What does New Jersey call the night before Halloween and how do you celebrate?
We have our standard New Jersey debates:
- Is it pork roll or Taylor Ham?
- Is Central Jersey a thing?
- Should we be able to pump our own gas?
Once a year we have a very specific debate regarding October 30th, the night before Halloween: what is that day called?
I’ve always been a staunch “Mischief Night” person. I was well into my 20s before I heard that there was actually another name for it.
“Mischief Night” makes sense to me, it’s very straightforward. Kids go around throwing toilet paper over neighbors’ trees? Sounds like mischief to me!
“Goosey Night” required a google search to learn that “goosey” means “giddy” or “foolish” and didn’t have anything to do with the bird.
Then I learned there’s a third option.
Did you know there are people in New Jersey who refer to October 30th as “Cabbage Night?” Yes... THAT kind of cabbage. The food. This also required some snooping.
Apparently, it’s of Scottish origin. Women would use cabbage leaves as a way to tell fortunes before throwing them at neighbors’ houses.
I guess it makes as much sense as throwing toilet paper, but it’s still a silly name to me.
So while the Garden State is torn when it comes to what to call the night before Halloween (more on that in a poll below), one thing we can agree on is how to celebrate it.
On Friday afternoon’s show on New Jersey 101.5, we asked New Jerseyans what they did in their younger days for Mischief/Goosey/Cabbage Night, and they did NOT disappoint.
Greg on Route 72 recalled going out with friends for Mischief Night to target their high school teacher. Not even one that was disliked, this was someone he was pals with! The teacher found out what Greg did and ribbed him for it the next day.
Renee in Plainsboro grew up calling it Goosey Night. She would go out with friends and throw eggs and shaving cream at each other. They didn’t do any damage to property, just their parents’ sanity when they came home covered head to toe.
Steve in Hillsborough stepped up his Mischief night game. He went out in his 20s and used industrial-strength stretch wrap to encase the car of someone he didn’t like.
Barbara from Toms River was “one and done” when it came to what she grew up calling "Goosey Night." She and her friends threw fruit at a passing car and the driver actually pulled over to try to find them! Luckily he was unsuccessful, but that was still enough excitement for Barbara.
And the winner: Joe from Hackettstown was the most mischievous of all, in my opinion. He and his friends would put poop (dog OR human) in a bag, light it on fire, and leave it on a doorstep for the unsuspecting person answering the door to step on.
I seriously thought that was something only done in TV shows.
No one who shared their story said they grew up calling it “Cabbage Night.” Perhaps it’s fallen out of favor?
Let me know what you grew up calling it in this poll:
The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5's Kylie Moore. Any opinions expressed are Kylie's own. You can follow Kylie on Instagram.
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