Mischief Night (also known as Devil's Night, Hell Night, Cabbage Night, Gate Night, Mizzy Night, Miggy Night or Goosing Night) is an annual tradition in parts of the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States when people (primarily teenagers and preteens) take a degree of license to play pranks and do mischief in their neighbourhoods. The most common date for Mischief Night in England and North America is October 30, the day before Halloween.
The earliest reference to the night is from 1790 when the fellows of St John's College, Oxford, studied[clarification needed] a headmaster who had encouraged a school play which ended in "an Ode to Fun which praises children's tricks on Mischief Night in most approving terms". In the United Kingdom the pranks were originally carried out as part of the May Day celebrations, but as workers moved into urban areas during the industrial revolution Mischief Night was moved to 4 November, the night before Guy Fawkes Night. According to one historian "May Day and the Green Man had little resonance for children in grimy cities. They looked at the opposite end of the year and found the ideal time, the night before the gunpowder plot." In Germany, Mischief Night is still celebrated in the night before 1 May.
Contemporary practice 
The separation of Halloween tricks from treats seems to have only developed sporadically, often appearing in some areas but not at all in others nearby. In Northern New Jersey's Passaic County, Somerset County, and Essex County and parts of Sussex County, it is called "Mischief Night". In some towns in Passaic County, Bergen County, Morris County, Sussex County, and parts of New York State, it is known as "Goosey Night". In South Jersey and the Philadelphia region (as well as Westchester County in New York and Fairfield County in Connecticut), October 30 is referred to as "Mischief Night," where mischievous teens rub soap bars on car windows, throw eggs at houses, adorn trees with toilet paper, and run away after ringing doorbells. In some areas of Queens, New York, Cabbage Night involved throwing rotten fruit at various neighbors, cars, and buses. Pre-teens and teens would fill eggs with Neet and Nair and throw them at unsuspecting individuals. In the mid-1980s garbage was set on fire and cemeteries were set ablaze. In Camden, New Jersey, Mischief Night had escalated to the point where widespread arsons were committed in the 1990s. Over 130 arsons were committed in that city on the night of October 30, 1991.
It is known as "Gate Night" in Trail, British Columbia, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Thunder Bay, Ontario, Nanuet, NY, Stony Point, NY, New City, NY, Valley Cottage NY, North Dakota and South Dakota (USA) and as "Mat Night" in Quebec, Canada, always on 30 October, the eve of Halloween. It is also commonly known as "Devil's Night" in many places throughout Canada and western Pennsylvania.
It is also known in Yorkshire as "Mischievous Night", "Miggy Night", "Tick-Tack Night", "Corn Night", "Trick Night" and "Micky Night" and is celebrated on November 4. In Widnes, it is known as "Mizzy Night" and is celebrated on October 30.
Popular tricks include toilet papering yards and buildings, powder-bombing and egging cars, people, and homes, using soap to write on windows, "forking" yards, setting off consumer fireworks, and smashing pumpkins and jack-o'-lanterns. Local grocery stores often refuse to sell eggs to pre-teens and teens around the time of Halloween for this reason. Occasionally though, the damage can include the more serious spray-painting of buildings and homes.
Less destructive is the ever-popular prank known as "Knock, Knock, Ginger", "Ding-Dong Ditch" and "knock-a-door-run" among many other names. in this 'game' people ring doorbells or knock on doors, and then run and hide somewhere nearby.One variation involves pranksters inserting a pin into a doorbell so that it rings continuously. Also known in London.UK as "Knock down ginger".
Among younger children, the practice of trick-or-treating on Halloween night itself traditionally carried the implied threat of minor pranks (or "tricks") in the absence of the requested "treats"; in modern times, however, this threat is rarely if ever acted upon.
Angels' Night 
In Detroit, Michigan, which was particularly hard-hit by Devil's Night arson and vandalism throughout the 1980s, many citizens take it upon themselves to patrol the streets to deter arsonists and those who may break the law. This is known as "Angels' Night." Some 40,000 volunteer citizens patrol the city on Angels' Night, which usually runs October 29 through October 31, around the time most Halloween festivities are taking place.
Cabbage Night 
In Berkshire County, Massachusetts the night was commonly referred to as "Cabbage stalk night" from the 1970s through the '90s.
In rural Niagara Falls, Ontario during the 1950s and '60s, Cabbage Night referred to the custom of raiding local gardens for leftover rotting cabbages & hurling them about to create mischief in the neighborhood.
In the 1994 film The Crow, based upon comic book of the same name, the protagonist, Eric Draven, and his fiancée are murdered on the eve of their Halloween wedding on "Devil's Night" by a street gang on the orders of Detroit's most notorious crime lord, Top Dollar. With the help of a mystical crow, Eric returns from the grave on "Devil's Night" exactly one year later to exact revenge against the crime lord and his henchmen.
- 'Devil's Night' Fires Decline By More Than Half in Detroit Retrieved on 30 October 2008
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- Firehouse.com News: Fire and Police Departments Extinguish Pre-Halloween Arson Sprees Retrieved on 30 October 2008
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- Mischief Night film review Retrieved on 31 October 2008
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- Confessions from a Mischief Night brat BBC Yorkshire report — November 2006
- Police Patrol for Mischief Night BBC Merseyside report — November 2006
- Dialect Survey Results US terms;prevalence and distribution