Summer Pranks

July 23, 2012

This week, we’re staying at our cousin’s house in Colorado, and yesterday morning, we woke up to find the house had been toilet-papered! Our little kids were wide-eyed with fascination and delight — they had never witnessed anything like this before.

Did you ever go toilet-papering as kid? As a teenager, I loved it. It felt sneaky, and a little cheeky (toilets!), but ultimately harmless. I ran with a pretty straight-laced group of friends (no drinking or partying), so toilet-papering was a good outlet for excess energy on the weekend. We would toilet paper friends’ homes, the homes of boys we had crushes on, even the homes of teachers we knew could take a joke. And I loved when my house was the target as well. I felt like it implied that people knew my family had a sense of humor.

In contrast, a friend that grew up on the East Coast, told me toilet-papering was considered as serious vandalism in her town, and that people were offended by it. So I know it means different things in different communities.

What’s your take: Innocent pastime? Or would you be offended if your house was toilet-papered (no egging, no forks in the lawn, just plain-old toilet paper)? Did you ever try it as a kid? Would you let your own kids toilet-paper someone’s house?

Image here.

Related Posts with Thumbnails

{ 118 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Malia O. July 23, 2012 at 10:35 am

I guess I view it more on the side of vandalism, but I’ve never partaked or seen it done in person. Maybe you could explain what forks in the lawn is though…?


2 robyn July 23, 2012 at 10:46 am

my SIL takes her kids and their friends TP-ing whenever they have sleep-overs. they always check with the home owners first (to make sure folks won’t be offended) and they also always go and clean it up the next day for the homeowners as well … i like that added detail!

where i grew up, it was something you did to folks you didn’t like (and was usually accompanied by egging and forking), so i’m not a huge fan. however, the way folks look at it here in Omaha, i may have to convert!


3 Corrin July 23, 2012 at 10:47 am

My mom used to drive the getaway car (mini-van) while my friends and I tp’d.


4 Natalie July 23, 2012 at 10:47 am

We did it all the time growing up! It was so fun. In turn our house got it too, a lot. But it was never to be mean, it was always like you said, friends houses or boys we liked :)


5 Victoria Regina July 23, 2012 at 10:48 am

Toilet papering is actually a time-honored tradition at my college, called “Rolling the Quad”. After we win a game, we decided it was too much trouble to go TP the loser’s school, and so we just toilet paper the trees and bushes on our upper quad. The year we qualified to go to the Orange Bowl, the quad was so covered in TP that it looked like a blizzard, with Wait Chapel rising above the “snow”. You can actually still buy a picture of that in the campus bookstore. Good times!


6 Natalie July 23, 2012 at 10:48 am

In fact, my boyfriend in high school asked me to a dance by using TP in my yard to write the message…


7 NellaBean July 23, 2012 at 10:50 am

That photo is lovely, so artistically done!

But where I grew up, in central Illinois, I would have been horribly ashamed if our house had been the target. TP-ing was done as an act of bullying.

It’s so interesting to know that it could have regional meaning!


8 Tara Jane July 23, 2012 at 10:55 am

TPing a yard in Connecticut was definately considered mean. My brother was accused of TPing a teacher’s yard (which he did not do) and the teacher still holds it against my family, 20 years later! I wonder if the fun/mean line is draw dependant on the rain/ humidity levels. It is actually pretty hard to clean up if it gets wet.


9 Design Mom July 23, 2012 at 11:56 am

Good observation, Tara! It’s so dry here, that we had the yard picked up in a few minutes. Easy peasy. But if it had been wet, what a pain!


10 Helena July 23, 2012 at 12:50 pm

I just came here to say that (about the rain!). It was generally considered harmless in my neighborhood growing up (northern suburbs of Chicago) but if it rained…. oy. That was no good.


11 Cara July 23, 2012 at 10:56 am

Oh Goodness. I grew up in Texas where it was pretty much the norm. That along with stealing street signs and traffic signs too. It is what slumber parties were made of.

When we moved to Colorado in High School here, it was pretty much the same. One time my now brother in law t-peed our house. We lived on a corner, so it was even more prominent. Him and a bunch of his wrestling team friends did this to “express their love and fondness” for my sister. My Mom was so done at that point since they were Seniors and she had had more t-peeing experiences with 2 daughters then she could remember. She made my sister call all of them up to come and clean it up the next day. I am pretty sure she was mortified, but hey it all worked out in the end since they are happily married.

Best part though, every time someone would come and t-pee our house my Mom would save all of the toilet paper in large trash bags and make us use it. And only when the bag was gone could we get a new roll.

Thanks for bringing back the memories this morning!


12 Mary July 23, 2012 at 10:58 am

I guess I have no sense of humor. I’d be pissed, and no I’d never let my kids do it. What a pain to have to clean up!


13 Becca F July 23, 2012 at 11:01 am

I loved tping! I’m pretty sure my parents knew what was going on, but never pressed for information when I was sneaking out the door with 30 rolls of toilet paper. Same for us–tping meant someone had a crush on you.


14 AngelB July 23, 2012 at 11:01 am

My father was a high school teacher and the head basketball coach. To make matters worse, our house was two blocks from the school. Waking up to toilet paper all over our house was the norm.

Every so often, my Dad would catch wind of a TP plan in advance. Then he’d wait in the bushes with the garden hose. Those nights were the best.
Giggle, giggle, shh, shh, giggle, giggle, SCREAM!!!


15 Design Mom July 23, 2012 at 11:57 am

Love that!


16 Kendyl July 22, 2013 at 4:36 pm

Love that he was so into it!


17 Kimberly July 22, 2013 at 5:22 pm

The hose! Awesome!


