In my youth, I was an expert summer camp prankster. I enjoyed the laughs around being both the prankster and being pranked.
So, You Want to Be a Summer Camp Prankster?
The most important rule for the summer camp prankster is: "If you want to play the game, you must be willing to be played!" I have been on the receiving end of just as many pranks as I have pulled. The trick is to not let the prankster have the satisfaction of knowing they got you! This is no easy task, but a must if you wish to survive in the prankster world.
This article is going to cover the following 7 classic summer camp pranks:
- The Saran Wrap Prank
- The Vaseline or Icy Hot Prank
- The Ziploc Bag Ambush
- The Sneaky Squirt Gun
- The Hand Lotion Hairdo
- The Sleeping Bag Surprise
- The Toothpaste Prank
Recollections of My Prankster Years
The roads leading up to Wesleyan Woods Campground in beautiful Vassar, Michigan, were dirt, the air was always humid, and the mosquitoes were thick. I recall the van full of campers from my little church bumping its way through the scattered buildings to the main hall, and not being able to hide the wily grin on my face.
I was going to get Charlie good this year. His itching powder in my underwear prank last year had not been forgotten. Upon arriving we would complete registration, get our room assignments, and meet our counselors.
Every good prankster needs an accomplice—a right-hand man or woman, if you will. Mark was my partner prankster throughout the years. He had a way of completing my thoughts. Every year, I couldn't wait to tell him about my new ideas. Let me share our expert tips and tricks with you.
Tried and True Pranks
|The Prank||The Effect||Supplies|
The Plastic Wrap Prank
Surprises victim in the restroom
Plastic wrap, toilet
The Vaseline or Icy Hot Prank
Victim slides off toilet or experiences tingling sensation after using the restroom
Vaseline or Icy Hot, toilet
The Ziploc Ambush
Launches shaving cream across the room
Ziploc bag, shaving cream, a door
The Sneaky Squirt Gun
A fairly anonymous way to startle the victim with cold water
Squirt gun, cold water (vinegar or skunk oil for serious pranks).
The Hand Lotion Hairdo
Gives victim a slimy hairdo
The Sleeping Bag Surprise
Creates an impossible mess inside your victim's sleeping bag
Sand, sleeping bag
The Toothpaste Prank
Wakes up someone who is snoring
Toothpaste, mouth breather
Supplies That You Will Need
Here is what you will need to execute these pranks:
- Plastic wrap
- Vaseline (or Icy Hot if you want to spice things up)
- Minty toothpaste
- Edge or Gillette gel foaming shaving cream (Gillette works best)
- A large Ziploc bag
- Sand (check around the campground)
- A small squirt gun
- Skunk oil or vinegar
- Hand lotion
1. The Saran Wrap Prank
The life of a prankster requires sacrifice. Sleep is a luxury of which the serious prankster gets very little of. In order for a prank to work effectively, it must completely surprise the victim. The beauty of this prank is the sudden impact it has. If the victim is still slightly asleep and dressed in shorts or briefs, this will surely wake them up! This is one of my personal favorites and a regular in my repertoire. I was using this one in college as well with excellent results! Here's how it's executed:
- Around 3 a.m. when most campers are fast asleep, move quietly to the bathroom.
- DO NOT rouse the counselor!
- Lift the seat of each toilet and dry the rim of the bowl completely (this is not glamorous, but it is necessary).
- Carefully stretch a piece of plastic wrap about 6-8 inches larger than the toilet bowl over the entire opening. Depending on the size and shape of the bowl, you may need to use more than one piece. If so, carefully overlap each piece slightly to avoid lines and any openings.
- Put the seat back down and prepare for laughs.
2. The Vaseline or Icy Hot Prank
While we are in the bathroom, let's talk about my next favorite prank and how to execute it:
Read More From Wehavekids
- If necessary, dry the toilet seat completely.
- Smear a light film of Vaseline over the entire toilet seat.
