I’ve done my fair share of wrapping houses over the years. I used to tag along with my older siblings whenever my mom was driving them around town late on Friday nights to wrap, and was sometimes lucky enough to actually get out of the car and throw some paper around. I was in elementary school at the time. By the time I was in sixth grade I had moved on to wrapping my own friend’s houses. We did it often and were very good at it. It was the highlight of our weekends all through junior high and sometimes high school.
I think my mom enjoyed the house wrapping as much as we did. She taught me almost everything I know, which I have since proudly passed on to my own kids. Thanks, Mom!
My mom offered great tips on being sneaky and how to avoid getting caught. We always did a surveillance drive by of the target house to see if any lights were still on and to strategically plan the best escape route. She would shut her headlights off and park down the street before letting us out. We weren’t allowed to shut the car door. We had to push on them until they clicked shut while she held her hand over the dome light trying to keep the inside of the car dark. I’m telling you, we took our house wrapping seriously. We were only supposed to whisper, but that was never an easy task for a group of excited sixth grade girls with adrenaline rushing through our veins. She almost always refused to let us wrap a house if they had a dog. If a car was coming we were supposed to duck down behind whatever we were standing closest to (a car, a bush, a boat, etc.) until it passed. If a porch light turned or a door opened, (which was known to happen from time to time, especially considering we always ended up with at least one loud talker in the group) it was definitely time to run for the car, without looking back, and pile in as quickly as possible.
Whenever we did get caught we would drive off as quickly as possible. That was sometimes difficult since there would usually be at least one slow runner in the group. We always drove around the neighborhood for a while before returning to the crime scene to see if anyone was still looking for us or if they’d started the clean up. Good times!
Not only did my mom enjoy driving us around to wrap houses, she was notorious for catching people in the act of wrapping ours and she loved doing that, too. Between the three of us, our house got wrapped quite often during our teen years. She was a night owl and was usually up late watching TV. She would hear noises, (trust me, the woman has amazing hearing) and turn the TV down. It was usually obvious to her what was going on. She would peer out of the sheer curtains in the living room to confirm her suspicions (a yard full of kids throwing rolls of toilet paper up into our trees) then she would quietly step out into our garage, go through the back yard and along the side of the house all while wearing her infamous moomoo night gown. She was like a spirit in the night, never making a noise, gliding down the driveway right up behind the kids. She was so quiet that no one would notice her until she was literally right on top of them. Eventually, some kid would turn around to find her standing right there watching them and freak out. They would take off running like lightning for their getaway car. She just loved catching the kids. Did I mention before that she was very sneaky?
I definitely passed everything I learned onto my kids. One night when Lauren was in junior high I was up late, in our front room on the computer with all of the lights off. I thought I heard something so I walked to the window and looked out. I saw long strips of toilet paper blowing in the wind from our tree. Then I saw some movement in the front yard and knew exactly what was going on and that the culprits were still here. I immediately ran into wake Lauren. We both dressed in record time and headed to the front door. We were so going to scare them. I briefed her on the game plan and then promptly yanked open the front door. Lauren and I started chasing a group of girls through our front yard. They ran to a parked get away van and drove off quickly.
We knew immediately who it was. She lived one street over from us, so we jumped into the car with an armful of toilet paper and wrapped her house in retaliation. Hey, I’m basically a professional so we did a pretty good job for it just being the two of us.
In attempt to finish our house, they drove back by after we’d caught them. I saw their van drive past and told Lauren it was time to run. Our street connects to her street so I knew we only had a minute to make it back to the car. We made it to the car and as they came around the corner from our street I decided we would chase after them. We followed them flashing our lights and after a while they finally pulled over. In the end, Lauren and I got into their van and joined forces with all of them to wrap a few more houses before returning home very late into the night. It was so much fun.
I must admit that I still enjoy wrapping houses and the big adrenaline rush that comes with it and have taught my kids almost everything they know………….
They did learn one thing on their own and that is “forking houses”, which I am told is where you buy like 50 plastic forks and stick them into the front yard, in addition to wrapping the house.
These are photos from last night’s escapade. Cassidy and Caden had friends stay the night. Lauren, Boogie and Ashley (Lauren’s roommate) took them wrapping. They did four houses, including my sister’s. My nephews chased them down the street and literally caught Lauren by the arm before they could make their escape. Bahahahahahaha!
I am so proud that my kids are carrying on the family tradition!
P.S. Does Cassidy's friend (on the left) look like Haley Joel Osment or what?