18 Jules July 23, 2012 at 11:09 am

I don’t like it. At my high school, it was a sign you weren’t liked. During my senior year, two girls tp’d my house as a loud-and-clear message that they hated me. (Short story: I become popular that year after losing weight, and they didn’t like that the shy, introverted chubby girl had a change in status. Ironically, enough, the shy, introverted chubby girl didn’t like it, either, but that’s another story.)

It was horrible, and cost my parents a great expense because when the sprinklers come on, all that toilet paper gets wet and sticks to the trees. It’s not going anywhere anytime soon without hired help.

So, no, I don’t think it’s funny or cheeky or even remotely amusing. ;)


19 Jules July 23, 2012 at 11:50 am

Oh, and in case I didn’t get the message the first time, they did it again the weekend after my parents paid to have it cleaned up. Then they bragged about it at school. This was all during the rainy season, of course…


20 Design Mom July 23, 2012 at 11:58 am

How frustrating, Jules! I have never heard of having to call in professionals to clean up TP’ing. I’m sure it would have upset me as well.


21 Jules July 23, 2012 at 12:21 pm

Oh, no clean-up professional. :) Just gardeners with really tall ladders! We had orange groves and at the time they extended to the front yard. Hah! They got me good.


22 bdaiss July 23, 2012 at 11:10 am

It had mixed messages where I grew up (farm town, Illinois). Sometimes it was directed towards people you didn’t like, sometime towards those you did (and knew could take it). The one and only time I accompanied a TP mission (with a half dozen friends) my mom discovered our dark o’night activities and made me go clean it all up the next day. Thank heaven we’d only hit a couple houses. And we’d done it in fun, not out of meanness. Such a party pooper my mom. To be fair, she taught in the school I went to and our house was often tp’d, usually by kids who were mad at her/didn’t like her. Huh. I was usually stuck cleaning THAT up too. Harumph.


23 hyzen July 23, 2012 at 11:12 am

Yep, east coaster here, and TPing was only done (as far as I know) to someone you didn’t like as form of bullying, or possibly as a random act of vandalism. It never happened to us, but I think a person whose home was TPd would feel victimized and pissed. I consider it equivalent to egging, but probably harder to clean up, and possibly more wasteful. I agree with the earlier comment that wet TP would be no fun at all to clean up, and maybe it rains more out here than it does in the west….


24 Design Mom July 23, 2012 at 12:00 pm

Too funny! It’s the opposite in dry climates. Our house was egged once and we never did figure out how to get it cleaned all the way up. It absolutely baked on to the stucco.


25 hyzen July 24, 2012 at 10:51 am

Ooh, hot egg on stucco does not sound good–I never thought about that. We were the victims of a random egging one Halloween–they hit our brick garage, which was obnoxious, but was pretty easy to scrub off the next day. Cool, damp weather certainly helps in that situation.


26 Erin July 25, 2012 at 1:44 pm

We had the same–egg on stucco. It was late at night while it happened, I was a teenager upstairs re-decorating my room with my light on, so I think it was simply someone awake that they saw. It was a desert climate, so the windows were open…egg on the screen, window, stucco, carpet inside. Normally I’d be flattered with TPing, but that made me mad. It was mean, and I wanted to find out who did it.


27 TracieMcOB July 23, 2012 at 11:13 am

wow! That picture really brought back some memories. Growing up in a family of 7 in Southern California, my older brothers’ friends (I am the youngest. out of 5 boys & 2 girls) TP’d our house alot! It was really innocent fun! One time my parents were so enthralled by the TP job, they actually took pictures. Our entire house, a one-story California Ranch, and large front yard with tall trees, was completely covered in TP. You could see any grass or the house itself. What a time we had picking that up. Thanks for the great memory.


28 alexis July 23, 2012 at 11:13 am

Ah yes! I was in the “good kid” group too. We didn’t drink. We didn’t throw crazy parties. But we DID do lots of pranks, mostly on the boys. There were lots of nights of toilet-papering (tee-pee-ing we called it), forking, leaving cryptic messages spelled out in goldfish crackers on front steps and cramming 12 people into one car to speed away. Minus the bad driving, it was all harmless fun.


29 Geevz July 23, 2012 at 11:19 am

In my neck of the woods it was done affectionately, but perhaps it was just my group of friends. I knew some fellows at my high school who did it spitefully. My parents always preferred us to “heart attack” people by covering their lawn with construction paper hearts on skewers. All the sneaking fun with no doubt behind the meaning.

Of course, it is probably because my mom felt that toilet papering was an expensive and wasteful pastime. Sometimes we’d just put one package on a doorstep with a note saying “You’ve been TPed by a Pollock.”


30 Helena July 23, 2012 at 12:52 pm

I’ve seen people do “heart attacks” with flour and a stencil!


31 Amanda B. July 23, 2012 at 11:27 am

Seems wasteful. And it rains here A LOT so I imagine then it would be hard to clean up.


32 Design Mom July 23, 2012 at 12:03 pm

There’s no getting around that it’s wasteful, but probably less than you might think when you look at images. I remember we could make quite an impact with 4 or 5 rolls.


33 nola July 23, 2012 at 11:31 am

While it seems harmless, I think it seems wasteful to be throwing away all these toilet paper. (even if some toilet paper are made from recycled paper.) Sorry for being a party-pooper.


34 chelsea July 23, 2012 at 11:38 am

I admittedly think it’s a childhood/tween must. I LOVED doing it when I was a kid. In fact, I remember, one of the most fun I had with my parents (gasp!) was when they took us to toilet paper our aunt and uncle! It was so fun, and I still love them for it. If it’s all in good fun I’m a fan. Let kids be kids!


35 Megan July 23, 2012 at 11:41 am

Wow! That looks like a nightmare to clean!! And so high up!!! Around here you don’t see it often…it’s seen as vandalism (on par with graffiti). The kind of thing where if you TP’d someone’s house, they would find you and beat you up. I’m fascinated by your account of it being seen as harmless fun in your neck of the woods. That sounds nice. :)


36 Beth July 23, 2012 at 11:43 am

Maybe it seems more innocent and fun in dryer climates? if it rains on the TP, what a huge mess. I grew up in Ohio, and TPing definitely was a form of bullying there – the “cool” kids used to TP less popular kids’ homes. Sorry – I don’t find anything charming about it.