- If you are trying to get someone in particular, Icy Hot will really spice things up but use it with caution! Icy Hot will almost always get a response from the victim and it will not be friendly. The great thing about the Icy Hot is that the effect is not immediate. Even when the victim tries to wipe off the greasy mess, the warming sensation will linger.
3. The Ziploc Bag Ambush
This one only works if there is a gap of at least 1/2 of an inch under the victim's door. It is not my favorite prank, but it was one of the first I attempted to do so I will include it. You can pull this one off one of two ways: there is the barefoot blast or the generic cluster bomb. Here's how it works:
- Fill a large Ziploc bag full of foamy shaving cream.
- Zip the bag closed on both ends, but leave a small section of the center of the "zipper" open (about 1").
- Place the zipper portion of the bag as far under the door as possible.
- This step varies. If you wish to simply coat the room with the shaving cream, stomp on the back of the bag now and run! If you wish to perform the barefoot blast, knock on the door, wait for the unsuspecting camper to get close to the door, then stomp.
In order for the barefoot blast to have maximum impact, pull this prank in the wee hours of the morning when the victim is getting out of bed. He/she most likely won't have shoes on.
4. The Sneaky Squirt Gun
Long before the age of the Super Soaker, we had squirt guns that could fit in the palm of your hand. They were perfect for the covert missions we went on at summer camp. The chapel was always muggy in mid-July and there was no air conditioning in the building. Inevitably, the girls with long hair would put their hair up for church. There was nothing more satisfying than hitting the back of their bare necks with a shot of cold water. The sudden squeal was a great way to interrupt any meeting. How to execute this prank:
- Identify your target. Someone with an exposed neck is best. Make sure they are a few rows away from you to avoid being prosecuted for the crime.
- Get the coldest water you can find just before you enter the service (water warms rapidly in Central Michigan in July).
- Random targets are great, but choose someone who blew you off for greatest satisfaction.
For the particularly devious, cold water can be substituted with vinegar or skunk oil. Skunk oil and vinegar should only be reserved for revenge pranks on your nemesis; keep in mind that oil can ruin clothing so act appropriately.
5. The Hand Lotion Hairdo
This prank works best when the victim is courting a girl. It is harmless, yet your victim will be forced to take a shower to get his hair to look right. The great thing about this prank is that not even the most conscious veteran counselor will suspect foul play if you have a little hand lotion in your suitcase. How to execute this prank:
- Squeeze a liberal amount of hand lotion of your choice into the palm of your hand.
- Close in quietly on an unsuspecting victim.
- With a quick swipe, smear hand cream across the head of the victim and run.
6. The Sleeping Bag Surprise
Sometimes, things got a little serious. This is a prank that was played on me by one of my victims. Its result was very effective, though I never let my assailant know he got to me. I tried in vain to get all of the sand out of my sleeping bag. I finally had to throw it out. Here's how to execute the prank:
- Get two large handfuls of sand.
- Spread the sand evenly throughout the inside of the victim's sleeping bag.
- Carefully zip up the bag and smooth it out to eliminate any suspicion of tampering.
7. The Toothpaste Prank
It seems that every summer I have had someone who sleeps with their mouth open in my room. This is a perfect opportunity for a little fun:
- Smear a little minty toothpaste around the lips of the victim.
- In a few moments, the minty tingle with start to irritate the sleeper. If you can, squirt a small amount in the victim's mouth.
- Once the bubbles start to form, stand back and enjoy the show.
- If you want the prank to last, you can always nickname your victim the Colgate Kid and pester him all week.
Not all of these ideas are original. Most of them were passed down to me by older kids. I learned of their effectiveness by having them perpetrated against me! Please remember: If you plan to pull a prank, you MUST be willing get pranked.
Anonymous on January 17, 2020:
Ahhh yuss these are perfect. The shaving cream one is amazing since we have a camp rule about going into the girls cabin.
