Dads help keep the New Jersey tradition of ‘Mischief Night’ alive with their sons
On the night before Halloween, it is typically a New Jersey tradition to get involved in a little bit of light vandalism known as “Mischief Night.”
During the tradition, people – usually children or teenagers – will prank their neighbors by throwing toilet papers on their homes or maybe throwing some eggs. News 12 New Jersey’s Brian Donohue met up with some New Jersey dads who are keeping the tradition alive with their young sons.
Donohue caught up with his friends James Slifer and Jonathan Cukron who were getting up to no good with their boys.
“We are prepping to do a little ‘TP’ on Mischief Night. Nothing by good clean fun,” says Cukron.
The men have been bringing their children out for the last 15 years to continue the practice. They even use a leaf blower to help spread the toilet paper around the homes. They only target their friends’ homes and know that a little retribution will be coming their way after it is all over.
“They put caution tape around my truck and then the wives came and put cake batter in the handles. When I’m trying to open the door, my hands got full of cake batter,” Slifer says.
Mischief Night is an almost purely New Jersey phenomenon. No other state seems to have the tradition – or at least a name for it.
Donohue says that Mischief Night has almost been a barometer of societal norms in the United States. From the 1930s until the ‘70s it was a night of innocent pranks. In the peak of the crime years in the ‘70s and ‘80s, the pranks got out of hand, with arson in places like Camden and some people doing some real damage.
Donohue says that now in the era of so-called “helicopter parents” and kids addicted to screens, the tradition has almost died out.
The group says that they hit several houses Wednesday night. Slifer says that his own home was covered with toilet paper when he returned home.