Since Trick or Treating season is upon us I thought I'd share a prank that dates back to at least the 18th century. In present day it is called "Short-sheeting" but in the late 1700s it had the more creative moniker of "Apple-Pye Bed."1 This prank is probably as old as sheets and was a popular prank up and through WWII where soldiers pranked their pards. 2
An Apple-Pye Bed is when the person making the bed folds the bed sheet in half, with both ends tucked at the top of the bed so that when the unsuspecting victim tries to slide in, they get stuck half way down the bed. As you might imagine, this prank was popular with sisters making beds for brothers.
It received the name "apple pie" bed as the folded sheet was similar to a turnover apple pie in which a single crust is folded over the filling and baked. The term "apple pie bed" is still more commonly used in the UK today to describe this prank. Click here for more detailed instructions on how to trick your loved ones. :)
1 Grose, Francis. A Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue. The 2nd ed. London: Printed for S. Hooper, 1788. 5.
2 Tomblin, Barbara. G.I. Nightingales the Army Nurse Corps in World War II. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1996. 121.