Kaitlyn on June 18, 2018:
I am going camping in one week my friends and I are going to start a prank war against our younger siblings, wish me luck
Jack on April 10, 2013:
Im definitely using some of these and then some for my raids tomorrow at the youth camp!!!! LOL thx
Britney on July 03, 2012:
Im going to do all of these and short sheet the beds at camp in 2 weeks! :D
Ellebelle on June 06, 2012:
My friend Jessie and I are going to girl's camp on Monday, and we have a pretty awesome prank planned. We are going to get some poppers, you know the things you get around the fourth of July, and when you throw them at the ground, they pop? Well, we're going to get some of those, and put them on the bottom of the other girls shoes and under the toilet seat. This way, when they least expect it, POP! And then they freak out and scream and we laugh:) another girl put shaving cream on the doorstep of another girl's cabin last year, but when one of the girls from that cabin got up to go to breakfast, she slipped and sprained her ankle. The girl who did it was sent home.
grace on January 22, 2012:
hey love the pranks totally wanna use em
kaylamac on November 23, 2011:
The boys put dead fish in our sinks and my cabin got them back by putting glitter on the floor.I heard it was still there 3 weeks later. haha I tried jello in the toilet bowl but i didn't get the water boiling so it didn't set up :(
Mollie on July 16, 2011:
we love pranking at church camp soooo much fun.....Peanut butter or vaselins on the indide of faucet handles. small water balloons under toilet seats so when they sit down they go plop. stealing the shower curtains. putting koolaid in the shower heads...bungy cording all the guys doors together so they cant get out. just a few..but the best is sitting back and watching the boys do pranks to eachother, we get more enjoyment out of that...lol we need some good clean ones cause we have a nice facility that we cant mess up...ideas anyone?
GA Andereson (Gus) from Maryland, USA on July 01, 2011:
Thanks for the tutorial. I plan on using the toilet seat saran wrap prank at our next Scout outing. If caught I will be sure to give you full credit.
And Drewson from United States on April 03, 2011:
Wow! This really ads to my "ye olde toolkit o' pranks"!
Stay at Home Dad (author) from Georgia on January 04, 2011:
Mini Mee and Yin Yang!
Fake bugs of any sort are always a great! I love putting tarantulas on a piece of thread (match the color of the thread to the color of the floor for greater effect) and dragging it through a crowded area.
Mini- best of luck with the pranks at Gaeltacht! Let me know which prank gets the most laughs.
Mini mee on January 04, 2011:
Hey dudes these r awesome prank ideas I'm goin 2 da Gaeltacht in the summer and if u don't no wot dis is it's a collage that u hav 2 speak Irish in an u stay in the locals houses but wen I say a collage I mean like a big place wer u learn Irish everyday 4 about 3 weeks in the summer u can go with ur friends but anyway I'm goin in da summer 4 da 1st time an Im hopin 2 do sum of dem pranks. So thanks dudes :)
YinYang on December 05, 2010:
omg yur pranks r missing the "fake cockroach on the toilet seat" put tape on the underside of a fake cockroach and stick it firmly on the toilet seat (if you are doing this in a public bathroom, GIRLS ONLY!!!!! if you are a guy, bribe a girl. we'll eather slap the s***
out of you or do it.) Now listen to the shrieaks & squiels!(oh, yeah i did this about 3 seconds ago. get the cockroach back afterwards. I did that ,too. D-U-H!!!)
ladyt11 on August 24, 2010:
Its nice to see someone who knows how to laugh and have lots of fun! I really enjoyed this hub especially the icy hot on the toilet seat and the warming sensation! LOL
Stay at Home Dad (author) from Georgia on August 18, 2010:
Sorry it has been so long since I have been on to moderate my comments. I have many more ideas and I need to force myself to take a little time to write another prank hub.
