Mischief Night
by  Vicki L. Nelson


New Fiction:  Lancer AR 

(5th story in the 'Small Matters' series) 

*Note:  This is told in Johnny's POV


Well, it's been a couple a months since I came to Lancer. 

It ain't a bad place to call home:  lots of good food, a soft bed, a horse of my own, a pa, and best of all, a brother! 

Scott's my older brother.  He wasn't raised at Lancer, either.  His mama died soon after givin' birth to him and his grandfather took him off to Boston and away from our pa.

Anyways, Scott just up and ran away from his Boston boarding school and his abuelo and came all the way to Lancer by himself!  I was pretty proud of him when I heard what he did.

His abuelo weren't about to give him up, though.  He came to California to take Pa to court and drag Scott back to Boston when he won. 

'Course, he was might surprised to lose; don't think he was too used to that!

Scott had been at Lancer for a couple of months 'fore I got away from Sheriff Joel Hopkins and rode hell bent for Lancer.  He'd been bringin' me home to the Old Man after talkin' with the Pinks agent.  I figgered he wouldn't be too happy with me killin' Murdoch so I broke away from him for a spell.

Brother didn't cotton to me much at first.  Maybe 'cause I showed up aimin' to shoot his...well, our Pa for kickin' me and my mama off of Lancer when I was just a baby.  Found out later, it weren't true.  Pa went lookin' for me ever since Mama took off with the Gambler.

We fought like cats and dogs at first until Pa beat our tails 'cause we almost hurt ourselves when we broke his decanter of Glenlivet.  Me, I wonder if he weren't more upset by the loss of his precious Glenlivet than anythin' else.

Anyways, we got together in Scott's bed to feel sorry for ourselves and mad at our Pa.  After that, we became true brothers and best friends. 

Plus, truth be told, it's kinda fun to be two against one.  Sometimes we gang up on the Old Man.

Scott's mostly a good kid, though he can get in plenty of trouble on his own.  Now, with the two of us though, we can get into double the trouble.

Trouble's really good at finding me and I aim to drag Scott along for the ride! 

Gotta be careful not to go over the line, though.  Neither one of us want another whoopin' from Pa any time soon.  He's a big old fella with a big old paw and it hurt like hell when he applied it to the seat of our britches! 

Brother and I ain't too anxious to have that experience repeated any time soon!



Anyway, Scott likes to talk about Boston and the stuff he done back there. 

He's the one that told us all about Mischief Night.  Scott and his friends would sneak out and play harmless pranks like soapin' windows, throwin' eggs, and unhingin' gates. 

They would laugh and carry on and run around the neighborhood, then they'd all sneak back into their houses.

Scott says his grandfather never caught him.  And, if he did, he'd just send Scott to his room as a punishment.  And it weren't much of a punishment:  Scott had lots of toys and stuff to entertain himself with.  So Scott got in trouble from time to time, but it weren't no big deal to him.

Things are a little different here when we get in trouble.  Pa ain't so likely to send us to our rooms.

Wonder if Scott is sorry he left Boston?  He says he ain't, though, even though Pa is pretty strict and keeps us both on a pretty tight rein to keep us outta trouble.

Speakin' of trouble, October 30th is Mischief Night, and as luck would have it, it falls on Friday this year. 

Scott had told me and all our friends about it at school.  We all thought it sounded like fun and we wanted to have a Mischief Night of our own in Morro Coyo.

'Course if we asked the Old Man if we could go into Morro Coyo and spread a little mischief around, he wouldn't go for it.  I kin see it now, “Pa, can we go into Morro Coyo with all our friends and do stuff like soap windows and throw eggs and all?”

Sure, he'd pat us on the heads and say, “Of course, my children.  You have my permission.  I just want my two boys to have fun!”

Like fun that would happen! 

What would happen is the Old Man would turn ten shades of purple and ya'd hear him yellin' all the way to Sacramento! 

He'd say somethin' like “Not only no, but hell no!”  Well, okay...Pa wouldn't cuss around us, but you get my drift.

