Mischief Night (sometimes called Devil’s Night) is not on any calendar, but I grew up with it being the night before Halloween (making it 10/30). It was the night when houses were TP’d or egged, and pumpkins smashed. Now, police don’t take kindly to such rowdy misbehavior, as the kids who went around smashing pumpkins around here a few years back probably learned (if they were ever caught). But, as I’ve researched into the concept of Yuletide vandalism, I’ve started to suspect that the world needs a little bit of that energy at least once in a while.
My going theory is that there is some potentially otherworldly force (nothing large, mind you, just a nudge) urging people to do things like kidnap baby Jesus figures out of nativity scenes or set fire to the Gavle Goat. I’m unsure what this force is, but I think it’s connected to (and possibly remembers) ancient customs of going door to door demanding food and drink from one’s wealthy neighbors, getting progressively inebriated as the night wears on. Things like the Lord of Misrule and upturning the social order for a little while each year (such as by dressing in costumes or as the opposite sex). I wonder if this force is urging people to do the things they do (like TP houses and yards or egg cars) in that same spirit.
Perhaps bored, drunk teenagers are just the type to be susceptible to that kind of influence? Alcohol can be used to lower inhibitions and allow one to enter an altered state of consciousness. (Don’t ask me about entheogens please.) And perhaps some of it is tied to a resurgence of the otherworldly into the world we have considered “physical” and even “ours” for so long.
But the haunted season is only just beginning.