37 Cec July 23, 2012 at 11:47 am

I grew up in the east and it was definitely a “mean” thing to do. Plus it’s so wet most of the time that it made a huge, soggy, uncleanable mess! But if it’s good clean fun in the desert, then I say go for it :)


38 Sarah H July 23, 2012 at 11:51 am

I agree! If my kids tp’d I’d be mad.


39 Lindsay July 23, 2012 at 11:58 am

I’m from Scotland, and I’ve never even heard of this before. It seems incredibly wasteful, and not a little bizarre. The closest we have here is knocking on someone’s door and running away. Or perhaps it’s equivalent to some kids who would throw flour and eggs at someone on their birthday. In general, girls who were too pretty, too clever, or too something else, were targeted. It was a pretty horrible bullying tactic, and if I’m honest, this smacks of that too. Whilst I’m sure some people find it fun, and funny, I’m sure that vast majority of teenagers who have this happen to them feel mortified and victimised.

Aside from all that, I just can’t get over how wasteful it is!


40 Pamela Balabuszko-Reay July 23, 2012 at 5:22 pm

It is a little weird.

The knocking on the doors we did when we were little…and it was considered very naughty.

Ring the doorbell and it is called “Ding-dong ditch”

No doorbell at the house? “Knock-knock scram!”


41 Shannon July 23, 2012 at 12:01 pm

I grew up on in New England and it’s definitely a form of bullying. I can’t even imagine wasting all that toilet paper either though. It does sound in the spirit of “flocking” that we do there though. If your house is “flocked” you wake up to several dozen pink flamingos hanging out on your lawn. The fun is in picking the next house to secret “flock” overnight!


42 Elizabeth July 23, 2012 at 12:09 pm

I grew up in Tennessee and it was usually something you did when you didn’t like the person. And it rains all the time there. In Colorado, with few trees as there are here :) and as little rain as we get it might not be quite the same thing.


43 Chantalle July 23, 2012 at 12:11 pm

Definitely a fun thing to do in Northern California. I was in the “good kids” group as well, and we spent our summers doing funny stuff like this. It was usually boys v. girls. Once the boys found a double oven in front of someone’s home labeled ‘free’ so when all of the girls were gathered at a house they would move it behind one of the girls’ car so she couldn’t’ get out. It was always so funny to come outside to this huge oven! It eventually was donated after a few weeks of fun. Another time we had a boys v. girls ‘war’ where the girls spent the night at a house about 5 minutes away from where the boys were spending the night. You were allowed to TP, use water balloons/hoses, or try to scare each other. We went back and forth all night (until us girls decided to stop and talk and make cookies and the boys not only TP’d but also snuck around back and jumped by the window and scared us so bad! We retaliated by coming over at about 6 in the morning and waking them up. We all get together now, 10 years later, and talk about it as one of our favorite nights.
So basically, if your house was targeted it meant that out of all the girls, they picked your house to get! What an honor :)


44 Lori July 23, 2012 at 12:20 pm

TPing was definitely vandalism where I grew up in NE Oklahoma. It was usually only done because someone didn’t like someone else. A common thing was to dump a bunch of the TP in the backyard pool, too. For several people in our neighborhood that meant hundreds of dollars to completely replace the pump. So, TPing as a whole began to be quite an awful thing to do. Actually, forking occasionally happened. It was considered to be all in good fun.


45 Helena July 23, 2012 at 12:53 pm

In the pool? That’s so evil!


46 Kaely July 23, 2012 at 12:24 pm

We live in a wet area and it’s still not all that hard to clean up. We even use to use the hose to spray it down when it got stuck way up in the trees.

Around here it’s tradition for high school kids to roll their dates house the wednesday before homecoming. It’s called White Wednesday. The kids go in big groups, design matching t-shirts, there are huge displays and discounts on toilet paper around homecoming time and frequently parents are driving.


47 Tami July 23, 2012 at 12:25 pm

It was just good clean fun where I came from-small town Iowa. I fondly recall TPing a teacher’s house. We adored her and she laughed about it with us after the fact. We did also help her clean up though.
I see no harm in it. There are plenty of things teens can occupy their time with that are much more harmful or disrespectful. I would have no qualms about my teen TPing as long as it was done as good clean fun.


48 Sonya July 23, 2012 at 12:31 pm

I have never done it, and I do find it a bit funny. However, if I had kids and their friends toilet papered our house, I would definitely be calling their parents to tell their children to come on over and assist my children clean it up. You make the mess, you clean it up! Thoroughly!


49 Annie July 23, 2012 at 12:38 pm

Another east coast-er here, and I agree that I thought of TPing as a form of bullying or vandalism. It’s kind of like egging someone’s house–not dangerous, but definitely mean-spirited. But I also don’t remember anyone really doing this in my high school/neighborhood.


50 Hayley July 23, 2012 at 12:47 pm

My mom was against it and told me I’d be in big trouble if she ever found out (in our tiny, tiny small town) that I had been doing it. My best friend’s mom always drove the getaway car (a hoopty caddy) and I just rode along. To this day, I can honestly say that I never threw a roll, but was always there. And here, it was all in good fun, usually done to someone you liked – girls wrapped boy houses, and vice versa.. Eggs were a no-no. We even put un-used pads on boyfriends tires and stuff. Why? I have no idea, but as teenagers, we thought it was funny. If my house ever got wrapped, my parents made ME clean it up, which I thought was grossly unfair. It wasn’t my fault that some guy decided to do that! :)


51 Deanna July 23, 2012 at 12:55 pm

New Englander here, and TPing was definitely vandalism. I only heard of it happening to one girl in high school and she was not well liked. As I recall she graduated early to get out of town. :-/


52 Mark July 23, 2012 at 12:59 pm

Grew up in California where TP’ing was good, clean fun. It was more of an affectionate prank as we only TP’d the houses of people we liked. I would much rather have my house TP’d than egged or paint-balled.


