Good natured neighborhood pranks/jokes
April 6, 2020 11:33 AM   Subscribe

Any ideas on good-natured neighborhood pranks/jokes in the age of COVID? Thinking things like the classic "found dog" poster with a picture of what is clearly a raccoon posted to a power-pole, etc.

Ideally things that are generally good-natured and fun, don't require breaking social distancing norms, don't require online elements, aren't political or otherwise offensive (....well maybe to raccoons I guess...), and don't require any effort from the jokee/prankee. Just looking to put a few smiles into a small neighborhood where the only social interaction now seems to be "hellos" waved from 40 feet away when out walking the dog.
posted by inflatablekiwi to Society & Culture (30 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Not really jokes but I've seen stuff written in colored chalk on sidewalks people are likely to use. You could write something funny or supportive that way.
posted by bright flowers at 11:37 AM on April 6, 2020 [7 favorites]

Maybe set up some elaborate window dressing if you have one visible from the street?
posted by fiercecupcake at 11:43 AM on April 6, 2020 [3 favorites]

I don't think I'd "prank" right now about anything. Just nice messages and decoration and teddy bears in the window these days. Don't do any jokes that tempt someone to want to walk over and read it.
posted by jenfullmoon at 11:47 AM on April 6, 2020 [13 favorites]

Response by poster: Ok yeah - prank probably wasn't the right word (and not the intent). I've already had the kids do the chalking positive things at the foot of the driveway (rainbows and unicorns etc) - but honestly now they are just into doing chalk outlines of each other and coloring them in and our driveway is starting to look like the aftermath of a Quentin Tarantino movie.

Maybe I'll just go with chalk absurdist messages in large font you can read from the other side of the road.
posted by inflatablekiwi at 11:59 AM on April 6, 2020 [10 favorites]

How about making large-scale images on your windows using coloured post-its? Assuming you have post-its.

Or messages to neighbours via large text in windows. It would be great if you could have a conversation go back and forth via the window messages. That is always fun!
posted by tinydancer at 12:05 PM on April 6, 2020 [7 favorites]

If there's a house with a clear visual line that you have a good relationship with, you could have a public conversation via signs in the windows. If you do it at a slowish pace, everyone who walks by can follow along over the course of a few days.

Post a joke in your front window in the morning and post the answer in the afternoon. Do them at the same time every day so that people can plan around you. If other people do it, too, it makes a neighborhood walk more fun.
posted by gideonfrog at 12:13 PM on April 6, 2020 [6 favorites]

Response by poster: Hmm...possibly.....will need to raid the art supply cupboard. But for some reason you did give me the idea of hiding a small MP3 player near the bottom of our drive playing a faint Morse code message. Something like "If you can decipher this you clearly have too much time on your hands these days"
posted by inflatablekiwi at 12:14 PM on April 6, 2020 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Have you seen this bird?
posted by slidell at 12:31 PM on April 6, 2020 [12 favorites]

Best answer: Have you seen my dog? Poster with a picture of your dog. Then underneath. He's not missing I just think he's awesome. (or something similar).
posted by wwax at 12:36 PM on April 6, 2020 [15 favorites]

Best answer: There's someone near me that chalked a number of different exercises - 20 x Squats, etc - and I know I'd laugh if I came to some that were completely ridiculous. I think for best effect you'd want to start with ones that make sense, and then get weird. Pick a route with runners or that a lot of people walk on (which is.. I guess.. problematic, actually) -- start with squats, planks, jumping jacks, progress to Inside-Out Superman, Sideways Dog, Raccoons, etc.

You could also do this just with a sign in your yard/window or something. TODAY'S EXERCISE: 50 FUNYUNS
posted by curious nu at 12:37 PM on April 6, 2020 [7 favorites]

Best answer: In Chicago people have been putting up cutouts of our mayor, Lori Lightfoot, in a live reenactment of the meme. It is truly a delight.
posted by phunniemee at 12:40 PM on April 6, 2020 [11 favorites]

Best answer: A number of ideas here
posted by slidell at 12:47 PM on April 6, 2020 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Perfect Slidell, the "missing half poster" sign with half the poster ripped off on that page is great, with the added bonus that there are no tearaway strips at the bottom people can spread the plague through.
posted by inflatablekiwi at 1:07 PM on April 6, 2020 [1 favorite]

My favorite is the Lionel Ritchie wanted poster
posted by Sunburnt at 1:11 PM on April 6, 2020 [4 favorites]

Ten years ago, walking along a very quiet road that served mostly as a footpath and cycle path, I passed a large hand-lettered sign reading WATCH OUT! CYCLISTS! So far, so normal.

