October 30th: the night on which the Halloween specials came on TV when I was a youngster in the ‘80s. “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown,” the Garfield Halloween special (which I found extremely frightening), and probably some others. To me, it wasn’t just “October 30th”—it was also “Mischief Night”! Although the possibility loomed that teenagers in the neighborhood might decorate our trees with toilet paper, such mischief never actually materialized. Yet, I persisted (and persist) in calling it “Mischief Night.” My mother, though, calls October 30th “goosey night.” Why this difference?
I started my inquiry into this phenomenon by searching for linguistic maps. (Of course!) I have found a cartographic illustration of the names of this day.
Also, I read with interest an article on nj.com that provides insight into the reasons for which New Jerseyans have different names for October 30th.
This certainly warrants further investigation.