As October ticks on, the days become shorter and the world (okay, the Northern Hemisphere) becomes colder. Scary movie marathons and pumpkin patches take over weekends once spent basking in the sun. Ghosts and ghouls take their posts, lining the streets and haunting sidewalks as if it were their civic duty.
I’m sure we’re all familiar with Halloween, a night filled with costumes and candy and jump scares. But perhaps what you’re less familiar with is Mischief Night, sometimes called Devil’s Eve. This night takes place on October 30th, and its origins can be traced all the way back to 18th-century Great Britain, where children played harmless pranks such as stealing or switching signs around town. It’s unclear as to exactly when the tradition made its way across the Atlantic, but reports of Mischief Night began popping up in newspapers in the U.S. around the 1930s to 1940s. These pranks shifted towards something darker, with vandalism requiring police intervention, but it was generally seen as a mere nuisance until the late 20th century. This quickly changed in the 1980s, when Detroit saw a night filled with violence and arson. By 1984, there were almost a thousand fires in the city, with arson continuing to escalate. The night was deemed “Devil’s Night,” and in 1986, a curfew was imposed for anyone under the age of 18.
While I certainly don’t condone violence, vandalism, or arson, I do believe that the Halloween season is one meant for terror and hauntings. Embrace your darkness! Befriend your inner demons! Let’s get spooky!
Description by Victoria Conway; Playlist by Juliana Meduri