53 Jules July 23, 2012 at 5:26 pm

I’m from California, and in my city (or at least my high school) it was a form of bullying. I think it depends more on the motives of the kids TP’ing or maybe even the city culture. Who knows!


54 Deborah July 23, 2012 at 1:03 pm

This was a tradition in our small east coast town. Most often on “mischief night,” the night before Halloween. It was a big deal, because you would get in huge trouble if you were caught. It was a sign of disrespect to the home owners.


55 Annie July 23, 2012 at 1:04 pm

In Utah it was/is a funny thing. It was good-natured teasing where I come from. It’s funny this is posted now, two weeks ago we were TP’d and my husband and I had a good laugh about it. Egging is a whole different story, but TP is funny and fun to me.


56 smee July 23, 2012 at 1:09 pm

Where we grew up this was considered a compliment or an honour -albeit a tacky one! The more elaborate the job the more of the compliment implied. Often, at HS year end awards assemblies, teachers would eagerly await the announcement of which teacher earned the most “awards” that year from their devoted students.

I remember the year my brother and his “team” were challenged. This was back when you could purchase t.p. in vibrant colours, turquoise, orange, lime green, you name it. We had all gone with him to do the deed and we walked away knowing we had won. We had swags, florettes, poms, and all manner of streaming. The nail in the coffin was the actual toilet our mom had found abandoned in a field. It was clean, so it went in the center of the yard with rainbows streaming, dare I say flowing forth onto the yard. Yes, it won him a prom date of the young woman who lived there.

Those you wanted to “dis” were simply given a “four pack” of the cheapest t.p. available with a sticky note that read “do it yourself” placed on the door step. Or a “misplaced” real estate sign that managed to find its’ place in your front lawn, suggesting “you need to move”.

“Forking”* came into play much later, but again, when done with flair, is considered a compliment, as are “popcorning” a door** and or giving someone a “heart attack”.*** These are up there with unscrewing any creme centered sandwich cookie (oreo, nutter butter) and placing said cookies on windows of your loved one’s vehicle (hopefully after filling the vehicle with balloons).

Absolutely forbidden was the egging or flaking****, which was destructive and vandalism. Unfortunately my brother also involved himself in this activity which ended him providing free lawn care service (among other indignities) for a year to the recipient. Lesson: play nice with things that can be easily removed without doing harm to anyone or anything!

*Forking = placing the prong end of disposable plastic forks into a lawn in decorative or random patterns
**Popcorning =using butcher paper taped to size, a message or greeting such as “let it snow!” is written on the paper. The paper is then taped to the exterior front door frame, making sure to leave a small space at the top wherein popped popcorn may be lowered into the space created. When the recipient opens the door in the morning, the popcorn falls into the house, creating “snow” on an otherwise normal morning.
***Heart Attack = cutting a few hundred paper hearts and taping them to a spike of some kind (skewer, plastic fork, knife, etc.) and then placing said hearts all over a loved one’s lawn. Messages may be written suggesting the depth of devotion intended.
****Flaking =sprinkling any flake type cereal all over someone’s lawn, which, when the dew comes in the morning will decompose too quickly to remove, thus rot, stink, invite all manner of creepy crawlies, and eventually destroy said lawn. When (not if) caught, persona involved will be prosecuted and punished to the inth degree by goodly parents who wish their offspring to learn a lesson for life and never forget it, and perhaps even by the police.


57 Anna Segrest July 23, 2012 at 1:13 pm

This was a favorite pastime of my best friend and her parents. I have many great memories rolling yards. However, it is important to target people who can hang and who can take a joke…sometimes, our targets didn’t appreciate the love we were trying to share!


58 Jeannie Van Popta July 23, 2012 at 1:19 pm

I’m all for friendly pranks among friends and neighbours but that is such a waste of paper!


59 Kristy July 23, 2012 at 1:25 pm

Grew up in TX with a Jr. High Football coach for a father, so our house was TP’d more than once and it was always in good fun. My friends and I did it, too, to boys we had crushes on and our friends. One time, my dad knew that one of his favorite students was having a slumber party and he saw on the invite that it said to bring toilet paper. When he woke up the next morning to a front yard a snowy white (in June. in TX.), he had no doubts who was behind it. He called the student’s house and told her mom, “I think your daughter and her friends left some personal items outside my house” and they came back to clean it up. My mom went and got them all donuts and they had the best time ever. I don’t think they would have done it to any other teacher, they knew he would get a kick out of it.


60 Jessica July 23, 2012 at 1:27 pm

Growing up in Colorado we did it and it was great fun! Once it snowed over the tp and froze. That was not good. I was always bummed no one tp’d me. Now we live in Hawaii and I’ve never seen a house tp’d.


61 kpaull July 23, 2012 at 1:31 pm

I had a slumber party one year, and my best friend’s twin brother had a small sleepover as well with our guy friends. My BFF’s parents called ahead to be sure it would be ok with my parents and gave them an ETA- we are in Texas, and my Dad is a hunter. You get the picture! Anyway, they wanted to be sure it was just all in fun. We were still up when they were wrapping, and we chased them and caught them in the act. The funniest part was catching my friends’ Mom wearing a highlighter yellow sweater to drive the getaway car. Ha! They made arrangements to come back in the morning with doughnuts to clean up- we had super tall trees. Before the left for the night we all threw each other in the pool- the parents laughed, and it was one of the best parties ever. Intent is everything with these things. Eggs, shaving cream, etc that can cause permanent damage is not funny no matter what. But, where I grew up it was all in fun and usually done among friends. It all washes out in the end at some point. I count myself lucky if that is the worst thing to happen in my week!