So Scott and I, along with a group of good friends, came up with a plan.  I don't remember for sure who came up with the idea, but it was probably Scott.  He's kinda sneaky, but he's pretty good at foolin' everyone. 

Gotta love that about him!


So, the whole group of us was over at Matt and Billy's house on Saturday. 

There's Scott and me, we're thirteen-and-a-half and ten-and-a-half.  That half's pretty important when you're a kid and you wanna grow up fast!  Ain't always great bein' a kid!  Guess adults forget about that, though.

Matt and Billy Anderson are brothers; fourteen and eleven years old.

Then there's the Johnson brothers, Josh and Jimmy.  Josh is thirteen and Jimmy's ten, just the same age as Scott and me.

Lastly, there's the Butler brothers, Sam and Joe.  Sam's fourteen and Joe's twelve.

So, between the eight of us, we came up with a plan to get permission to go into Morro Coyo after school on Friday and raise a little hell.

None of our pas would let us go if they knew the truth about it. 

It's like they don't want us to have no fun at all!  Ya'd think they was all born fully-grown and all sternlike. 

Bet they none of them knew how to have fun.  Guess that happens when you get old and ancient like our folks.  Ya don't have fun no more.

So, we decided to use Scott's brilliant plan and stretch the truth a little bit.

We was gonna ask permission to stay the night at each others' houses! 

Scott and me would ask permission to stay at the Andersons.  Matt and Billy was gonna ask to stay at our place.

Josh and Jimmy was gonna ask to stay at the Butler's home, and Sam and Joe were gonna ask to stay at the Johnson's.

Oh, was we good or was we good?  Now, we had to play our cards just right so our pas wouldn't get suspicious!

Scott and me was as good as could be in the few weeks before asking the Old Man for permission to stay at the Andersons.  I let Scott do most of the talkin' 'cause he's real smooth, gettin' that Eastern education and all.

The conversation went kinda like this after Scott plastered on his biggest, most innocent grin and flashed it at Pa.  'Course he don't always fool our old man.  I heard him tell Scott it was 'ingratiating.' 

Didn't know what that meant so I asked him about it.  Scott frowned and said it meant that when he smiled like that, Pa knew he wanted somethin.'  Brother was kinda mad that Pa had his number.

Anyway, this is how it went down at the dinner table.

Scott:  Pa, we've been working on a class project with Matt and Billy.  It's due on Monday.  We're not quite done with it so we need some extra time to finish it.  May we have permission to spend Friday night at the Andersons?

I almost laughed at the look on his face, like butter wouldn't melt in his mouth.  Oh, he should have gone on the stage!  'Course, if I'd laughed, the game would be up.

Pa then asked what the project was about and I saw the wheels in Scott's head turnin'!  Gotta hand it to him, though, he thinks fast on his feet.

Scott took only a few seconds to make somethin' up. 

“Oh, we have to do a report on Halloween, its history, and customs...Pa, bet you didn't know that early jack-o'-lanterns were turnips and hollowed out to act as lanterns.  They were carved with scary faces to represent spirits or goblins.  And, best of all they began in the Scottish Highlands early this century!”

The Old Man and I just stared at Scott.  I think we was both wonderin' “how does he come up with this stuff?”

 Pa just nodded and grunted, then looked at me suspicious-like, but I can act a bit, too.  I looked at him with puppy-dog eyes and begged, “Please, Papi?  We wanna get an 'A' on our project!”

Scott kicked me under the table, guess he thought I was layin' it on a little thick.

First Pa asked if it was okay with Mr. and Mrs. Anderson for us to stay the night.  'Course, Scott and I nodded 'yes' so hard, our heads nearly flew off our necks!

Pa swallowed the bait; hook, line, and sinker.  He kinda took the wind out of our sails, tho, when he said he wanted to see our finished report.

“Okay,” he says.  “But be home in enough time Saturday to get your chores done.”

We both answered, “Yes, Pa.  We will,” sweet as molasses.  We did a good job of hidin' our grins but as soon as we disappeared upstairs, we hee-hawed somethin' fierce over pullin' one over on our Old Man!

We went up to Scott's room to make our plans.  But then it occurred to me...we had to come up with a report to show Pa! 

