So, when a conflicted Halloween-obsessed woman decided to consult the moral compass of the internet otherwise known as Reddit's 'Am I the As*hole' about whether or not she was wrong to start a neighborhood holiday war, people were quick to help deem a verdict.
I don't like most holidays. I don't celebrate them, I don't see the point. The only reason I do anything for Christmas is because I stopped sending my daughter to her fathers family for Christmas because they don't care about her so I would rather have her here and make it as special for her as I can.
But! I love Halloween! I would sacrifice all other holidays for Halloween! My only real life's ambition is to be the lady on the block with the epic Halloween decorations and the full size candy bars! This year neither me nor my spouse is military anymore and instead of an apartment we have a nice big house and the yard is great.
I have a newborn so the decorations aren't exactly epic, but they're nice. Well one small one went missing a few days after I put it up. It was one I didn't get in the local area, it's not expensive but it's distinctive.
Well an identical one showed up in my neighbors yard. I know you can't find this decoration around here because I looked for more and would have to special order them from a small store in the Midwest (I live in the PNW).
I told my husband and told him I would be getting it back tonight and he said bet and went and took it right then. Sure enough my initials were engraved on it in an unnoticeable spot (although they wrote on it in marker), so I burned my initials in larger and then did it to every one of my other decorations until the baby screamed his head off. My husband put it back in its spot in our yard and in less than 20 minutes it was missing again.
My husband is now saying that if he sees it again he's going to snap it in half and leave them the pieces. I ordered 2 more that I'm going to put little trackers on to mess with them if they steal them again, and I have a tombstone I'm making that will read 'hear lies the thieving neighbor'. This is not what is on it yet but an idea of what I would like, I'm open to suggestions.
I told my sisters about this and one said that I'm being petty and should have just let them keep it if it wasn't an expensive decoration (it wasn't) rather than start a neighborhood feud. I see no problems here since A they stole it from me first and B I rent this place so I won't be living in this neighborhood for more than another year or two and finally C my landlord knows about their thieving and that I took it back (but not about the two I ordered or the tombstone I'm making just for them, there would be a hole dug for their fake coffin if I owned this yard!).
I am aware that our actions are somewhat petty but they stole my happiness. If they're stealing my decorations it means I can't even put anything out in the future unless I'm willing to just let people steal my money by taking my decorations.
And while I don't care for Christmas decorations my husband loves them and he needs extra cheer this year as his father died last week and Christmas decorations was their thing, but if they're just going to get stollen we won't put them up.
So, am I the as*hole for stealing my decoration back and making a gravestone with a special message for them?
Edit: So they confronted me today. Pulled up right behind us as we were getting into the car to go to my MILs house to help with some things and get FILs ashes. He said 'can you stop stealing my decorations please' and me being me I popped off that he very obviously stole it from me first and I had the proof that it was mine and I would appreciate if he didn't steal and then gaslight me about it.
He gave me some bs story about how we must have identical ones and that his wife brought that one home last week and she must have gotten it at a store here in town (I was in that store, it's bare of Halloween decorations, I went there repeatedly to find decorations and took all the good ones including this boss tombstone).
I figured he's not going to budge in this lie and I don't have him on camera and I don't have the decoration and he's not got it in his yard now so arguing it is pointless so I just said sure I'm sure it's a massive misunderstanding.
I intend to spend the next few months gaslighting him about how I totally believe his story and of course it must be this one neighbor that he's got a vendetta against he mentioned, because that guy doesn't have awesome decorations of his own that were recently vandalized or anything.
I also mentioned that I'm putting up cameras that will show me the whole area, which he warned against and I said it's fine I'll just get a ring cam. No I won't, I'll get that and a system that covers the majority of my house and even some of the neighborhood.
There's about a 2% chance that he's telling the truth and that it's all some freak coincidence, but I'm of the opinion that the universe is rarely so lazy. My husband has removed our decorations because he doesn't even believe there's a 2% chance and he's unwilling to have any decorations up. Which sucks because he was so excited for the Christmas decorations I got him to use this year he was bragging to his dad about last month before he got sick.
I'm not sure what my petty revenge will be (the tombstone is still happening it's half made) but we are both livid so there will be some form of retribution. Probably involving the same thing that made him have a vendetta against the neighbor but that's a surprise for later ;) never tell a potential enemy something that annoys you or it will become a weakness y'all!
Edit 2: he said his wife got it at goodwill, which must be why it had my mark on it, but that it was bought by them so it's theirs. This is when I stopped trying to argue it, I'm not wasting my energy.
NTA (Not the As*hole). Realize that the kind of person that steals something from their neighbor and then shows it off in the front yard, just doesn't care. You simply can't win at a petty game with them because they have no shame.
Tell them that you know they stole it and that if they steal anything else, you will call the police. And then follow through, with video evidence from the camera you're going to put up. Have that ready before you confront them, since 'revenge' can happen quickly afterwards.
NTA but I really need to know what this decoration is that these people are so obsessed with stealing.
NTA. Putting up a custom gravestone for them is probably on the petty side, but funny as all hell. Be prepared for backlash, but don’t let them steal your joy. Maybe start talking loudly when you know they can hear about your “new security cameras.'
NTA. I get so sick of people always advising others to just take sh*t from someone who wronged them. Your sister is wrong. Just because she'd let someone steal from her with no problem there is no reason that you have to turn the other cheek. Your neighbors are trash.
Everyone agreed unanimously here that this woman wouldn't be wrong to seek revenge in the pettiest way possible. Good luck, everyone!