The strange custom of Mischief Night in New Jersey
The night before Halloween was always known by most New Jersey residents as "Mischief Night."
We talked about how it seems like this generation of young people is not interested in or aware of the prank-filled night.
No one who called in reported any kind of the usual pranks.
Most people called to talk about what they used to do in their misspent youth.
We heard about the usual pranks of toilet paper thrown over telephone wires, tree limbs, and cars.
The usual soaping of car windows, egg throwing, and the classic dog poo in a bag lit on fire on the doorstep.
Ah, the good ole days.
Other than a few kids toilet-papering some trees in my quiet suburban neighborhood Sunday night, it seems like the tradition is a thing of the past.
According to Berlin Boro- History Happening Facebook page, they had their own interesting tradtion in town:
"Mischief Night is a New Jersey tradition, but Berlin had its own group of pranksters who called it 'Banking Night'. During the 1950s and 1960s teenagers in Berlin would find junk items around town and 'relocate' them to the old Berlin National Bank on WHP and Jackson Rd. Residents would wake up on Halloween to see a hodgepodge of junk in front of the bank. Pictured is Halloween 1972 with the ultimate 'Banking Night'.
One of the curious things we learned is that Mischief Night is almost exclusively a Jersey thing.
Another Facebook group, GHS Friends - Garfield, NJ, shared the following message with their group and invited members to share their memories,
"Growing up in Garfield in northern New Jersey, we called the night before Halloween "GOOSE" night. Other places in NJ and across the country had their versions... like Goosey Night, Mischief Night, Devils Night, and even Cabbage Night. We were more about the fun and not severe damage. Mostly throwing eggs, soaping or waxing windows, and TP'ing. Groups of kids would meet up and eggs would come out for battle. What are some of your stories about Goose night growing up in NJ."
Also, some northern parts of the Garden State called it "Cabbage Night," a term mostly associated with some parts of New England.
In Michigan, it's called "Devil's Night." Most of the rest of the country either doesn't have a name for it or doesn't have such a tradition.
Who knew we were such a wild mischievous bunch? Well, we did.
A map created a few years ago by Joshua Katz at NC State University shows what different regions of the country call mischief night, although the majority of the country doesn't call it anything. Click here to see the map.
What other strange traditions do we have that we think are normal?
Like paying $12,000 a year in property taxes for an average-sized house.
That's evidence of mischief at the State House in Trenton over many years!
Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Dennis Malloy only.
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