The strange custom of Mischief Night in New Jersey

The night before Halloween has always been known to most New Jerseyans as “Mischief Night”.

We talked about how it seems this generation of young people aren’t interested or aware of the prank-filled night.

No one who called reported the usual pranks.

Darrin Klimek

Darrin Klimek

Most people called to talk about what they did in their wasted youth.

We heard about the usual pranks of toilet paper thrown on telephone wires, tree branches and cars.

The usual soaping of car windows, the throwing of eggs and the classic dog poo in a bag lit on fire on the doorstep.

Darrin Klimek

Darrin Klimek

Ah, the good old days.

Other than a few kids lining trees in my quiet suburban neighborhood on Sunday night, it seems the tradition is a thing of the past.

According Berlin Boro Facebook page – History Happeningthey had their own interesting tradition in town:

“Mischief Night is a New Jersey tradition, but Berlin had its own group of pranksters calling it “Banking Night” on WHP and Jackson Rd. Residents would wake up on Halloween to see a hodgepodge of odds and ends. -à-brac in front of the bank Pictured is Halloween 1972 with the ultimate “Banking Night”.

via Berlin Boro – The story happens on Facebook

via Berlin Boro – The story happens on Facebook

One of the curious things we learned is that Mischief Night is almost exclusively a Jersey affair.

Another one The Facebook group, GHS Friends – Garfield, NJ, shared the following message with their group and the members invited to share their memories,

“Growing up in Garfield, Northern New Jersey, we called Halloween Eve ‘GOOSE’ night. Other places in New Jersey and across the country had their versions…like Goosey Night, Mischief Night , Devils Night and even Cabbage Night. We were more about fun and not serious damage. Mostly throwing eggs, soaping or waxing windows, and TP’ing. Groups of kids were meeting and eggs were coming out for battle. What are some of your goose night stories growing up in New Jersey.”

via GHS Friends – Garfield, NJ on Facebook

via GHS Friends – Garfield, NJ on Facebook

Also, parts of the northern Garden State called it “Cabbage Night“, a term primarily associated with parts of New England.

In Michigan, it’s called “Devil’s Night.” Most of the rest of the country doesn’t have a name for it or have such a tradition.

Who knew we were such a wild and mischievous bunch? Well, we did.

A map created a few years ago by Joshua Katz of NC State University shows what different parts of the country call mischief night, though the majority of the country calls it nothing. Click here to see the map.

What other weird traditions do we have that we think are normal?

Like paying $12,000 a year in property taxes for an average-sized home.

This is proof of wrongdoing at the State House in Trenton for many years!

The views expressed in the above post are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Dennis Malloy only.

You can now listen Dennis and Judi — On demand! Listen to New Jersey’s favorite Best Friends anytime, anywhere, and any day of the week. Download the Dennis & Judi show wherever you get podcasts, on our free app, or listen right away.

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