Kristina P on August 02, 2010:
I love all kinds of pranks, and I am going to be a camp counselor.. was wondering if there is anything for that... lol =)
Summer Camps on August 02, 2010:
I love summer camp pranks! Well unless you are the target :) I have used the wrap on the toilet, but the sleeping bag one is priceless! Can't wait employ that one.
kaylamac on June 26, 2010:
just got back from camp yesterday. most of the pranks used water balloons which caused and will cause extreme water shortage for the next 2 weeks there. one cabin of girls silly stringed a guys cabin. the boys took clothes off the lines and threw them onto the cabins. the other stuff on the lines a counselor took and put in a canoe and put that up in a high tree. we stole the guys shoes from outside the cabin (no girls in guys cabins & v.v) and we tried 2 put them into the lost & found so they'd have to sing for them but we got caught by a staff person. lol i was also planning to spiderweb the boys bathroom but that got shut down due to extreme drama leading to banning pranks.
samshabam on June 22, 2010:
hey everyone i need some help i am going on vacation with 4 of my best guy friends and i want to prank them realy bad but dont want to hurt them too bad i was hopping u could help me out they will all be sleeping in a camper outside of my cabin i am planning to do all of the pranks u have posted online but i was hopping u could come up with a huge one that i will pull on the last day or night if u could help me out that would be great
Ashley on May 31, 2010:
just wanted to say thanks for the pranks all the grade 7's in our school are going camping next week, the girls are all in one cabin and the boys in another, the teachers said we can pull as many pranks as we want on the boys as long as we don't hurt them... i think these pranks will some in very handy! :)
Morgan on May 12, 2010:
Hey guys! This will be my eleventh summer at camp -- third working there. my friends and i were BIG prankers in our hayday. here are some of my favorites --
1. PHANTOM: this is a simple one that can really turn into a tradition. we have what we call the phantom at our camp. it's as simple as this -- the pranksters sneak around camp at night and draw a "P" with sharpie on as many campers' faces as they can. in the morning when everyone wakes up branded, it's a lot of fun to try to figure out who the phantom was.
2. put glowstick fluid in the back of the toilet, so when someone flushes, the water comes in glowing.
3. fill a canoe with water, set it inside, and pop in a few live fish. its great fun to watch people try to figure out how to get it out of there.
those are my contributions to this great thread!
Delia on April 27, 2010:
Just to let you know, I used this list to write a short story about a group of girls at summer camp pulling pranks upon one another. I used the "Another Use for Toothpaste" Prank. Thanks!!
Alissa on February 17, 2010:
I was a Camp Director for the first time last year for a week long camp. All week long I heard about past Directors who the Counselors "got" and was anticipating it all week. Finally a cooler of ice cold water was thrown on me, I was covered in shaving cream and my golf cart that I drive around the property was silly stringed. I got them good though... I had my Regional Coordinator (who was visiting for a few days) tell the counselors that they were going to play a game with their campers during pool time. She (I) had all the Counselors line up next to each other blindfolded (including myself, they had to trust me) and she told them that their campers were going to tell them how many steps they needed to take to come as close to the edge of the pool without falling in. As she is explaining this me and my accompliance have unblindfolded ourselves and squirted Hershey's Chocolate Syrup all over the counselors and then jumped in the pool so they couldn't get us back. IT WAS AWESOME! They never suspected a thing! I am still waiting for their revenge on this one... I know its coming this summer! LOL We also took clear drop clothes and nailed them in front of each of the cabin's doors after every one went to sleep so when they woke up in the morning and tried to walk out of their cabin they were faced with a bit of a dilema. Good times. I am looking for pranks I can take with me to camp this summer. I have to be PREPARED!
Lauren on November 25, 2009:
Haha yeah nice pranks! When I was at camp this last summer the boys got us by changing the air conditioning (I live in Tx where its in the day and cold at night) from hot during the day to sneaking in at night and putting it on like forty.... and I want to get them back good.... this will help a lot.... Oh and check out my book (I know teenager, writing a book?) but yeah.... thanks again
Stay at Home Dad (author) from Georgia on August 14, 2009:
Love the duct tape on the Axe can idea. We used to steal our father's cologne, usually Old Spice or Brutte, and either splash a little on a passer by or drop a towel soaked with the stuff in their room. I like your idea much better!
