dark side, Hank, and be the prankster and not the pranked. Might I suggest, a beginner's prank? Show up at the TV station with a box of donuts but when they open it, they find veggies and ranch dip ;) The Hooligans still haven't forgiven me for that one!

LUCY BURDETTE: Jenn, you are so much fun! I think the box of faux donuts is a perfect starter prank! My mother used to love April fools' day jokes--her favorite being sewing my father's pajama legs together. The Key West Citizen paper puts out a masterful April 1 edition too--the articles are so real, so close to the truth and yet outrageous, that it tricks us every year. Cannot wait to see what they come up with this year!

DEBORAH CROMBIE: I come from a non-pranking family, but I'm a wee bit jealous of those of you who are good at pranks. Love the fake donut box!! And the spaghetti on trees! My hubby, on the other hand, is the oldest of five and LOVES pranks and practical jokes. Needless to say, I don't always think they are as funny as he does, but I am inspired by Jenn. Maybe this year I'll even come  up with an April Fool's for him!


JENN: Debs, I once baked a two layer vanilla cake with vanilla frosting but hollowed out the core and filled it with plastic spiders! Dudes jumped a couple feet in the air when they cut into it. Seriously, one of my faves and pretty easy :)

HANK: OH, my gosh... I would have collapsed. Seriously.

HALLIE EPHRON: Curious minds: what did you do with the core that you hollowed out?

I'm not  a prankster and I don't like being the prankee.
I do wish I could write satire. We've never tried that for an April fools blog... a thought.

My husband once got me by announcing, as I was rolling out of bed, that there was a fleet in the toilet. I went to go to the bathroom and sure enough, several little paper boats were floating in the bowl.


JENN: We ate it, of course!

JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: Teachers are going to be so happy this year - Easter or no, April Fool's falls on a Sunday. No pranks at school! I remember Ross once describing April 1st as "the longest day": 8:30am to 3:20pm filled with exactly the kind of witty jokes you would expect from five to eight year olds. God bless him, he would act surprised/confused/afraid/laugh for each and every little kid who told him school was cancelled or that he had something on his nose.

For me, the best part of April Fool's day are all the funny blog postings and news items online. If you google "April Fool's roundup" you'll get loads of lists of grownups going all-out to amuse each other. My perennial favorite: Smart Bitches, Trashy Books, one of the top romance review sites on the web. Over the years they've done "Smart Bitches Who Love Fluffy Bunnies," a snack subscription service pairing the perfect snack with any book you order, a website redesign that perfectly captures the horror that was the 1996 Geocities sites, and Bitchster, the social media network for romance readers. I can't wait to see what they have up their sleeves this year.  

HANK: Great. Terrific. All very fabulous and I'm sure it'll be lovely.  How about you, Reds and Readers? Are you a fan of foolery? Or would you rather skip ahead to...well, anything? 

71 comments:

  1. Jenn, your family’s escapades make me laugh [and say, “Better you than me” . . . but a spider-filled cake would have sent me into the throes of panic for at least a week!

    As you might guess, neither John nor I are enthusiastic fans of April Fools’ Day [actually, I don’t do well with surprises of any sort] and this house [hopefully] will remain prank-free next Sunday . . . .

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    1. I so agree, Joan! A big surprise is not pleasant at all. The kind that someone cooks up to be funny…has many elements of humiliation, you know?

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    2. I'm guessing you'd really have to know your audience for the cake prank. I'm arachnophobic, and that thing would have sent me into a full-blown screaming panic (unless they were brightly colored and obviously plastic.) On the other hand, I'm not afraid of snakes, so if you did the same thing with rubber rattlers, I would shriek and then laugh.

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    3. Now that's interesting, too. Yeah. Spiders would send me through the roof. Snakes would be icky, but kind of instantly funny--because so impossible?

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    4. What about some other kind of insects? No no no .

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    5. I have learned to not be afraid of anything, or do I mean everything, living in this frat house!

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  2. I don't mind being the pranked...sometimes. But I can also take it the wrong way and not find it amusing.