A little further along, another sign: WATCH OUT! PINK ELEPHANTS!

And a little further beyond that, a pink-painted cardboard elephant, peeking out from the undergrowth.
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 1:53 PM on April 6, 2020 [17 favorites]

If you have a Dalek costume you could do this
posted by Chairboy at 2:02 PM on April 6, 2020 [2 favorites]

You need High Five This Sign.
posted by The corpse in the library at 4:33 PM on April 6, 2020 [1 favorite]

The opposite of lost
posted by BoscosMom at 5:07 PM on April 6, 2020 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: You need High Five This Sign.

May be a little problematic in the social distancing context but there are a couple of gems on that site - thanks!
posted by inflatablekiwi at 5:52 PM on April 6, 2020 [3 favorites]

This only works if you have scrap wood on hand, but a neighbor of a friend propped a long board up against a tree in the front yard that simply says "I'm board."

Friend responded by putting a smaller board in her front yard that says "I'm a little board."

It sounds like it's been a hit in the neighborhood and other folks are joining in. I'm not even in the neighborhood and so have only seen pics but it keeps giving me the giggles!
posted by Ann Telope at 7:49 PM on April 6, 2020 [2 favorites]

Please skip any “funny” parodies of lost/found pet signs right now. People out looking for actual lost pets during a pandemic are dealing with heartache enough, and the “joke” will feel more like a sucker punch when they’re close enough to read it.

Every time I’ve seen uplifting/encouraging/even poorly-done and weird sidewalk chalk art, it’s given my faith in humanity a little boost. Count me as another vote for that.
posted by armeowda at 8:12 PM on April 6, 2020 [3 favorites]

Try sidewalk chalk stained glass.
posted by SLC Mom at 8:35 PM on April 6, 2020 [2 favorites]

In my hometown, there is a large bear on a downtown corner. The resident person changes what the bear "says" (has painted on a signboard the bear holds) on a regular basis. "The bear" is a fairly well-known resident, and often has things like quotes, comments on current events, puns, etc. He changes once or twice a week, unless something interesting happens that he feels the need to comment on. I haven't been home in quite a while, but I bet he's got a lot to say lately. (Just looked. should have known. He has a Facebook page.)
posted by stormyteal at 11:19 PM on April 6, 2020

It’s time to decorate the yard with decorations from all the holidays. I’ve also heard of neighborhoods collaborating via social media about putting items (e.g. teddy bears) in windows to serve as a scavenger hunt for kids.
posted by oceano at 6:07 AM on April 7, 2020 [3 favorites]

In a lot of towns, including where I am, it's normal to decorate a statue or two seasonally. Santa hats, Mardi Gras beads, safety vests when there's construction going on. Maybe there's a horse statue near you that needs (fake) PPE.
posted by The corpse in the library at 7:56 AM on April 7, 2020

Jokes. 4 jokes per page that you'll cut apart, the best Dad jokes and kids' jokes the Internet has to offer. Cut, post, everywhere. Maybe some messages of encouragement, and kid-drawn rainbows, etc. Esp., If You Are a Health Care Worker, Grocery Worker, First Responder, or other Essential Worker, Thank You! Also, Go Home 2020, You're Drunk.

Got cardboard? a changing signpost of Locations, Milwaukee 1,167 miles, where the destinations get increasingly far, Moon 238,900 mi, Sirius 8.611 light years, etc., similar to M*A*S*H.
posted by theora55 at 8:13 AM on April 7, 2020

Oh and with the different holiday decorations, perhaps you could do some funny "elf on the shelf" type scenes. (e.g.)
posted by oceano at 9:59 AM on April 7, 2020

Best answer: Googly eyes are usually good for a laugh, stuck on hydrants and poles, above cracks in tree bark.
posted by Enid Lareg at 11:25 AM on April 8, 2020 [6 favorites]

In my neighborhood of three dead-end streets, families painted rocks. Some rocks have dabs of paint and look like the work of two year-olds; other have very fine painting and seem like someone stayed up late after the kids went to bed to do a execute an NFL logo in four colors.

So then you take a close-up picture of the rock somewhere outdoors (near the street) to post in the local private FB group, and then other families go for a walk and try to find it; if you found it, you got to move it and post a new picture.

I am not sure if the picture part of it is still happening, but there are still new rocks all the time, two or three weeks on.
posted by wenestvedt at 12:10 PM on April 8, 2020

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