Mischief Night

I'd never heard of Mischief Night before, but then it seems to be local to northern England. From the BBC:

Depending on where you live, it lands sometime around Halloween and Bonfire Night. And opinions vary on whether it is a chance for harmless fun or an excuse for anti-social behaviour.
Like many native traditions, its exact origins are unknown, but Mischief Night is thought to date from the 1700s when a custom of Lawless Hours or Days prevailed in Britain...
Since the 1950s, Mischief Night appears to have died out in all areas of the UK except northern England, and it is not at all clear why.
What is known is that it was exported to the United States, and recently re-imported as trick or treat, now popular across the UK.


Posted on Tue Nov 03, 2009


Mischief night was old hat in Eastern Pennsylvania when I was a kid (Early 70s). We also called it Tick-Tack Night. I think the name was for the sound that dried feed corn made when you threw it at windows and aluminum siding to annoy the neighbors.

Bonfires? We leave that for the English, and Detroit.
Posted by Maurice Marvi  in  Earth  on  Tue Nov 03, 2009  at  07:35 PM
In NJ, mischief night is celebrated the night before halloween; and it includes "toilet papering" and egg throwing. This has caused curfews in some towns on october 30th and not on the 31st.
Posted by mario  in  new joysey  on  Tue Nov 03, 2009  at  08:22 PM
Mischief Night sounds a lot like Devil's Night, as observed in Detroit. If you call burning down the city "bonfires."
Posted by Big Gary  in  Buffalo, Texas  on  Tue Nov 03, 2009  at  08:53 PM
Does burning down a government-subsidised house every fortnight count? If not, it's fairly quiet here in Tassie...
Posted by Joel B1  in  Hobart, Tasmania  on  Tue Nov 03, 2009  at  11:55 PM
the Halloween lighting bonfires is a Celtic tradition. Dressing up as ghosts and calling from house to house to get a treat was a tradition from Ireland, along with the Jack O'lantern.
Posted by Paz  in  Ireland  on  Wed Nov 04, 2009  at  01:35 AM
Yes mischief night is usually the night before Hallowe'en, my Dad used to participate in it when he were a lad, living Yorkshire.
Posted by Mr R  on  Wed Nov 04, 2009  at  01:44 AM
I did Mischief Night too, when I lived in Yorkshire, not so long ago. There was no real 'Treat' element about it, we were going to play tricks whatever the adults did. We did things like egg houses, flour bomb cars, take gates off the hinges and hide them, hide behind graveyard walls and make spooky noises. It was actually a lot of fun.

Oh, and Bonfire Night is the 'modern' name. It used to be called Guy Fawkes night, and the bonfire was to burn an effigy of Guy Fawkes. Some places still do this.
Posted by Nona  on  Wed Nov 04, 2009  at  05:35 AM
It's Devil's Night in Western Pennsylvania. I never did anything, but it could sometimes get a bit destructive.
Posted by Crazy Ivan  on  Wed Nov 04, 2009  at  08:31 AM
It's called Mischief Night in eastern PA, too. It's the night before Halloween and its spent TP'ing trees, egging houses and soaping car windows. It was much more of a big deal when I was a kid, than it is now.
Posted by Brian  in  Pennsylvania  on  Wed Nov 04, 2009  at  10:17 AM
During the late 1950s and early 1960s in rural Penna.(60 miles from Phila.) Mischief Night was the night before Halloween. We soaped car windows, rang door bells and ran away, rolled people's pumpkins down the street, tipped over outhouses,lit small fires in the center of the road, etc.
Posted by Roger  in  Hilo, Hawaii  on  Wed Nov 04, 2009  at  01:23 PM
Yup, Mischief night in Northern Delaware, too. Twas the night before Halloween... not much of a tradition up here in NorthCentral Pennsylvania where I traipse these days, altho I did make a fake cat turd from a brownie and leave it on the doorstep of my neice last year... placed ever so delicately on a small, ornate saucer, by the way... hey, presentation is 90% of the sale, they say
Posted by Hairy Houdini  on  Thu Nov 05, 2009  at  01:31 PM
Definitely the 4th November when I was a girl. (The night before Guy Fawkes night) It was somehow more "bad" and hardcore than trick or treating on Hallowe'en.
Posted by Pixie  in  Germany  on  Fri Nov 13, 2009  at  12:49 PM
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