Read the poem. You are very talented indeed. I'll comment on your hub as well... :-)
sophwall97 on August 10, 2009:
Heyo thanku for becoming a fan on my hub. Don't worry mum says when I get famous I wont 4get ya- ill buy all ur stuff of of e-bay! lol! Did u check out my poem? Thats the best one. k k bye :)
Scott on August 08, 2009:
Haha i love these pranks great job, im heading to camp tommorow and some anyone might want to consider include a can of either ax or tag and duct tape, tape down the nozzle and let it fly. Or if you want to really tick of the cabin and its neighboors try taping down an airhorn :-) thx
Stay at Home Dad (author) from Georgia on July 29, 2009:
Hey Kellie T.-
Ah yes, the classic panty raid! We boys found a way to sneak into the girl’s dorm and inevitably we would grab either the largest bra we could find or a slinky pair of panties (I don’t think thongs had been invented back then).
Well before dawn, those panties were run up the flagpole for all campers to view on their way to the dining hall for breakfast.
We actually asked the owner of a pair of pink and purple striped panties to remove them from the flag pole over the intercom one year. I don’t think the victim (who shall remain nameless) ever forgave us.
Never tried Tabasco in the Koolaid, but I think you and I would have had A LOT of fun had we teamed up at summer camp!
Thanks to you both for commenting… :-)
Willis (doggy dog) Jones on July 23, 2009:
wazzzzzzzzz up??? yeah once at camp me and my bros poured Tabasco sauce in all the koolaid man all of it! It was a HOT! prank
Kellie T. on July 23, 2009:
wow those are all really good pranks thanks for sharing them.
Once when i was at summer camp me and my cabin buddies dedcided to get even with the other girl cabin that was our same age they'd been pranking us all week and we'd had enough. Late that night we went into their cabin and took all their suitcases we boosted each other up to the roof of the cabin by standing on our tallest girls shoulders we hung all there bras and panties on the roof along with a ladder so they had no way to get up. When they woke up in the morning they were horrified and had no idea how to get their stuff back.It was hilarious when they came to us asking for things to wear and we simply denied them. its a classic prank but a great one
Stay at Home Dad (author) from Georgia on June 24, 2009:
Hey There KET,
Not sure if this is technically a "prank"- but anyone who can clear a room and make people vomit with his own emmissions is definitely worthy of mention. Some of my fondest childhhood memories were formed at summer camp.
Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment... :)
KET on May 17, 2009:
i don't know if you'd consider this a prank per say but i found it hilarious. the camp has boy and girl cabins and an advisor from each county has to stay in the cabin with their students. the camp serves eggs for breakfast every morning and an advisor in the boys cabin has a bit of a gassy issue with the eggs. the counselors come around to check the cabins every morning to make sure they are clean and whatnot. well the advisor went into the bathroom and really stunk the entire cabin up and when the advisors came up he told them that there was a real problem in there and he didn't know what he could do to fix it. so all of the counselors walk into the cabin and come running out gagging and a couple of them threw up but one tells him he doesn't know what crawled up in there and died but that he needed to see a doctor pronto. lol
Deb4FlatTires from Tennessee on August 30, 2008:
I'm a high school teacher in the projects that spends her summers as a summer camp counselor. One of the most enjoyable aspects of summer camp is pranks. I love playing pranks and even get a kick out of the "revenge" pranks I suffer. lol. Harmless pranks and naughty harsher ones a part of the fun when you decide to walk on the wild side of pranking mischievious young ladies. As the old saying goes, when you play with glue someone you get stuck. ;)
