Not all in Jersey call it Mischief Night
Here are a few surprises. Did you know asking what most people call the night before Halloween is a trick question? Because in the United States over 70% don’t call it anything. Growing up here in the Dirty Jerz I was shocked to learn this. Seems to be more of a northeast thing.
If you’re from the Garden State you probably were raised with the myopic viewpoint that it’s only called Mischief Night. But in Detroit they called it Devil’s Night, and it was known for its arsons. Which is why there’s been a volunteer push to watch the streets on October 30 and also to call it Angel’s Night.
Then there is Cabbage Night. Yeah I know, sounds ridiculous to us. That’s what parts of New England call it. Still other places call it Devil’s Eve, Gate Night and Goosey Night. Speaking of eve, I definitely remember growing up in Rahway and hearing some people refer to it as Mischief Eve rather than Mischief Night.
But Goosey Night? Silliest of them all, right? Well get this. Callers to our show Thursday let us know that in Pompton Lakes and Totowa people have been calling it Goosey Night for some time. Did they secede from this planet or something? What the heck is Goosey Night?
As far as what most of us know it by, Mischief Night has been around since 1790 used first in Britain not the U.S. However it wasn’t on October 30. It was the night before May Day and kids would play pranks like switching shop signs. It was also popping up in some parts of Britain on November 4 the night before Guy Fawkes Day. Kids would steal people’s gates. It wasn’t until the 1930’s and 1940’s that references to Mischief Eve began appearing in newspapers in the United States.
This year Hillside NJ announced an 8pm curfew for the nights leading up to and including Halloween. They’ve had their share of property damage lately and are trying to turn things around. Mischief Night, Goosey Night, whatever you call it...get off my lawn!
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