Poisson D’avril! – April Fools…French Style

DIY Paper Fish!

Poisson D’avril! - April Fools...French Style

Gianna Kapanov, Contributor

April Fools’ Day, celebrated on April 1st each year, has been celebrated for several centuries by different cultures, though its exact origins remain a mystery. April Fools’ Day traditions include playing hoaxes or practical jokes on others, often yelling “April Fools!” at the end to clue in the subject of the April Fools’ Day prank. However, in France, their tradition is very different.

Many French children make paper fish and then go to school and tape them to unsuspecting classmates’ backs. This is described as “coller un poisson dans le dos de quelqu’un”. Sticking paper fish onto each other’s backs may not be the thing every single schoolkid does in France, but this custom absolutely authentically does exist, and it goes back generations.

Poisson d’avril, is what French people say for April fools day. It’s the tradition in France to play practical jokes on friends and shout “Poisson d’avril”  when they discover the joke. Today, we are going to try their French tradition and make some paper fish!

What You Need:

  • Construction paper
  • Googly eyes
  • Scissors 
  • Thin Tape
  • Color Coding Stickers

The very first step is to cut out as many paper fish as you want. You can trace them off the internet first, if that makes it easier for you.

Next, use your color coding stickers and put them all around, so that you can make it look like the fish have scales on their backs.

After that, you can add on your googly eyes, so that your fish can see! Lastly, add a strip of tape where the mouth belongs so that you can stick your fish onto people’s backs.


Just like that, you have the perfect “Poisson d’avril” prank! You’re now ready to celebrate April Fool’s Day in true French fashion!