Every noble prankster knows that there is a certain honor code associated with the art, without which pranking degenerates into painful wars.
The Prankster's Honor Code:
Rule 1. Do no harm. It's important that this come first, and be clearly defined. Pranks should result in no physical injury to the recipient and no permanent damage to material goods.
- Corollary 1.1: Messes. Messes are in most cases acceptable when they are in no way permanent and do not require special means of cleaning. In general, sticky is mean. As an example: filling a room with packing peanuts is a decent prank. Filling a room with cotton candy -- not so much.
- Corollary 1.2: Timing. Timing is critical. At my university, the first two weeks of a quarter and finals week are the ideal times. However, special consideration should be given to the specific recipients. Don't trap someone in her apartment who as an exam at 8am. This relates directly to Rule 2.
Rule 2. Know your target. Some people like pranks, some do not. It's always better to find out before you prank than after. Think of it as an extra challenge to discover this information without raising suspicion.
Rule 3. Have fun on both ends. (1) If the act of the prank no longer carries any excitement for you, or (2) if you can't appreciate pranks done to you, get out of the business.
Rule 4. Don't get caught. This requires significant planning, and in some cases practicing a prank to ensure that it is done flawlessly. The corollaries here are mostly tips, rather than rules.
- Corollary 4.1: Contingency Plans. Always have a plan B.
- Corollary 4.2: Escape. Always have more than one way out.
- Corollary 4.3: Silence. Don't tell anyone more than they absolutely need to know. Even people who are involved in some aspect of the prank may not need to know every detail.
- Corollary 4.4: Red-handed. In the event that you are caught red-handed, incorporate those who caught you into the plan.