You end up getting pretty close to your housemates when you live in a shared place, and there are plenty of things you’d only do around them. Next time you’re whinging about your roomies leaving teabags on the kitchen worktops or not taking out the rubbish, remember that they are a hilarious bunch really. And if you’re after some prankster inspiration, look no further…
“My old housemate Adam and I pranked each other often. It made life a lot more fun. He had a Chucky doll with a big plastic head, which I used to hide under a very flat duvet so he didn’t find him until he actually got into bed. I’d do this every few weeks – it never got boring as I’d dress the doll up differently and sometimes I’d put a celebrity mask on it. This prank worked particularly well when he brought a lady back from a hot date. I’d just hear a ‘Kaaaaate!!!’.
“We had a prosthetic arm we ‘acquired’ from work (it had a plastic human hand
and a fabric sleeve). In retaliation he would stick it in the wardrobe so it sprang out when I opened the door up. He would
then hear ‘Adaaaaaam!’”
Kate Baller, 30, TV producer
One of the lads
“I live with three boys so, as you can imagine, it’s pretty male heavy! We have certain house phrases like ‘doubling down’. That started because two of the boys like to play basketball and spread from there. It’s now used for things like ‘doubling down with gin and rum’. There are also lots of nicknames – everyone is ‘kiddo’ or ‘champ’. And there’s lots of very crude stuff, which, for decency, I won’t mention!
“One Christmas, two of the boys got Nerf guns for each other’s secret Santa presents without realising. The third boy felt left out, so had to get one, too. They like to turn off all the lights in the house and pretend not to be in – then there’s an ambush!
“We’ve also got a noticeboard in the kitchen with a drawing of an animal called ‘Cave Bird’ who tells everyone if things need tidying up or says thanks for doing the tidying (which happens much less!).”
Natasha, 23, marketing manager
Forgotten birthday, cold shoe shame
“When I was at uni, I lived in a house of seven girls. And we loved our pranks. We’d know when someone had brought a guy home, because we’d see his shoes at the bottom of the stairs. So we used to put them in the freezer, and then burst into the person’s room singing Happy Birthday. Sadly, the boys in question never used to find this as funny as we did once they realised what was going on. Especially as they had to do the walk of shame in their cold shoes …”
Alex Saggers, 24, PR
After the fear comes the fun…
“We watched Paranormal Activity on Halloween and then my housemate, also called Rich, spent a couple of weeks hiding around the house and jumping out at people to scare them – mostly me. He used to hide in my wardrobe and under my bed.
“The best one, and also the worst, was when he hid in my wardrobe and tried to jump out but he went through the floor of it. He totally wrote it off. I always got really scared, but then I always tried to get him back far too quickly so he always knew it was coming. I should’ve waited longer. But once, he was smoking outside on the balcony and I just stared at him out of the window with my hood up until he turned around. That properly scared him.
“But it’s not just about the pranks – there are so many more nice things we do for each other. We make tea all the time and go to pub quizzes every other Monday. We also have steak-and-shake nights once a week, usually on a Sunday, where we eat steak and make our own milkshakes.”
Rich Soames, 24, comedian
All’s fair in love and pranking
“My housemate used to boil all my eggs when I was out and put them back in the carton in the fridge. He forgot he’d done it once, until I went to make us egg on pizza – I threw them at him. It was a love/ hate thing, we got along really well – it was big brother/ little sister-type relationship so we’d snipe at each other or play pranks, then make up afterwards.
“Our other housemate hadn’t paid her share of the bills and was really scared of balloons. So one day when she was out, we filled her room with them and refused to remove them until she wrote us a cheque for what she owed. She was never late on payments again …”
Lexy Rose, 24, events planner