Halloween and Mischief Night, or Devil’s night as it is also referred, is typically a time of fun and silly pranks. However, authorities are urging families to take precautions on Mischief Night and Halloween, as these spooky holidays have quickly fallen upon busy Americans. Mischief Night, held on Oct. 30 in the United States, dates back to the 1970s and has always given children and teenagers a free pass to engage in playful pranks.
There are many pranks that children and teenagers engage in on Mischief Night that are relatively harmless, albeit irritating. Trees are decorated with toilet paper and silly string, and pumpkins are smashed. However, some of the pranks kids engage in go further and result in vandalism. Youth have been known to spray paint cars, throw eggs and rocks, and even set things on fire. The result of these crimes leaves homeowners with damage that often times cannot be severe enough to make a claim to their insurance companies.
Authorities are urging homeowners to put their vehicles in the garage overnight, or place a car cover on them if possible. If there are outside lights or spotlights on the home, it is wise to leave them on for the duration of the holiday evenings. Purchasing signs that say “beware of the dog,” may deter the local youth of vandalizing the home in fear of causing a commotion from the dog.
Halloween is also a night for not only homeowners, but children as well to take precautions. There are cases each year of children being injured and even killed while out on Halloween. This year Halloween falls on a school day, so most children will be out in the dark. Parents are urged not to let children under the age of 12 trick or treat alone at night. If children are trick or treating alone, they should always stick to areas they are familiar with and should always trick or treat in groups. Children’s costumes should be brightly colored if possible. If the child is wearing dark clothes, make sure the costumes have reflective tape and stickers so that they are visible to drivers. Carrying glow sticks is also a good way for drivers to be able to easily recognize children in the dark. Wearing face paint instead of masks is highly recommended. This way the child’s vision is not impaired and the risk of stumbling into traffic is greatly reduced.
Adults also need to take precautions on Mischief night and Halloween night. Kids will be excited, running from yard to yard with their friends, screaming and laughing. Combine that with a sugar high, and danger could ensue. If out driving on Oct. 31, drive carefully and slowly especially through neighborhoods that are packed with trick or treaters. Remember that kids will be darting through yards, and pull in and out of driveways or parking lots carefully. Also, check children’s bags of goodies before they are allowed to tear through them. Do not allow them to have any candy that is not sealed tight. If it is homemade, looks like it has been tampered with, or is not sealed, throw it away!
Taking precautions on Mischief Night and Halloween is imperative. These are fun filled nights that children anxiously await, but it is important to remember that these festive evenings can turn dangerous and deadly if precautions are not taken, and safety is not taken into account.
By: Rebecca Savastio