    One year, I had the toothpaste filled oreos given to me at work. And I was over there trying not to give it away since I was the first to take a cookie.

    I, too, love the redesigns and fake articles that people put out. I've been known to post some things on my social media "coming clean" about how much I hate mysteries and Disney, for example.

    My Trixie Belden message boards have turned into Nancy Drew message boards for the day various years. But my favorite story there was the year a bunch of us wrote fan fiction stories based on a joke I'd started at Trixie Camp the summer before. Those stories were all a hoot, and the person we wrote them for had no idea they were coming.

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    1. I can't imagine biting into the toothpaste cookie--Jenn may want to use that one with her boys!

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    2. Toothpaste filled Oreos! Again, the idea is hilarious! But who do you decide to hurt?

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    3. Weren't you suspicious? I mean, how often did they give you oreos?

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    4. It's kind of brilliant, isn't it? Clever, requires some work by the prankster, but not harmful (although if you're the sort to unscrew the cookie and lick the frosting first, watch out!

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    5. Exactly! But it wouldn't really hurt you. Would it?

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    6. That sounds like a lot of work! I suppose you get to eat the filling when replacing it!

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    7. Taking notes - Oreos + toothpaste = genius!

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  3. I . . . would like that snack subscription service to be real. I might start it.

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  4. Ha! What fun stories. I haven't pulled any pranks for years or been pranked, but I'm hosting Easter, so maybe I'd better come up with some. I'm not very good at telling fake stories. Will give it some thought!

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    1. I agree… As Rhys predicted, eggs have a lot of potential. But still...

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    2. Edith, many thanks for an early morning (ironic? twisted?) smile: a write of great fiction not good at coming up with “fake” stories?

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  5. I'm not much of a trickster, but back in his college days, Warren was a master. He and his best childhood friend roomed together, and must have made life a living hell for the third roommate, who was apparently a nice, gullible guy who fell for everything. My favorite of their jokes was the time the roommate went away for the weekend (who could blame him?) but left his car at the dorm. It was a green VW Beetle--his pride and joy. Warren and Ralph found a wrecked one the same color, moved the roommate's car from his designated spot, and replaced it with the wreck. When the roommate got back . . . Yeah. It wasn't pretty.

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    1. OMG, he must have died Gigi! I wonder if he ever forgave them?

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    2. Oh, that is so incredibly terrible! And what an elaborate elaborate trick. And yes, I agree, what happened after that??

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    3. Sounds like an elaborate ruse to shift the blame in a murder mystery.

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    4. The roommate spent about 30 minutes panicking about what he would tell his parents about how his car got wrecked before Warren and Ralph fessed up. It actually didn't freak the roommate out nearly as much as the time they swiped some letterhead from the mayor's office and invited the roommate to a special reception that didn't exist, or the time they convinced one of their female friends to call the roommate (who had an active love life) about that positive pregnancy test. The roommate moved out of the dorm and into his own apartment as soon as he was legally able to do so. I doubt he ever forgave them, Roberta, but maybe he still tells stories about them.

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    5. Man! That has all the makings of a psychological thriller. It's why I never liked to watch I Love Lucy. Not to get too heavy here, but it was all about humiliation, really, and I was always so uncomfortable with that.

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    6. Hank, that is probably why I never liked that show, too. Along with the infantilization of the "little women", Lucy and Ethel. It was so mean, and not funny at all. There's a reason why their best and most often shared scenes now are the ones between the two female cast members, I suspect.

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    7. SO funny to hear that, KAren...I thought I was the only one. Huh. Good. oxxoo

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  6. My youngest was born on April Fools Day! This year we will celebrate her 35th. Maybe I’ll hide spiders in the bunny cake (gf of course).
    The audio book I am listening to is The Lying Game and I let my granddaughters hear an early chapter. At lunch Lucy told me she had landed an axel. And I believed her. Ten points

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    1. That is such a scary concept--I love how she had the girls quantify.

