You’ve probably heard of trick or treating, but have you heard of Mischief Night?

Chances are, particularly if you live in the north of England or the US, you have.

Across the pond it’s referred to as Devil’s Night, Cabbage Night, Gate Night or Goosey Night.

Unlike Halloween, Mischief Night is all about tricking and not so much about treats.

Most of the tricks youngsters play tend to be harmless pranks, such as covering trees with toilet roll.

But the unofficial holiday has become renowned for anti-social behaviour and violence, with emergency services and police needing to step in.

What is Mischief Night?

Mischief Night is generally associated with the eve before Halloween, but in other cities it is “celebrated” on November 4, the night before Bonfire Night.

Halloween
Mischief night is often associated with Halloween

It may seem like an excuse to annoy your neighbours, but the history of Mischief Night stretches back far.

It’s actually believed to have started in the 18th century as part of May Day celebrations.

The first reference to it is in 1790, when a school play written by a headmaster ended with a poem called “Ode to Fun”, praising Mischief Night.

In it he urged kids to play pranks on each other. Young people would prank one another by locking each other in their houses and switch our street signs.

It has been marked throughout the years, but since the 1950s it has started to wane in popularity.

But it is still marked in the north of England, and it’s known as Mizzy Night in Liverpool.

What pranks take place on Mischief Night?

Most Mischief Night pranks are relatively harmless, meaning they can be easily cleaned up.

Mischief Night
Mischief Night isn't about trick or treating

Popular pranks include throwing eggs and used to involve covering each other in treacle.

Other tricks include throwing toilet paper around, smashing pumpkins or ringing doorbells and running away.

However, in recent years it has been associated with serious vandalism and arson.

There have been reports of spray-painting, fireworks, fires and bricks being thrown.

Police forces in the north of England report seeing a spike in arrests over Halloween each year.

Stay safe everyone!