62 Kim July 23, 2012 at 1:31 pm

I grew up in Chicago and I think opinions are mixed… Like another commenter said it was somtimes accompanied with eggs, never to my house but to friends of mine… something to do with stealing a boyfriend. On the other hand, in highschool I played sports and the seniors on the team would TP the houses of the underclassmen if the team advanced in the state playoffs, it was usually accompanied with funny signs and balloons, semi-motivational. :o) We carried on the tradition my senior year.


63 ajbc July 23, 2012 at 1:31 pm

I have a distinct middle-school memory of picking up dewy toilet paper one Saturday morning at 6AM–right after my dad woke up; he didn’t let that kind of thing sit. When I told one friend about it, she talked about how she wished it had happened to her and I was totally flummoxed. You definitely need to know your target in order for it to be fun for both sides.


64 Kate F. July 23, 2012 at 1:33 pm

Heh, I wonder if this is something religious kids are really into? When I was very involved w my church youth group in High School it was just how you describe it–kind of flattering to get TP’ed (though my parents always made the guys come back over and clean up the next morning). I never went, but we got hit a few times.


65 Sarah July 23, 2012 at 1:44 pm

Reading about these regional differences is really amusing. In Minneapolis/St. Paul, where I was born and raised, it was considered vandalism. Just a few hours south in small town Iowa where I now live, it’s considered an honor to be TP’d. About ten years ago my parents moved to a small town in Minnesota where they celebrate “corn night” every October 30th. Teenagers go around town throwing corn on people’s driveways and sidewalks. I had never heard of that before they moved there. It’s got to be the most anticlamactic prank ever!


66 Beth C. July 23, 2012 at 2:15 pm

I wouldn’t say I would be offended, but I certainly wouldn’t be happy. The cleanup is the worst! And I wouldn’t let my kids go TPing unless we knew the family well, knew they would help with the cleanup, and knew that no one would get upset…


67 Ann July 23, 2012 at 2:28 pm

Lots! We had so much fun doing it and having it done to your house was so fun. I think my house was “rolled” 2x in high school if memory serves.


68 Crissa Robertson July 23, 2012 at 2:30 pm

I grew up toilet papering….or TPing as we called it. Almost every weekend in the summer either were TPing or getting TPed. My mom would take us to the store and get toilet paper and then drive us to our target. She would normally sit in the car as a look out and flash the lights if she saw anything, but sometimes she would help us do the duty.

We did more than just TPing though…we would write with soap on their drive way (when it rains it would show up over and over again), we would “fork them” (put forks in their grass and break the tops off…they figured out they were forked when they mowed), etc. It didn’t stop just because the weather changed though. In the winter we would put glitter on the top of the snow so when it melted it was all in their grass :)

It was all in fun and games. Believe me we got our fair of return treatment. My mom would wake up to the sound of a toilet paper roll hitting the ground. LOL Once when our house was being TPed we let off bottle rockets from the back of our house and scared them away.We had fun and the fact that my mother was in on it with us made it even more memorable!

It isn’t vandalism….after all they TPed in the Bible…Zechariah 5:1…”Then I turned, and lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and behold a flying roll.” LOL :)


69 Sherri July 23, 2012 at 3:10 pm

My oldest daughter’s friends TP our house every year on Halloween. You can tell who the culprits are because only the houses of their friends have been hit in the morning :). THAT (your photo), by the way, is an impressive TP job!


70 trina July 23, 2012 at 3:22 pm

I have to say this is a great Monday post. I am right in line with you. This was about as wild as I got and it was all good fun. Loved going out to TP and thought it was fun when it happened at our house. I know it will only be a few years before my kids are going to want to do this and I might want to go with -ha!
xo . trina


71 Tasha July 23, 2012 at 4:29 pm

Never did it, had it done nor would I allow my son to do it! Wow, am I missing out!? LOL


72 Amanda July 23, 2012 at 4:51 pm

TPing is definitely not as bad as egging, but still it was usually something people did to be mean when I was growing up. I never would have done it. And the idea of letting my kids do it is just crazy to me. I guess maybe if I also “let” them clean up after themselves?


73 Kate July 23, 2012 at 4:55 pm

I’ll be honest. If I woke up to a yard full of toiler paper, I would be livid. And if I found out my son had done it to someone else (he’s only three, but just saying) I would make him clean it up after a long lecture. I think it is incredibly disrespectful. If that makes me a big stick in the mud, so be it.


74 Keri July 23, 2012 at 5:07 pm

Another New Englander here… it was always vandalism when I was growing up… like egging and spray paint… Growing up the daughter of a school bus driver (who took her bus home each day/night) and a police officer… to say our house was a TARGET on halloween is an understatement… we resorted to tying our trained German shepard next to the school bus for the evening (in the protected car port)… just to keep the neighborhood kids from tagging the bus or trees…
But those kids even spray painted the neighborhood cows on year…


75 Pamela Balabuszko-Reay July 23, 2012 at 5:14 pm

I grew up in Chicagoland. TPing was mainly for sports…and the popular kids. Big game coming up meant TPing. However, my little band of geeks (think the arty kids mixed with the bowling team) decided it was for us too. On birthdays. We were such a group of goody-two-shoes that we called the parents to ask for permission and then went and cleaned it up the next day (hoping it had not rained). I do think it is kind of glorious looking.


76 Barchbo July 23, 2012 at 5:20 pm

My parents didn’t allow it for several reasons but the primary one was that it was 100% wasteful. And this was the 70s/80s before people thought so much about eco-savvy. “Do you know how many people could wipe with that front yard?!” Haha! Plus, they thought it was a ridiculous waste of time.

They never interefered with my dedicated love of the shoe polish on cars, though – much smaller carbon footprint, it seems.


