Few things say that Halloween is here like waking up on October 31st to see trees draped with toilet paper. Yes, the Mischief Night pranksters had struck.

But talk about Mischief Night outside of our home state, and people will probably look at you a little suspiciously. 

I found this out when I first moved to Central Pennsylvania for my previous job. Halloween is a big deal in that area (thanks in large part to being the home of both Hershey and M&Ms, a holiday where candy is the focus is obviously big business), but when I asked a co-worker what to prepare myself for as Mischief Night approached in my new town, I was looked at like I'd just asked where I could park my gravy powered hovercraft. 

It turns out that other parts of the country just don't do Mischief Night. This map from NC State University is a good illustration:

Joshua Katz, Department of Statistics, NC State University
Joshua Katz, Department of Statistics, NC State University

There are some variations in the immediate areas surrounding New Jersey, like Delaware and Philadelphia, but go to, say Harrisburg, Pennsylvania for example, and TP a tree in someone's front yard late at night on October 30th and you may end up in handcuffs.

I guess there's a fine line between "a prank" in Toms River and "petty vandalism" in another state. 

Of course, those of us who grew up in the Garden State know that Mischief Night is meant to be just that, mischief. It's not meant to cause damage or harm.

A tree weeping a few rolls of Charmin (us Mischief Night veterans know that the cheap stuff tears too easily), a couple smiley faces drawn on windows with soap, and most people get a chuckle out of youthful playfulness (let's be honest, though, if you're some dude in his 40s going out and TPing his boss's house, there's a fine line between mischief and stalking).

What were some of your Mischief Night go-to's when you were a kid? Comment below and let us in on your tricks of the trade!


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