Service of Goofy Things Kids Do: Overnight Challenges in Stores & Restaurants

April 9th, 2018

Categories: Adventure, Big Box Stores, Children, Goofing Off, Kids, Restaurant, Retail

We made silly phone calls and tossed paper bags filled with water out the window into a courtyard to make a crashing sound to scare the neighbors. One Christmas Eve, kids–I assume it was kids–broke windows on the sidewalk side of every car parked outside the Brooklyn Museum. Ours was one. Kids who have no financial constraints steal candy and small items from stores for sport.

Jennifer Levitz, in “Where’s Your Teen Sleeping?” wrote about what some kids are up to these days. According to the sub-head of her Wall Street Journal story, they are “Adventure seekers hiding overnight in stores for ‘24-hour challenge’—and are really, really bored.” They hide in fast-food restaurants and big-box stores that close at night or hang out for 24 hours or more in those that stay open.

She wrote about the adventures of a few teens at a McDonald’s: “After the initial thrill of escaping detection, they passed the time by going down the small slide, flipping water bottles and filming themselves whispering in the dark.” Sleeping was hard. One tried to do so in a toy car.

“Young people boast of holding the overnight challenges in trampoline parks, bowling alleys, home improvement stores and supermarkets, too. Companies mostly seem perplexed,” Levitz reported.

What nutty things did you do when you were a kid and what wacky things do your children, nieces, nephews, and grandchildren do today?

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7 Responses to “Service of Goofy Things Kids Do: Overnight Challenges in Stores & Restaurants”

  1. Protius Said:

    I’m not sure the world I grew up in is truly comparable to today’s world. There have been too many changes, from demographic structure to family size, not to speak of working women, divorce, gay and single parent families, the creation of TV, and its durative offshoot, the computer and the internet, the radical reduction in the employment of live-in domestics, desegregation, the ever expanding persistent use of narcotics.

    We had no TV, but listened to the radio and read. The cook prepared and served dinner at 8:00PM. My segregated schools had female teachers until high school and male white teachers. Homosexuality was taboo and drugs were something alien having to do with Hollywood.

    On the other hand, at 13 and away at boarding school, I had a checking account and made my own arrangements as to where I would spend my spring vacation.

    On balance, I think it was a safer, certainly kinder time in which to grow up.

  2. Jeanne Byington Said:


    My childhood was also simpler–our pranks benign. One difference from your description: My mother served the dinner she cooked. I went to an all-girl’s school with all-women teachers for 12 years and when, in 12th grade, they borrowed a male Columbia instructor to teach English, we went bananas with delight.

    The overnight challenges I write about in the post seem harmless, almost vintage….amazingly uncomplicated and not the slightest bit tech-y. The kids don’t seem to ruin anything or steal. The exception is that they post their whereabouts on social media and obviously that didn’t exist in the day.

  3. Hank Goldman Said:

    We were raised to behave well in public… That’s how I raised my kids… Maybe they were bratty at home, but always well behaved in public. Just thought that was the right way to go.

    Today, however, I see parents that have little regard for the obnoxious and outrages and noisy behavior of their kids. Most obviously in supermarkets and museums and movie theaters etc. etc.
    Most recently at the Hayden planetarium IMAX shows! Noisy kid? Take them out. Out.

  4. Jeanne Byington Said:


    The naughty things we did in the day we did at home. We’d call a stranger and tell her: “This is Lord & Taylor calling. Your girdle is ready.” We’d hang up and laugh for five minutes.

    I don’t think we would have dared hide out in a store–it would have petrified our parents for one thing if we didn’t come home at night [though I suppose you could tell a parent you are spending the night at a friend’s house]. I was brought up in Manhattan and it’s a different world than that of big box stores and other humongous places in giant suburban malls.

  5. Hank Goldman Said:

    That’s funny!

  6. Lucrezia Said:

    We scarfed down entire chickens ready to be served the following day — same for fancy and costly pastries, prank calls, throwing wet toilet paper out of the window (almost got arrested for that one) and on and on. Pranks on relatives included shorted sheets and switching the salt for sugar. Learned the trait for pranks was inherited from some long dead (unnamed and/or forgotten) uncle.

    Pranks are fun, and as long as they aren’t malicious or harmful, should be appreciated for what they are. I am remembered by surviving classmates as being “lots of fun.” Perhaps that’s why.

  7. Jeanne Byington Said:


    Harmless is the key. I was always shocked by hazing kids forced on potential members of fraternities and sororities because the so-called “fun” seemed so cruel. Hiding out in a store or fast food place seems benign. Too bad the kids who do it are bored. How much fun can they be having which is the point!?

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