77 Snowsand July 23, 2012 at 5:32 pm

I grew up in Southern CAand it was considered fun in our neighborhood. Once our family awoke to find our house had been “streamered” instead of toilet papered. The colors were absolutely gorgeous and looked like a rainbow sat down in our front yard. To this day I never figured out who did it and I wished I had taken pictures.


78 Ilene Guy July 23, 2012 at 5:42 pm

In California, especially the Bay Area, all the kids do it. Any sleepover usually has that on their list to do. Usually its the cute boys house or whoever did your yard last that gets it that night. When we get tp’ed we make our kids clean it up and we help with anything that is too high. It is a waste of toilet paper but I guess they could be doing much worse things late at night!


79 julia g blair July 23, 2012 at 6:03 pm

There was something quite stunning about the photo. TP- hanging from the trees!
Some of our children participated in this when they were teens and I remember
there were some neighbors who were NOT amused!


80 Kate July 23, 2012 at 6:52 pm

There was a kid who did not like my older brother in high school, he egged our house regularly for years. This boy had other troubles with the law and would periodically get sent away, we would know when he was back because the eggs would hit the house. Toilet papering, egging, forking are all vandalism to me. I am generally annoyed when the mischievousness of others leads to extra work on my part.


81 Nora July 23, 2012 at 7:02 pm

I grew up in Ontario (north eastern part) and tp-ing would have been a big no-no. Sure it happened, but if parents found out you were involved, you’d be grounded. If it happened to you, it would have been a signal that you or your sib was a social outcast. However, 2 hrs away in Quebec, there was an official night of pranking. The night before Halloween was/is called Mat Night where it was/is a tradition to do tp-ing or leave nasties on the front door mat (hence the name). Such treasures as dog-poop in a burning paper bag. And when you stamped it out…oy. That’s pretty hard core pranking to me. But I gotta know, what the heck is the fork thing?


82 Shannon(8foot6) July 23, 2012 at 7:16 pm

i dunno
this didn’t happen where I grew up…in Port Colborne, Ontario, Canada…
or maybe it did, but I was never part of it!


83 Amanda Leigh July 23, 2012 at 7:58 pm

I love this post! I’m from TN, born and raised in a small town, and we definitely TP’d houses. Teachers, crushes, AND people that annoyed us, etc. The police would get you and call your parents if they caught you, but the fun part was the sneaking around to see if you could get away with it! We would dress in all dark clothes, wear masks, paint our faces…truly make a huge production of it.

I remember TP’ing the house of a crush while at a slumber party and when I got home the next morning I found out that he had been out TP’ing my house the same night. It made for some great laughs! :)

In our town, it was considered vandalism if you did things like egging houses and driving through the streets knocking down mailboxes with a baseball bat as you drove by. (NO, I NEVER DID THIS.) But we regularly stole street signs from teacher’s yards and then would put them in the school yard for them to find on Monday morning. All in good fun. No one told on anyone else and the teachers secretly felt good that they were considered to be a good sport. And yes, parents did the driving. ;)

Our school even hosted a back to school party where you were expected to bring massive amounts of shaving cream and whipped cream and the entire high school would go to the field and halfway through the scheduled Ice Breaker games, someone would start by spraying down a teacher and then it was on! Their cars were not off limits. ;) Best memories ever!


84 Annie July 23, 2012 at 8:07 pm

Growing up in TX, we did it, but it at slumber parties, but I never felt great doing it because when it as done to our house, I would always have to get up early and clean it up. Not fun with the humidity making the toilet paper mushy.


85 Angie July 23, 2012 at 8:34 pm

As an east-coaster, I’d probably call the police. I consider it serious vandalism.


86 Mollie P July 23, 2012 at 8:38 pm

I grew up on the East Coast (VA, DC suburb), and among my group of friends, it was definitely a friendly act. Often done to someone you had a crush on. We were actually caught once – by a cop! He lined up all 12 or so of us, and made us give him our names and phone numbers. I suppose he thought we were doing it out of meaning, or vandalism. In truth, it was to a boy that several of us liked. I distinctly remember him shining his flashlight right at me, and asking, “Are you in your pajamas?” Why yes, officer, I am. It’s called a sleepover!


87 Miggy July 23, 2012 at 9:03 pm

So I grew up in Littleton, so the fact that you’re there and it happened…just makes me smile.

I think it was mostly something done nicely, but every once in a while could be mean spirited. We usually just targeted random families we knew–sometimes cute boys, other times just a well placed house–but we always knew who they were. We were in the 8th grade, and a lot of our targets were high schoolers. That’s probably why it was so random.

My very favorite story ever is my friend and I decided to TP this girl we knew–again, we were in 8th grade, she was in 9th. We knew her but not well. We definitely weren’t enemies, but not close friends…anyway, in the middle of our fantastic TP job the front door opens and out runs a full grown man (the dad) chasing us down the street. I was PEEING MY PANTS. (Figuratively). My friend (who lived in the neighborhood and thus worried her parents would find out that we snuck out) stopped and begged him not to tell, promising him we’d clean it up. We walked back with him and started cleaning. His wife came out and they started chatting with us…when they found out we were “friends” with their daughter dad said, “Oh, go get the girls up…this will be great.” And we were like “No, no..haha…really it’s OK.” Not because we thought she’d be mad, but just because we felt stupid. Well she came out and was like “What are you guys doing?” And laughed. We all cleaned up, then we came inside for a soda. I KID YOU NOT. This was 2:00 in the morning. We sat there drinking soda’s with the family we had just TP’d (with parents I had never met before) and told funny stories about TP’ing and other silly nonsense. They sent us out the door with a “Well no more trouble for you girls tonight… walk home safely!” My friend and I just laughed and looked at each other like, did that really happen?

Yes. Yes it did…

I need to blog about that.


