10 Posts to Hallowe’en: Post 10, Mischief Night

I am celebrating as much as I can for Hallowe’en – and that means here on the blog too! So I present to you, my lovelies, the 10 Posts to Hallowe’en !

Each post will highlight a particular part of the Hallowe’en season I enjoy immensely and wish to share with everyone.

Please feel free to participate by commenting below!

The History of Mischief Night

 

Mischief Night, for those who don’t know, is on the Eve of Halloween … or Halloween’s Eve’s Eve, I guess? In any case, when the sun goes down on October 30th, the masked teenagers and mischief-makers run around town TPing houses, spray painting fences and generally being young and crazy.

I have always known about Mischief night, though most of my friends, in my first year at Law school, didn’t. See, in Detroit Mischief Night is a thing. Like, a real thing. Like there are fires the likes of which only the homecoming crowd at Queen’s are used to and spraypainting that goes beyond fun.

If this seems a tad destructive, did I mention that this night is also known as Devil’s Night?

Yup. That.

Apparently, the first recording of “Mischief Night” can be traced back to merry old England in the 1790s. It referred to some pranking that was done in Oxford by the students there. So once again, the Ivory Tower to thank for general mischief, apparently.

Apparently it’s a festival only popular in very Anglo- countries: the UK, Canada and America. I am not sure about Australia, though I imagine there would be some mischief in Australia πŸ™‚

in Niagara Falls Ontario it’s known as “Cabbage Night”. This is because of folks stealing cabbages and throwing them about on the night. No, I am not making that up …

Though there have been nights of destruction – the 1980s in Detroit for example which prompted “Angels’ Night” – in general, the night is for pranks in a way that Halloween is not. We may teach our children to say “Trick or Treat” when we teach them to say “please” and “thank you”, but the “trick” in the saying has long been suppressed by the “treat”. If anything, the only “trick” we have left on Halloween itself if putting on a mask to hide our own identities, to become someone or something else for a night.

Mischief Night retains the “trick” – allows for teenagers to carouse about and do harmless pranks, like TPing the oak in their principal’s front lawn or wrapping the front door to the school in banages like a mummy (true story, ah the good old days). So while I don’t like the damage that some mischeif nights have resulted in, I think a night of general gallavanting is a good thing – reminding us of being young and carefree and enjoying the night as it should be enjoyed!

What are your thoughts on Mischief Night?

Cheers!

AmmyB

 

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One thought on “10 Posts to Hallowe’en: Post 10, Mischief Night

  1. Actually, it is also in New Zealand too. I had a webpage called “The Other Mischief Night Page” from Sept. 2000 to Nov. 2004, when I took it down for lack of interest. I was contacted by someone in New Zealand about my webpage and apparently, they started doing mischief night in 2004. I still have the webpage on disc. I may consider putting back up on the internet if there is enough interest. Interested in bringing back mischief night to the Northeast? Drop me an e-mail at vinnyamatucci@rocketmail.com

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