Mischief Night, Cabbage Night, Goosey Night; The Story Of A New Jersey Tradition

What do you call the night before Halloween? If you live in New Jersey, the answer is likely Mischief Night, Cabbage Night, or Goosey Night. Mischief Night is the most popular option but I’ve heard all three in the Garden State. The almost-holiday exists in just a handful of states, according to the Harvard Dialect Survey. The survey identifies regional terms and phrases. Elsewhere in the U.S., the night before Halloween is called Devil’s Night, Den Night, Gate Night, or nothing at all, with nothing at all being the most common. So, what does it mean, and where does it come from?

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Many towns put curfews in place to prevent the evening from descending into complete chaos. Though, we’re happy to report that there are rarely major issues in New Jersey. The night is also celebrated in Michigan, where there have been larger problems. Other areas that participate in Halloween Eve pranks are Upstate New York, Western Massachusetts, Eastern Pennsylvania, and some parts of Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Delaware. But why is it most prevalent in New Jersey? I’d guess it has to do with early settlers of the state and the mixing and evolution of cultures and traditions. Learn more New Jersey Halloween History here.