Mischief Night Defense

Being prepared is the best defense against Mischief Night revelers.

By Familytime


Ever heard of "mischief night?" In some neighborhoods it's an annual -- and unwelcome -- event. Most of the mischief perpetrated on the night before Halloween falls under the category of nuisance rather than vandalism. Yet regardless of its extent, these pranks are annoying - and possibly damaging.

Commonsense Precautions
Stay home on Mischief Night -- this is particularly important if your kids are teenagers and might have friends who could make a visit to your house.

Even if you have never been a target of Mischief Night, put your car in the garage or pull it up alongside the house, as close to the door as you can. Lock the car.

Secure jack-o-lanterns and other Halloween decorations such as cornstalks and hay bales. Put them in a locked garage or screened porch - or at the very least, in the back yard away from the street.

Put rakes, hoses, and children's outdoor toys away. If your mailbox is removable, take it off its post and lock it away.

When night falls, turn on all exterior lights and as many interior lights as you can. Make it appear not only as though you're at home, but expecting company.

Keep your pets inside. Play loud tapes of dogs barking if you hear kids in the yard.

Tape heavy-duty brown paper paper or cardboard over garage door windows and any others you fear are vulnerable.

If You're Hit
If you hear an egg splat on your house or car, don't wait until morning to remove it with a blast from the garden hose.

Inspect your property early in the day -- you don't want eggs to dry out in the sun. If they do, use a hot soapy solution and a soft scrub brush to get rid of them. Everyday shampoo may work on stubborn egg stains, too.

Use a long-handled metal rake to pull toilet paper from trees and gutters.

Check your car for slices of salami. When left to dry on the car, these can strip exterior paint. Hose them gently and then remove them with a damp rag. Resist the temptation to peel them off the car with your fingers or a tool.

Educate Your Kids
Discourage your teens from going out on Mischief Night. Explain to them that even simple pranks are inconsiderate and can cause permanent damage to houses and cars.

Suggest they invite friends over for a horror movie and pizza fest instead.

If you and your kids know the pranksters and know they are out only for good fun, station your teens in the front yard with a garden hose fitted with a powerful nozzle. If any of their pals approaches the house armed with eggs and toilet paper, your kids can let them have it with a cold blast!