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  7. after the car story (above) I thought you were talking about axles.

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    1. I thought axolotls! Now THERE's some prime pranking potential.

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    2. TRUE! Funny how we always return to the theme.....

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  8. People are talking about this on my Facebook page, too. And wondering: why are they called "practical jokes"?

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  9. I have a hard time with pranks, when are they just mean? when are they gentle? On the other hand I appreciate the time and effort put into the gentle ones such as the BBC's pasta growing on trees - available on You Tube if you would like to see it. The best prank of this type that I ever heard involved a Volkswagen Beetle and an owner that kept bragging about the good mileage. His friends began to fill his tank so he thought he was getting 100's of miles per gal. Then several months later they began to siphon gas from the tank. Poor guy was blubbering trying to figure out what was wrong with his engine.

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    1. Hmm...okay..that IS kind of,,,,funnny....:-) hmm.

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    2. Like so many of the "jokes" mentioned here, NOT funny. Mean, yes, funny, no.

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    3. I agree with you, Coralee. I HATE prank shows and the like because the "humor" seems to be making people look dumb and laughing at them, and that seems so mean-spirited to me.

      I have to admit the part about the spaghetti trees on BBC made me laugh, though. More silly than anything else.

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    4. Agree, Mia, because that is silly, and just meant in fun. xoo (Will you be at Malice?)

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    5. And yes, RIck...exactly. They're not "jokes." xox

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    6. Yes, I'll be at Malice! Hope to see you there :)

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  10. Julie's brother is the family prankster, and each year on April 1 we hear a stealth knocker and find something planted in our front garden. As in a flamingo. Or a cardboard hula girl. Funny stuff but never annoying or scary.

    On the other hand, I am both annoying and scary, although not very inventive. I have a rubber cockroach as big as my thumb. And I know exactly where it is. Every year I put it somewhere interesting, like in Julie's lunch sandwich or in the bottom of a bowl of soup, whatever takes my fancy. This year we are going to a family do on Easter, and I can see a realm of possibilities for cockroach terrorism.

    Yes, I am evil to the core.

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    1. Evil to the core, Ann! But I burst out laughing, I have to say. Nothing like a rubber cockroach. (Don't tell my brother, okay?) xx

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    2. I would keel over, Ann. Good thing you're a nurse because you'd have to render medical assistance!

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    3. I love my rubber cockroach. :) except for the time the hooligans put it in my wallet and I achieved vertical lift in the grocery store when I was about to pay. That poor cashier - luckily, she knows the hooligans well.

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    4. Cockroach wrangling is a fine art, Jenn.

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  11. Hank, I'm with you on evil pranks. Why?

    My first husband was the evil prankster, and he was really mean about them. But he stopped after my turnabout is fair play prank.

    My maiden name is Brenner, and this was about 1972, so Yul Brynner was still a big star. I convinced the ex that "Uncle Yul" had changed the spelling of his name, and that he was my also-bald grandfather's estranged brother. (Long before Google, remember.)

    It took some time to convince him, but then he got all excited and called his snooty sister-in-law to brag. Served him right to get let down, trust me.

    Too bad I didn't know about cockroach terrorism, Ann! LOL

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    1. Hmm...you are a troublemaker, dear Karen!

      Yeah, a plastic cockroach or two can be reassuring to keep in your back pocket just in case.

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    2. Not normally! Just when pushed to the wall.

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  12. I like reading all the funny news/web sites. But I'm not much on pranks - either thinking them up or being the subject. I don't think The Girl is a fan, but I think maybe I should watch out for The Boy. Of course, April Fool's is Easter, so I wonder what will happen with that.

    Mary/Liz

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    1. Yes, that's the big question--do we envision bunny jokes? Egg pranks? Plastic cockroaches (see above) in easter baskets? Yeesh.

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  13. My mother managed to fool all her children with the same April Fool's joke every year (of the "made you look" variety). My only excuse for falling for it repeatedly was that she pulled it at the breakfast table and I wasn't a morning person as a child. I'd look for the bird/deer/rabbit/whatever every darn year -- as would my siblings. I did not inherit her skill at storytelling or her love of the April 1st.

