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The 8 people every parent meets at their neighborhood block party

A neighborhood party is a great place to meet new people and then immediately regret it.

If you live in a neighborhood, eventually you will get that dreaded slip of paper in the mail: the invitation to your neighborhood block party. Whether you live in an apartment downtown or a gated community out in the ‘burbs, the cast of characters never changes.

1. The retiree who hates your kids


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At last! You finally get to meet Mr. Crotchencranks, the man who calls the cops for a noise complaint at 4 p.m. when your children are out in your backyard, whether they’re having a screaming match or quietly picking dandelions. He is immune to cuteness and reason. Good luck!

2. The retiree who loves your kids


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Of course, two houses over from Mr. Crotchencranks is Mrs. Cookiefumes, the lovely woman who invites your children in and declares her home a “rule free zone”. Mrs. Cookiefumes has a grand piano, a dog that has never progressed past the puppy stage, and the complete adulation of your children, who love her more than they love you.

3. The secret helicopter parent


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The secret helicopter parent seems cool right up until the moment you tell her kids and yours that sure, they can run down to the playground, and she rolls her eyes, grabs her portable lawn chair, and follows them down to the twisty slide, all while judging you and offering your kids industrial knee pads. Whoops.

4. The ex-sorority mom


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Ex-sorority mom is sometimes accompanied by her husband, ex-fratbro dad. They lure you into friendship with beers and then trap you by passing out cold in your front yard while you’re watching their kids. If you try to tell them that you can’t come drinking on a Wednesday afternoon, they’ll protest that you’re “no fun!” and accuse you of starting drama.

5. The HOA president


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HOA president doesn’t have much to say to you. Why bother, when he can always communicate with you via write-up for leaving a trike out in the driveway at four minutes past five? That’ll be $50, ma’am.

6. The kid with the pool


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The moment has come at last for you to meet the child that your children worship as though she were made of solid gold and farted Pokémon cards. This kid has a pool, every American Doll currently for sale, the latest Nintendo DS, an iPhone, and her own playroom. Basically, she has everything you would get your kids if you actually loved them. You will know her by her signature phrase, “Are you guys poor or something?”

7. The parents of the kid with the pool


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They want you to know that your kids are welcome at their six-bedroom chateau any day of the week. They don’t mean it.

8. Your parenting soul mates


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There they are, across the communal playscape. He’s in a Dr. Who T-shirt, and she’s got a hairstyle that says, “Who cares anymore, amirite?”. Their children have clothes that don’t match, Kool-Aid mustaches, and scrapes on their knees. Too bad you’re both too busy breaking up fights over whose ice pop is bluer and dodging Mr. Crotchencranks to actually, you know, talk to each other.

More on parenting in the neighborhood

7 Reasons you need some childfree friends
Neighbor’s anonymous note to new mom goes too far
How to set boundaries with the neighbor kids

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