88 amy July 23, 2012 at 9:04 pm

seriously??!! that’s just bizarre…………


89 Amy July 23, 2012 at 9:06 pm

Growing up in Northern VA (just south of DC), we bageled, as in, we visited the dumpster behind the bagle bakery(those were big in the 90′s right?)in the middle of the night and gathered trash bags of day old bagles. Then, by car, we traveled to an unexpecting friend/crush and tossed the bagels all over their lawn, not forgetting to stack a bunch on their car antenna. Fun and less wasteful than TP! Especially because, the one who got bageled could gather their bagels up and get someone else the next night.


90 Lola G. July 23, 2012 at 9:22 pm

I’ve lived on the East coast most of my life, and I had no idea that there are many places in which this is considered just a harmless prank. In all of the communities in which I’ve lived, you might see it happen occasionally on Halloween, but I don’t think anyone doing it would want to be caught!

It’s always interesting to learn about regional differences.


91 Carol F. July 23, 2012 at 10:36 pm

It is interesting to me how the people who are commenting that they liked to tp are still quite sure that it is awesome and all in fun despite the great numbers who have commented that they would be livid.


92 Emme July 23, 2012 at 10:42 pm

I have to say– I always loved waking up to see our house had been toilet papered! We had huge trees so it looked so beautiful! (Ironic, isn’t it?) And as you mentioned, it usually meant someone was thinking of you! Where I live most people think it is relatively harmless, but kids still get in trouble if they’re caught! It’s too bad, really, since it may get messy but it really isn’t harmful! We allow so few outlets for “sneaky” fun these days!


93 Kati July 23, 2012 at 11:00 pm

Totally innocent! At least where I grew up. I once did an epic job at my best friend’s house and left a chocolate cake on her front door. She later told me that when she woke up she thought it had snowed! Although it wasn’t too fun to clean up considering my house had the most trees in the whole town.


94 Marija July 24, 2012 at 2:30 am

Isn’t this a waste of toilet paper????


95 Eliza July 24, 2012 at 10:18 am

Certainly, a waste of toilet paper the same way a water balloon fight is a waste of water and rubber! Plus…if it’s dry you could always roll the TP up and use it again :)


96 Shawna Greenway - Brush Dance July 24, 2012 at 8:00 am

This was hugely popular when I was growing up in San Antonio. But it took a lot of toilet paper to do a proper job and all my friends saved any cash we had for gas money so we discovered forking instead. We all went off campus for lunch during the week so we’d each grab a handful of plastic forks at whatever restaurant we were at and by Friday night, it would normally be enough to fill a grocery bag. I don’t know where the tradition of forking came from but it’s a good one.

Everyone we knew had cars (it’s Texas!) so my group became notorious for shoe polishing cars. Just the windows, of course, because that washes off. We’d leave goofy messages or draw silly pictures on the windows of boys we liked or our friends who were home on a Friday night because they were grounded – probably for getting busted for forking or shoe polishing someone’s car!

Some kids would take For Sale signs from front yards and put them up in some random yard. We never did that because my mom was a realtor and that just seemed wrong to me. But it was funny! Especially if there was an Open House signed attached to it. Hee Hee Hee.

Looking back on this now, I’m glad that I was doing this sort of thing rather than doing drugs or getting drunk and pregnant like so many other kids in my class.


97 Hallie July 24, 2012 at 8:48 am

In my childhood neighborhood in Staten Island, NY it would probably have been thought of as a prank in the negative sense, but I don’t know any kids who would have been dedicated enough to do a good job–too lazy. We’d rather throw eggs and shaving cream at each other–and like it.

I think it looks and sounds like a blast! If I had kids I’d probably introduce the neighborhood to the awesomeness of good, clean fun TPing.


98 everton terrace July 24, 2012 at 9:16 am

Wow, LOTS of comments on this one. If it’s just TP, I have no problem with it. I remember when my daughter was in junior high and she was having a sumber party. Some of the boys in her class, actually called me and asked if they could come TP our house – they were asking permission AND they needed me to come pick them up!
I did :)


99 Kari July 24, 2012 at 10:15 am

I live in Kentucky and around here, I guess it’s considered more of an insult and act of vandalism. I don’t really see it very often. Our oldest son is 19 and one of the “pranks” that happens alot around here with his age group is writing/drawing on each other’s car windows with shoe polish or car markers. The kids say it’s all in good fun but I’ve seen some obscene messages and have told my son I better never catch him doing it, LOL!


100 Eliza July 24, 2012 at 10:17 am

I think it depends on the “community”. I went TPing with my “church” friends where we TPd other members of our congregation as a prank (and never someone who couldn’t appreciate it or would have been flustered by the extra clean up work, ie. someone with no sense of humour, a young single mom or seniors/the elderly!) – one lady in our congregation actually told us she felt loved every time she got TPd (..leading to more TPing of her house!), but I never would have done it with my “school friends” – it would have been more of a vandalism plot with them. Also…I’m from BC, Canada. “Rainy season” is 10 months of the year. Waking up to a house covered in wet toilet paper is still much less offensive than waking up to a house/car that has been egged, which when dry can take off paint and is very hard to clean up, in my books. If it’s too wet to clean up TP…let it degrade!


101 how2home July 24, 2012 at 10:52 am

To be honest, it looks quite pretty…but it must have been such a pain to clean up. Yes, its funny when we were kids doing stuff like this…but now that we are adults, the cleaning up part is not so fun. I’d be pretty upset, and i’d wonder “why me?”


102 Kristen Howerton July 24, 2012 at 12:50 pm

So interesting to read all of these responses. I grew up in Florida and getting TP’ed was usually because someone had a crush. Nearly every slumber party involved a trip to TP someone’s house and my mom was often driving the get-away car. I had two sisters and in high school, ours was TP’d nearly once a month. We always thought it was funny.

