12 Tales Of Play Dates Gone So, So Very Wrong

From potty-related accidents to misplaced keys, you won't believe the turn that some of these get-togethers took.
Play dates are all good fun, but something's bound to go awry eventually.
Elva Etienne via Getty Images
Play dates are all good fun, but something's bound to go awry eventually.

There’s a bit of a wild-card element to every play date. You can control your own behaviour, and you may have attempted to teach your child how to behave as a guest in someone else’s home – or as a host in their own – but you can’t guarantee that your kid won’t spontaneously decide that today is the day to break all the rules.

The children may wander off while you’re attempting to make polite conversation with another parent, and just when you think how nice it is that they are playing together quietly, you suddenly realize that things have gotten too quiet.

We asked for tales of play dates gone wrong on HuffPost Parents’ Facebook page and elsewhere. Here are some of the wildest stories, lightly edited for readability.

A leaky situation

New York mum Kimberly Schwartz and her husband went to pick up their three-year-old from an after-school play date at a friend’s house. After they arrived, the adults chatted in the kitchen while the kids played upstairs. Then, “my husband pointed out a leak coming from the ceiling. The wall was yellow where it was leaking,” said Schwartz.

“My daughter was having so much fun she decided to opt out of using the bathroom and had wet herself in the exact spot upstairs where there was a gap in the molding. She had made it rain urine in their house. And now it’s all I can think of when I visit.”

An eerie glow

When Tammy Greenwood-Stewart of San Diego arranged a play date for her youngest child, then six, she bought glow sticks for entertainment. It worked, but “the two kids chewed the glow sticks,” Greenwood-Stewart said, “and their mouths, tongues, stuffed animals and bedding were all luminescent for hours.”

She said that the parents “Googled like crazy” but the kids were unharmed, adding that her child has since grown into an 18-year-old adult.

Playing referee

When her boys were 10 and eigh years old, Suzanne Brown of Austin, Texas, invited two brothers at those same ages to their house for a play date — but things quickly turned violent.

“Our guests got into such a horrible physical fight with each other that my husband actually had to physically separate them,” said Brown.

“The only way we could keep things from restarting was to move the younger boys to a different part of the house and keep them there.”

When Brown and her husband explained to the guests’ mother what had happened, she responded nonchalantly, “Oh, they get rowdy sometimes.”

Is that a wipe?

Lauren Woods of Washington agreed to babysit a friend’s three-year-old son at the boy’s house. Her own daughter was two at the time.

“He went to the bathroom by himself and said he didn’t need help, and naive person that I was, I believed him,” said Woods.

Later, when she entered the bathroom, Woods discovered that her charge had “gone number two and reached into his mom’s makeup to wipe himself.” When her friend texted to see if everything was going okay, Woods responded, “Yes, but I’m throwing your mascara away — please don’t try to retrieve it.“

Wisely, her friend texted back, “OK, I don’t want to know!”

When a play date is not a play date

Ashley Austrew of Omaha, Nebraska, once brought her kids to another family’s home for what she believed was a play date. She was invited to stay, but while the kids had fun playing, Austrew was subjected to what she generously called “a surprise MLM sales pitch.”

“I had to sit through a presentation about this mom’s multilevel marketing company and get pressured to buy things from her. I’m extremely introverted and really don’t know how to remove myself from awkward situations, so I just politely faked interest,” said Austrew. “It was painful.”

When the kids are playing together quietly, it's not always a good sign.
Paul Biris via Getty Images
When the kids are playing together quietly, it's not always a good sign.

A dress-up surprise

Sarah Zimmerman of California was chatting with other parents in her living room when she realized that they hadn’t seen their children for a bit, and things were suspiciously quiet.

Then, “my kid came out from the back of our house wearing my teddy,” she said. “It had been in a nondescript gray bag on the upper shelf of my closet. Delightful.”

Keeping everybody safe

Leah Cate of Portland, Oregon, recalled that shortly after her two boys were placed with her home as foster children, the family learned that the pair had two sisters also in foster care.

“We invited the girls over for a play date as soon as possible,” said Cate. This meant four children in the house, ages 6, 4, 3 and 2.

In what Cate described as “the happy chaos of reuniting,” the children “locked us out of the house in front of their social worker, who had come by to check on us. She found us panicking on the porch.”

But the story has the happiest of endings. “We all coached the kids about how to unlock the door, the worker had a great sense of humour, the girls soon came to live with their brothers, and after being in care for six years we adopted them all,” said Cate, who added, “I’m tired just remembering.”

Feelin’ free

Keaton Erin Buster hosted a get-together at her home when her son was preschool age.

“It was summer, so we were all hanging out on the back deck enjoying a barbecue,” she remembered.

“My son announced that he needed to go to the bathroom. I told him ‘OK’ and thought nothing of it. The next thing I know, he’s dropped his pants and is peeing off the deck in front of everyone!”

Buster says she yelled: “Nooo! Not there!”

He son gave her a bewildered look and said: “Why?? You always let me do it!”

“I died of embarrassment twice in the span of about eight seconds,” said Buster.

What happens in the woods...

Canada-based Ashley Owens recalled a celebration for the end of the school year where her son “pooped in the woods instead of going inside to do his business.”

The act might have remained secret, but “one of his friends put it on the end of a stick and chased other kids around with it,” said Owens.

Don’t drink that!

HuffPost reader Rai Mitchell’s daughter was in elementary school when she hosted a sleepover with one of the girl’s friends.

“I walked around the corner to see the child mixing a ‘potion’ concoction consisting of cough medicine, mouthwash and soda that she had intended to give to my child to drink,” she said.

Mitchell was shocked; she had figured that the girls were old enough to know to stay out of the medicine cabinet. But while they had the know-how to open all the safety caps on the bottles, they lacked the wisdom to understand that actually consuming the potion was a bad idea.

Unfortunately, the evening ended badly when Mitchell called off the slumber party. The friend “went fully feral, lashing out and refusing to comply,” said Mitchell, who eventually calmed the child down and drove her home.

It’s the thought that Counts?

Daniela of Cambridge, England, shared that she took her two daughters, ages five and three, to a play date with several other girls.

“At the end of it, the mum who hosted us gave the guests ... Christmas presents. My girls received one present to share,” she said.

“It was a present for the ‘family.’ A big drama followed by. My 3-year-old could not understand that it was a shared present, and my oldest wanted to carry it home by herself. They both cried all the way home.”

Me want cookie!

Another parent from Portland shared the story of an “impromptu” outdoor play date with their children, ages five and three, and a neighbour’s 3-year-old. One of their kids asked for a bite of the cookie that the neighbour child was holding — “and accidentally bit his thumb in the process. There was a little bit of blood.”

Of course, “the other mum was understandably upset,” perhaps not believing that the reader’s child had asked for the bite of cookie.

There were no further play dates between the families.