Night before Halloween

Thu Oct 31 17:36:15 UTC 2002

Ed Keer asks,

  >> I'm curious to hear what the night before Halloween is called in your
  >> neck of the woods. I grew up in SE Pennsylvania and we called it
  >> "mischief night". My wife, from Bergen county, NJ, calls it "goosie
  >> night". I've also heard "hell night" and "cabbage night" (again, North
  >> Jersey). Any others?

I also spent my early childhood in southeastern Pennsylvania; the evening
of October 30th was known locally as "Tick-Tack Night." Fred Cassidy, to
whom I described it about 20 years ago, said he'd be using the term, so I
assume it'll appear in a forthcoming volume of *DARE*.

Here's the pertinent quote from my letter to Cassidy: "It wasn't a night
for vandalism, but for very specific mischief. One took an ordinary empty
wooden spool, cut notches in the flanges at each end, then wound a length
of string around the spool. The spool was then held against a window pane,
with a long nail through it, and the string was pulled; the startling sound
which resulted gave the night its name."

--Dodi Schultz

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