What Is the Night Before Halloween Called?


The night before Halloween is commonly called Mischief Night, particularly in the state of New Jersey. In some areas of New York State, the night is referred to as Goosey Night or Hell Night, while other areas in the New England area use the name Cabbage Night or Gate Night. In the Detroit region, people call it Devil's Night, while in the North and South Dakota states, the night is called Mat Night.

The night before Halloween is infamous for being a time when kids go out and perform pranks and acts of vandalism. Some common practices are throwing toilet paper in neighborhood trees, egging houses and smashing pumpkins.

The mischievous activity relates to the origins of Halloween, which was a Celtic tradition. It was believed spirits would roam the night before the Celtic New Year of November 1, playing tricks and vandalizing. This tradition carried to America from the Irish and Scottish immigrants. Halloween remained a holiday rooted in devious activity, until candy was introduced in the early 20th century to curb the amount of vandalism and dangerous activity that went on.

Many nations have their own versions of the Mischief Night. Germany has their own Mischief Night on May 1. In the United Kingdom, people perform mischief on November 4, the night before Guy Fawkes Night.