The Frightening History of Mischief Night…

(Zentangle(R)-inspired art by Jenn Webster)

I very much know that most of you families who have children are getting ready to take them out for trick-or-treating come Halloween night; But before you plan on doing so, then I would like to address something OTHER than trick-or-treating-It is called Mischief Night.

Now, Mischief Night happens to be something of a formal holiday on which certain children and teenagers engage in pranks as well as minor acts of vandalism; Its origins go back to as very early as 1790, in which a headmaster encouraged a school play which ended in “an Ode to Fun which praises children’s tricks on Mischief Night in most approving terms. Those kinds of pranks had originally been carried out in the United Kingdom as part of the May Day celebrations, but later in the year they were shifted, with dates varying it in different areas, while some had marked October 30th, the night before Halloween, as the somewhat official date for Mischief Night, while another date for mischief had been set for November 4th, the night before Bonfire Night.
Parts of Connecticut and the New York State, as well as Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, Mischief Night has been referred to particularly as that name, while those who live in the Great Lakes Region refer to the night as the “Devil’s Night”. And believe it or not, it had also been called “Goosey Night” in some towns in Northern New Jersey as well as some parts of New York State.
The most popular traditional acts that go with Mischief Night are: Egging cars, people, and homes, toilet papering yards and buildings, using soap to write on windows, setting off fireworks, and even smashing pumpkins and Jack-O-Lanterns. Because of those kind of acts, local grocery stores would not sell eggs to teens as well as pre-teens; Meanwhile, on occasion, the damage that goes with Mischief Night could very well escalate to include the spray-painting of homes and buildings. And yes, even teens put a paper bag that is filled with a dog’s, er, business, at the front door of any victim, thus while setting it on fire, and then any prankster would run off while the occupant stomps out that…er…surprise.

I have kind of shuddered whenever I think of the event that is known as Mischief Night, and I would happen to know-About 18 years ago, I think, my grandmother would come to stay with us at our house, back when I lived in Philadelphia; My grandmother would help us carve the pumpkins, and then would place them out on the front porch. When my grandmother and I were informed that one of the pumpkins were either egged or destroyed, she became very upset, and then had to move them closer to the door.
My grandmother is gone now, but now I would worry for my uncle, aunt, and the rest of my family; We are planning on carving the pumpkins and then would be putting them out on the front porch of our house, but there is still this worry that any of our pumpkins could be egged, or even destroyed. Our only hope would be that our pumpkins in which we plan to get and carve would not ever be victimized by the vandalism of Mischief Night.

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