The first day I was a newbie camp counselor about 28 years ago, I walked down the steps of my cabin and into a bucket of sticky tar. I retrieved my foot, but left my bobbie sock and sneaker behind. At that point, I understood the lay of the land, proceeded to "get revenge," and never looked back. lol. The 30 something year old soccer mom that set the tar trap found her 1976 Ford station wagon sitting on its rims alone. Little did she know that her relatively new tires were being used as rope swings on an oak tree. lol. Now how I pulled that off is another story in and of itself.One of the activities I covertly participate in is primarily pranks played upon the other young camp counselors. It's hard to play pranks and not brag to anyone at camp; therefore, I relish the opportunity to tell a story or two via the internet. As a counselor with a degree of seniority, I have keys to everything and know the camp well. One of the first pranks I play on new counselors is enter their cabins and cut the ends out of their socks. At camp, we never wear socks with our sneakers because of various water activities. Ah the look on a new counselor's face when her socks pull up to her knee caps. lol. Another good prank is putting itching powder in between sheets. Some girls could not understand why they did not get a good night's rest. lol. Another prank I've performed many times is cutting shoe laces almost completely in half. When attempting to tie, the laces break in half. They had to tie them in knots to lace up. One last prank was to mix up all of the girls clothes between cabins. One t-shirt would be in another's luggage, etc. A size 6 shoe would be matched with a similar size 7 1/2 shoe in another cabin. This drove the girls nuts. Some may think that I'm crazy (and i probably am crazy lol); however, we all have a great time each summer. Moreover, I suffer my own share of similar pranks each summer. My hot little Mustang GT is usually a good target for the girls. Last summer, the girls completely smeared peanut butter all over her. Even though it did not hurt the paint, I'm still cleaning the goo off. lol. At least they did not put a dead fish under the seat again. The smell takes forever to go away. lolol. I deserve it though. Thanks, Debbie
Stay at Home Dad (author) from Georgia on August 08, 2008:
That sounds awesome! I will definitely keep that one in my back pocket for my next camp outing!
Thank you for reading my hub...
glassvisage from Northern California on August 07, 2008:
Another fun (mean) thing... if you freeze shaving cream, you can pry off the top and slide the frozen cream out of the can. Stick it in someone's bed or suitcase, let it defrost and allow to expand and seep into every crevice. Heehee
Stay at Home Dad (author) from Georgia on July 20, 2008:
Zsuzsy Bee- There are so many more I could list, some not as tame, but I didn’t want to give my twelve year old any ideas. I may break down and write some more later. I am always happy to hear of others as well.
So glad I could help bring back some memories. I really enjoyed reliving those days through this hub as well…
Zsuzsy Bee from Ontario/Canada on July 19, 2008:
We need to compare notes sometime. As much as I hate to confess to this, I guess I was up there with the top culprits... not even the nuns were safe... and this went on all year around not just at summer camp...
fun hub and thanks for bringing back some of the best memories
Stay at Home Dad (author) from Georgia on July 19, 2008:
I was a prankster with a conscience.
I never wanted to damage property or hurt anyone, just make them mad. It was great fun and I never got away with more than what I had played on me. I am sorry you missed out on summer camp as a kid. I hope you had a chance to live vicariously through my shenanigans. :-)
Dottie1 from MA, USA on July 19, 2008:
I didn't have a chance as a kid to go away to a summer camp and now I know what I missed. My fave too is the ziplock ambush. If I really wanted to get even perhaps I'd go for the siran wrap prank. Then again maybe it would be fun to try them all to see what works best. Fun hub, thanks.
Stay at Home Dad (author) from Georgia on July 19, 2008:
My beautiful bride enjoys 'hearing' my stories, but she has made it very clear she does not want to be an active participant. Glad I made you smile... :-)
The How To Hub from Australia on July 18, 2008:
You don't need original ideas to get results ; ) Great hub.
p.s if I was your wife I would have killed you.......s....l....o....w....l......y - some things are best not shared with your other half! thanks for the laugh - fav was the zip lock ambush.
Stay at Home Dad (author) from Georgia on July 18, 2008:
I tried the bucket of cold water over the shower curtain rod- once! Thanks for reading... :-)
Jeanette M on July 18, 2008:
I'll bet you play a few pranks on your wife and family too! Remind me not to sign up at any camps without first taking out insurance!