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    1. Oh, made you look! Perfect. That's about the level I think is funny. Because we are trusting, right? xoxoo

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  14. Hank asked me to share this here. Not an April Fool's prank, but it tricked my little brother, and we still laugh about it.

    I used to prank my little brother (ten years younger) every Christmas. He enjoyed the Guinness Book of World Records, and came to expect the latest copy from me. One year I gave him a huge box, filled with smaller and smaller boxes that took him about fifteen minutes to open. At the center was something that was not the GBofWR, but then from behind my back I produced his new edition.

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    1. I love this so much! It is a prank, yes, but out of love and joy. What a great idea!

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  15. I dislike April Fool's Day, dislike pranks and such "jokes. I am definitely not a April Fool's Day person, and actively resent to the level of complaining long and loud for days afterward, and not in a way that encourages the Fooler to try it again. I also issue a warning a few days ahead, dire, with consequences. These days I am rarely tricked or pranked. And stay off my lawn.

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    1. Maybe we can make a special lawn sign, you know? That says… Well, what would it say?
      Maybe just April fools, and then a circle with a line through it, the universal symbol for “prohibited.”

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    2. Well, maybe not the “universal” sign, but at least… Around here.

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  16. We ignore April Fool's in our household. Outgrew it? Maybe. My big brother and I were evil kids back in the day. We used to play tricks on my next younger sister, mainly because she was such a pill. (She outgrew it.) Our favorite stunt was dipping Fritos in hot sauce, letting them dry, and then putting them back in the bag. My sister was a fritos addict. We still have pictures of her as a 4 or 5 year old, strolling around, clutching a bag of fritos.

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    1. Oh, that's SO mean! :-) But a good trick to have in the bag. (oh.Ha ha) . Did she ever figure it out?

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  17. My April Fool's attempts are always lame and last minute thought up tales I present to my husband or kids or friends. Nothing harmful, just little lies, such as winning a trip to somewhere. I told you, lame. And, of course, I tell them right away that it's an April Fool's. I haven't had anybody try to get me for ages. I actually think I might enjoy it a bit, but I'm so gullible that no one would have to work very hard to fool me. I wouldn't ever want to do something to someone that would result in that person being upset or terribly disappointed. Mean is mean, whether it's April Fool's or not.

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  18. Hank, I don't think you are a curmudgeon for not liking April Fool's Day.

    I'm not a fan of it either. I have better things to do with my time than plot a prank. Which is kind of funny considering if I do get pranked, I have no problem with plotting some bloody evil revenge on the person who did it.

    Despite a love of stand up comedy and cheesy jokes, I've been told many a time that I don't have a sense of humor.

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    1. Thank you! Whew.

      Yeah, the revenge question is a different story, right?

      And your sense of humor is your own--sometimes people say that when they think something is funny and you don't. Who's to say they are correct about what's funny? It's all relative. xoo

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    2. Hank, yes humor is definitely another one of those things that is different things to different people.

      As for the plotting revenge, I've had some really intricate plans before. If only I used my powers for good...

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    3. Hank here: oooh.....now we're scared! xoxoo

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  19. My mom discouraged pranks . . . five children, already enough squabbles and hard feeling without that.
    I did project the Snopes "Mr. Ed was played by a zebra" article on the Smart Board one year . . . and gave extra credit to the first student who challenged it. The "more info" tab says "April Fools" and admonishes users to double-check ALL sources, even Snopes. If anyone had challenged my use of class time, I'd have pointed to the "learn research skills" part of the official objectives.

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  20. HANK here: oh, absolutely! That is a skill that is definitely lacking! Lucky students!

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  21. Spaghetti on trees made me chuckle. I also laughed at faux donuts with veggies and ranch dip. I would substitute the ranch dip with hummus. LOL

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    1. Because hummus is ALWAYS hilarious, right! xooox

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