I agree on the religious kid thing, too. I went to bible college and we were constantly playing pranks. Later, when my husband was a youth pastor in Southern California, the kids were really into it, too. It was never mean-spirited.

Even as adults, we’ve done it. There was a season when a bunch of us young married would get together for game night, and often the night would end with the last people who stayed plotting a TP of the house of the couple who left first.

I would imagine, with 4 kids, my house will be a target in a few years, but I also suspect I’ll be teaching my kids the best techniques. :)


103 kellychristine July 24, 2012 at 12:58 pm

definitely guilty of committing the act but never did the end result look anything like this. they got y’all good! :)


104 Erin Hall {i can craft that} July 24, 2012 at 3:12 pm

I never did it. To my parents its a huge no no and seen as vandalism and very disrespectful. My parents took a lot of pride in the appearance of their home and toilet papering messes it up and is very difficult to clean up. I guess I feel the same way. Though not as picky as my parents I would be upset if we were TP’d


105 Corinne July 24, 2012 at 4:09 pm

Yes…we did the same– it was harmlessly done to friends and boys we liked, too.

In fact, it was sort of an honor and a delight to have it done back because that meant someone liked you. I don’t know how my parents felt, with all the clean-up, but I always thought it was fun.


106 Lisa July 24, 2012 at 4:13 pm

My mom and her best friend Judy would drive us around in either our panel truck or Judy’s hippie van….if we were caught, another parent and their kids, the victims :), might jump in the vehicle and join in the fun. Being TP’d was a badge of honor, a sign you were beloved in some way. My husband was shocked that we did this…on a regular basis no less!


107 Robin July 24, 2012 at 5:01 pm

I’m nine years old. I don’t know, I might be offended or I might not be. It depends on who did it, I guess.


108 lilly July 24, 2012 at 7:49 pm

First, my assumption is that the picture was stagged or in some way altered. It does not look natural.

Second, where I live this is considered bullying and vandalism.


109 Erin July 25, 2012 at 1:36 pm

That’s funny that there’s different takes on it…where I grew up (Northwest and Utah), it was fun and innocent to do, and if it were done to me, made me feel like I was (or one of my siblings were) popular. As an adult, I think it’s a pain to clean up–sprinklers or rain plus thin tissue up in trees where you can’t reach it, not fun. But still, I’d far rather have my kids toilet papering than other things. My teenage crowd was much like yours, so of course, you get creative with your fun.


110 Erin July 25, 2012 at 1:37 pm

p.s. I must say–what an impressive job they did! If that’s the house that you stayed at and real, wow. Those kids got some exercise while tp-ing!


111 M July 25, 2012 at 4:17 pm

I grew up in Latin America and if TP’inf occurred the police would be called for sure, and it would be considered vandalism. I lived in St Louis MO for a long time too and nobody ever TP’d houses.

I would be really angry if someone did this to me. Maybe those who think it’s all fun and games should be careful to make sure the recipients of the prank are ok with it.


112 Nicci V July 26, 2012 at 3:35 am

It looks so pretty! Unfortunately, where I live, Johannesburg, South Africa, we would never get an opportunity for this kind of thing. Firstly, nobody can walk the streets at night to be able to do a prank like this, and our houses are all behind high walls and electric fences, making toilet paper beautifying a bit redundant. Makes me think about life in a safer city, or at least here in SA, in a smaller town.


113 Shaney August 3, 2012 at 12:31 pm

I remember a distinct incident with a couple of girls whose names I will change to protect the guilty – let’s call them Kichelle and Matie – where there were rolls of toilet paper (graciously donated by Denny’s), for sale signs (you’re welcome realtors), blinking construction barricades with someone’s pants wrapped around the bright lights to keep any cops from seeing it in the back of someone’s VW and lots of giggling and shushing and running down the street to regain control of ourselves. It was definitely because someone had a crush on a boy and it was all in good fun…and we we did a FANTASTIC job! I wish I had a picture of that house.


114 Dee August 5, 2012 at 9:18 pm

It’s been interesting to skim through the comments. I had no idea there was such an array of opinions. When I grew up in a small town in Northern Cal in the 70s, among my friends it was the wildest thing we did. That and drinking Martinelli’s Sparkling Apple Cider. It was all in good fun, and we only did the people we loved. It was never vandalism or bullying. Now as a frugal ‘older’ person, I shake my head to think that we ‘wasted’ 59 rolls of TP on our favorite church teachers house. I agree with a previous comment: what a low cost compared to much worse teen habits. It was all good, clean fun.


115 beth cupitt July 22, 2013 at 11:38 am

oh, i’m sad to say, i’ve never been tp’d. in texas, i think it’s an honor. i’ve wrapped many a house in junior high, but was never cool enough to get wrapped myself.


116 Christy July 22, 2013 at 1:54 pm

Too much rain here for tp to be considered harmless. However, in our small town it’s fairly common to see houses flamingoed – front lawns covered in plastic pink flamingos.


117 Kendyl July 22, 2013 at 4:53 pm

I grew up in the central valley in CA, on a block of 16 homes, with about 22 kids all about five years apart in age. We all TP’d each others house. It meant different things depending on what you used . If we were just getting each other we just used TP, and it was about noe getting caught. We almost always helped clean it up in the morning and never involved any parents. It was good clean fun, BUT, if we did the despised block babysitters house…(old crotchety lady) then we used eggs on the grass, cuz they stink, and turned the sprinklers on once we were done! We had some great stories to tell each time.
As for now, we live in SoCal and I do have a teenaged son. It’s a bit different now, only that we have to drive them cuz their friends live further than down the street. It means the same here, friends TPing friends hoping not get caught. Girls flirting with the boys, how high can the roll be thrown, watch me throw it over the house, etc. some thing the kids and parents have started is that they feed the kids that come by in the morning to do the clean up, it has become a social fun thing here in Utopia, I mean Temecula.


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: