Mischief Night

YES- West Yorkshire Police PosterOn Halloween, one of us goes out with David as he wanders the nearby streets knocking on doors. He rather enjoys trick or treat although it isn’t just about the haul of sweets he comes home with. He remembers houses from previous years, particularly ones with pets. He avoids some houses though, as he says the people are “weird”.

Last night, I was reminded of the scene in “ET” where there were crowds of youngsters wandering with their parents at a discreet distance. This is how it is in Britain is these days, at least in the early evening. Remembering back to when I was young in the late 60s/early 70s, about all that happened in Newcastle was that we would get a turnip (or a suede, in southern speak), cut the top off, hollow it out, cut a face in, fashion a string handle, put a candle inside then put the top back on and carry it around outside to show our mates. The outcome of this was that we would come home smelling of scorched turnip and probably have candle wax stuck to our fingers. We didn’t get up to any mischief or knocking on doors, the only dodgy bit would be where we got the turnip from, generally scrumped from a farm at Kenton Bank Foot (until the farmer caught us one year, that is).

A broken eggHowever, the trick or treating carries on until much later in the evening, when it can get a bit more unpleasant. ET the Director’s cut typifies this, with a deleted scene where teenagers are out causing mayhem with eggs, flour, fireworks and superglue. It seems that it is starting to become a problem in Bradford, where the Police have made available these YES/No posters to old people or anyone who feels intimidated.NO Poster- West Yorkshire Police Yorkshire actually has a tradition known as Mischief_night (on November the 4th) and I can only recall any impact of this being some toilet roll wrapped round our ornamental conifers in the front garden. I suspect one or two of the local regulars will have stories to tell though about what they got up to when they were younger.

In Newcastle, every day was mischief day, we used to play knocky-nine-doors, where we rang the bell and ran away. It still happens today, but now it is called ParcelForce.

8 Replies to “Mischief Night”

  1. Ian A, I can’t claim it for my own, I heard a comedian say it once. They get stashed away and pop out years later.

  2. I have fond memories of turnips and how frustrating they were to dig out and carve. Living in America introduced me to the delights of pumpkins, which don’t need to be scooped out too much and are easy to carve. We use pumpkins here in Australia.

  3. You’re right, Colin, turnips were a real git to hollow out. A bread knife rather than a spoon.

    I had my first Pumpkin Pie in Saudi Arabia- way better than Neeps.

  4. Well if you ask me carving and burning turnips is about all they are good for since they taste vile.
    Some people were commenting about how many teenagers were out trick or treating this year and this is what we found. I think mums and dads are keeping the smaller ones very close to home or having private parties. Teenagers should by their own candy!

  5. I had an egg thrown at my first floor bathroom window last year but I feel the joke is on them – it is relatively easy to fully open the windows and reach out and clean them without going outside so it was cleaned off within a few hours. I’m not sure if they are deliberately designed this way but it’s a good thing because I haven’t got a ladder.

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