On the misery of ‘Mischief Night’

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A long, long time ago in a place far, far away, a holiday was created. It would be a time for children all across the land to get together and have some fun.  It would occur annually, like many internationally celebrated holidays such as Christmas, Easter and Halloween. Sounds splendid, doesn’t it? Luckily, this holiday hasn’t yet made the global distribution, because it is possibly the worst holiday ever invented.

Mischief Night was first created in America in 1790 and since then has draped its mayhem across Canada, before plaguing various areas of the UK, including Yorkshire and Liverpool, over roughly the last decade.Depending on the area, it is either celebrated on the evening before Halloween, or the evening before Bonfire Night. Despite its early origins, Mischief Night still isn’t  a well known occasion in the majority of England. If you have never heard of it either, this article will inform you about the general festivities and reasons why you will hope it never reaches your city.

Until fairly recently, Mischief Night was a harmless occasion, where young teenagers had the opportunity to play mild pranks on their friends and neighbours. It was a night of fun, and a chance to get in the spirit of Halloween or Bonfire night. Irritating the boring old folk of the area was the main driving force for the pranks, so eggs were thrown at cars and windows, often followed by a clouding of flour and syrup, just to make the concoction that little bit more sticky and stodgy, and harder to clean off.

Another way the youths would cause a stir was to knock on front doors, before fleeing into the night. Pretty annoying for the residents that were trying to catch up with their daily dose of TV soaps or reading, when they’re constantly being disturbed. If this wasn’t enough, toilet paper was often beautifully placed among the branches of trees in other people’s gardens, just as some light decoration to spruce the garden up. The older residents (or victims) would usually laugh at the children’s pranks, as food can be removed from cars, just as toilet paper can be taken down from trees.

However, before you sit back and consider how Mischief Night sounds like your idea of fun, you should know that it didn’t take long for mischief to turn to malicious mayhem. Groups of youths began to take the extremities of the holiday to a much higher level. It was becoming too tame and predictable, so the more delinquent of our society decided to mix it up a bit, putting terror into the hearts of many during the period leading up to Mischief Night. In some places, residents are not even safe in their own homes.

The pranks became life-threatening. It has been reported that fireworks and bangers have been posted through letterboxes, some of these letterboxes belong to homes that accommodate children. Mischief Night became an excuse for callous animals to riot, some of whom are as young as 10 years old. It is a common sight on this night to see cars with flat tyres, graffiti over homes and smashed windows. Another popular, unexplainable practice is the launching of paving slabs from bridges and onto passing cars below. What began as fun is now causing fatal injuries. Victims are helpless. Last year in Liverpool, the number of calls to the emergency services rose by 600%. As a result, it would take rescue teams around an hour to reach the problem, and by this time the mischievous youths had fled. Even more shocking is that on this night in New Jersey in 1991, over 130 arsons were reported.

It is questionable whether governments are doing their best to tackle the problem. Shop owners have been advised to refuse the sale of any eggs or flour to minors in the week leading up to Mischief Night. But taking into account all of the facts, eggs and flours are not exactly the main source of the problem.In the USA, it is also known as Hell Night, which I deem as much more appropriate.

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