DEAR SOMEONE ELSE’S MOM: Last Halloween, a group of kids spray-painted cuss words on the street and several trees in our neighborhood. We had only moved in a few weeks before, and we didn’t really know any of the neighbors. Since then, we’ve made friends with several, and although our kids are still very young, it’s mostly teenagers who live in the houses closest to ours.
One of the teenagers who sometimes babysits for us told me that there are plans to take the graffiti a step further this year and hit the library down the street, and the elementary school where our daughter goes to kindergarten. She told me who came up with this idea, and it’s the twin sons of the people who live two doors down.
Do I say something to their parents? I don’t like the idea of curse words being sprayed all over our neighborhood, much less on the library and elementary school. --- DO I TELL?
DEAR DO I TELL: Old-school Halloween pranks like doorbell ringing and toilet-papering someone’s shrubs are generally harmless. What you’re talking about is vandalism, and that’s criminal.
Since you’re working on hearsay, even if it’s from what you consider a reliable source, rather than confronting the parents of the potential spray-painters, you might want to notify your HOA or neighborhood watch, if you have one. Also contacting the local police that there are rumors of upcoming destructive activities might result in a heightened police presence that could serve as a deterrent to the would-be vandals.