As a kid, I loved getting dressed up for Halloween and going door to door saying Trick or Treat!

When I was a teenager, some of my friends told me about something called Devil's Night.

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It wasn't hard for my friends to convince me to toilet paper and egg several of our friend's houses.


What Is Devil's Night?

Devil's Night made its way to Detroit in the 1930s and 1940s.

Some historians even cite the rise of the Devil's Night mischief to Black Tuesday on October 29, 1929, when the U.S. stock market crashed, causing the Great Depression.

Wall Street Crash
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Young kids in Detroit would engage in a night of mischievous or petty criminal behavior, usually consisting of minor pranks or acts of mild vandalism, which caused little or no property damage.

Devil's Night Takes A Turn For The Worse

In the early 1980s, the pranks began taking a dangerous tone, and Devil's Night turned into something far more dangerous, with arson and vandalism of abandoned properties and homes.


The arson rates in Detroit numbered between 500 and 800 fires in a typical year.

Detroit Launches "Angel's Night" Campaign

In response, the city of Detroit launched an anti-arson campaign called "Angel's Night" in 1995, which has helped to reduce the number of incidents.

Devil's Night started many years ago as "Mischief Night"

Some pranks that people did include:

  • Toilet papering homes and trees
  • Soaping cars and windows
  • Pumpkin smashing
  • Collecting rotten vegetables and leaving them on porch stoops or smearing them on doors and windows (known as "Cabbage Night" in parts of the northeastern United States)
  • Stealing doormats and switching them with the neighbors' (known as "Mat Night" in English-speaking Quebec)
  • Opening farmers' gates, leaving livestock to roam free (known as "Gate Night" in the Midwest)
  • Planting lawn signs for one city council candidate on the lawn of his opponent
  • Soaping windows (a common prank that is harmless)

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