Decorations around the home can make the holidays more festive. But is there an expiration date on yard decor?
And who gets to decide when the decorations have been up too long—the homeowner or their annoyed neighbors?
One Redditor was pondering just such a conundrum so they turned to the "Am I The A**hole" (AITA) subReddit with a hypothetical "Would I Be The A**hole" (WIBTA) solution for moral judgement.
Redditor weenzmagheenz asked:
"WIBTA if I put a birthday hat on my neighbor's pumpkin?"
The Original Poster explained:
"I share a porch with one neighbor, who is notorious for not cleaning up after herself or her kids. For example, one time there was a broken longboard sitting right in front of their door that they would step over every day to get into their unit."
"For 7 months, they just ignored it, until one day I asked the oldest kid (15 M[ale]) to please clean it up. He's a good kid and instantly threw it away."
"I told him thank you and that was that."
"Now, I know I could have cleaned it up myself, but I don't want to assume that they didn't want it (idk, maybe it had sentimental value??) Plus I constantly clean up the shared porch."
"Throwing away trash, picking up cigarette butts, sweeping, clearing cobwebs... I have known her to sweep the porch all of one time in the 6 years she has lived there."
"Last year (October 2019) I bought several small sugar pumpkins and placed them on my porch next to my jack-o-lanterns. After Halloween, I threw all of them away in an unused wooded area next to my apartment complex so they could decompose."
"The next day, I found one of the sugar pumpkins back on the porch—outside of her door. I know that it was one I had bought because of the particular markings on it."
"Ok, weird, but whatever, I'm glad someone is enjoying it. I figured she would throw it away after Thanksgiving."
"Then after Christmas. Then after New Year's."
"Well, it's now been a year and the pumpkin is still there. It is NASTY."
"It looks like it has practically melted into the porch. She has put Halloween decorations all around it, and still hasn't cleaned it up."
"I think it's gross, but left it there on principle, because I am tired of cleaning up after a grown woman."
"We work opposite shifts now, so I never see her. I also don't have her phone number because she is constantly changing it."
"I was thinking of leaving her a note asking her to please clean it up, but I'm worried it will somehow come across as rude."
"So, I think I might have a little fun with it... I'm considering putting one of those little pointy birthday hats on it and a sign saying 'Happy 1st Birthday!' over it."
"Personally I think it would be hilarious and get the point across, but my husband thinks we should just suck it up and clean it up. Again, I don't want to do so out of principle."
"So Reddit, WIBTA if I celebrated the pumpkin's 1st birthday?"
They even shared a picture of the pumpkin in question:
The OP clarified:
"[The pumpkin is] the greenish mass to the left of the flower pot base."
Redditors were asked to weigh in by declaring:
- NTA - Not The A**hole
- YTA - You're The A**hole
- NAH - No A**holes Here
- ESH - Everyone Sucks Here
Redditors decided the OP would not be the a**hole if the pumpkin got a birthday celebration.
The OP provided a lengthy detailed update to address the many questions Redditors had.
"We live in a condo complex with an HOA. Our units are owned by separate people, and I don't have a way to contact the owner of her unit."
"I also don't want to get any 'authorities' or whatever like the HOA involved as I'm not trying to get her in trouble."
"The kids are 17 M[ale] and 15 F[emale]; the longboard incident was a few years ago. The kids are not in danger or neglect that I can tell; they are happy, healthy teenagers. I will not be calling CPS or DFS on her."
"She is a slob, yes, but she is not a hoarder (from what I can tell from the front door, at least, and her back balcony) and does not appear to have any debilitating mental illnesses."
"Both my husband and I have talked to her in the past about keeping the shared space clean. This has not changed her behavior, and she is quick to blame the kids for not picking up after themselves, yet there has never been an issue when I have asked them to do so."
"We don't have a bad relationship, but I wouldn't say we are friends. It's more just friendly chit chat when we run into each other in the parking lot."
"She is generally a pretty easy going person but tends to act immaturely for her age (and yes I know that putting a party hat on a pumpkin isn't exactly the pinnacle of maturity)."
"I am not out there cleaning religiously. Thank you for your concern about my supposed OCD, but I promise you, I'm not some sort of crazy neat freak by any means."
"I just feel that shared space should be kept clean and that functioning adults are fully capable of cleaning up after themselves."
"It is possible that one of the kids or their friends put the pumpkin there. However, there is no possible way that the mom hasn't noticed it over the last year. You see it as soon as you come up the stairs."
"It would not be possible to put a fence between our halves of the porch, because then they would not be able to access their unit."
"The pumpkin doesn't smell (which to be honest I don't understand how???) but it is unsightly. I have not noticed any insects or vermin thankfully."
"My husband doesn't care enough to clean it up, he just thinks the whole thing is funny, although gross. However I know if I asked him to clean it up he would, but I'm not going to ask him to."
"Why does it bother me so much? Well first off, it's not THAT big of a deal to me."
"I'm not going to die on a hill of pumpkins. I'm not simmering in rage every time I see gourds. I don't stay up late at night fantasizing about having a clean porch."
"I do fully acknowledge that this is clearly my problem, and that she obviously doesn't care about it, otherwise she would have cleaned it up by now. And on that note, if it bothered me to the extent that some commenters seem to think it does, then I would have just cleaned it up."
"But part of me is leaving it there just because I'm curious to see how long it will last before it decomposes into oblivion. Because science."
"This post has given me lots to think about in terms of conflict resolution. Honestly, I'm thinking I will probably just clean it up myself and then talk to her about it next time I see her (whenever that is...) because I'm not trying to cause any tension."
"But I'm also thinking I need to have a little photoshoot with the pumpkin to give it a proper send-off and birthday celebration."
The OP promised an update should the photoshoot occur, but as of this writing it hasn't happened.