I got mad and lit into my brother.

“Dammit, Scott!  Why'd ya have to go tell the Old Man we was getting together to do a report.  What's he gonna say when we come home without one!”

Boston told me to relax, that he could whip out a report in one night if he had to, with one hand tied behind his back.  Danged, if he ain't real smart and knows lots of words.  I believed him.  'Sides, we had all week to write our fake report.

Then he suckered me in by telling me I could do the illustrations for the report.  'Illustrations' is a fancy word for 'drawins.'  Scott likes to use big words. 

Ya ask me, he kinda likes to show off a little.  “Look at me, I'm so smart 'cause I use big words!”

He is pretty smart, though, 'cos he knew I like to draw and I am pretty good at it.  No brag, just fact!

We couldn't wait to go to school next day and see if our friends had been as successful as we had!  We sure hoped so or else, as Scott would say, “Our plans would be for naught.”

We met up with our pals right before the school bell rang.  They had all gotten permission from their folks to spend the night.

Now we had a week to get our stuff together.  We would set up camp in the clearing on the outskirts of Morro Coyo, where we intended to spend the night.

Then, we'd all take off for town and pull off the pranks we were wantin' to.

The week crawled by 'cause we were so excited about Mischief Night.  Finally, Friday rolled around and Scott and I had our prank supplies crammed in our saddlebags.

First, we had to get through breakfast without Murdoch figuring out we was up to something.  We both kept pretty quiet; just kept shoveling food into our mouths.

Us bein' quiet shoulda been Pa's first tip-off, but he was kinda preoccupied.  We finished eatin', asked to be excused, and started runnin.'

“Wait a minute!” Pa barked.  “Why the big hurry all of a sudden to get to school?  I'm not going to see you until tomorrow, so come back and give me a proper good-bye!”

Scott and I looked at each other, then dragged our sorry selves over to the table. 

“Good-bye, Father,” said Scott, reaching out for a handshake.  Pa wasn't havin' that, though.  He batted Scott's hand away and gave him a hug and a peck on the cheek. 

Scott turned towards me and rolled his eyes.  He figgered he was too grown-up for a kiss from Pa.  'Course, he didn't let Pa see his eye-roll 'cause the Old Man don't like eye-rollin' and he gave Scott a painful reminder last time he tried it.


Then it was my turn for a proper good-bye: a big hug and a peck on the cheek for me, too.  I wanted to wipe it off, but knew Pa wouldn't have liked it.

“You two be good for the Andersons!  If I hear any different, you know what you can expect when you get home!” hollered Pa, at our backs. 

Oh, we figgered what he meant, and if he only knew! 'Course Brother and I was hopin' and prayin' he never would!

We headed for the kitchen to work on Mia.  Her real name is Maria, but Scott started callin' her 'Mia.”  So, I call her Mia, too.

Anyways, we gave her our 'puppy-dog' eyed look and told her that the lunches she packed never filled us up.  That way she would pack double and we'd have grub while we were camping out.

“¡Muchachos es demasiado flaco! Le embalaré dos veces. ¡Debe comer todo esto!”   (You boys are too skinny!  I will pack you double.  You must eat!”)

Scott grabbed our lunches as we thanked Mia, gave her a kiss on the cheek, and rushed out the door excited about our adventure.

We got to school before the first bell rang and met up with our friends.  We showed each other our prank stuff and giggled like loons.  Then the bell rang and we ran inside.

I sure couldn't concentrate on what the schoolmarm was saying; I was too excited to think about the fun we was gonna have later in town.

'Parently, I wasn't the only one of our group.  I think we all got a scoldin' from Miss Garvin for not payin' attention during class.

Even 'Teacher's Pet,' my brother, got a scoldin'.  I really wanted to laugh at the look on his face; he was shocked.  He flushed all the way up to his hairline.  This was the first ever scoldin' he got from Miss Garvin.  He wasn't used to it and he didn't like it much, either.

Me?  Didn't bother me.  I get scolded pretty much every day.  Luckily, teacher hasn't sent a note home with me...yet.

We none of us wanted to get held after school, or even worse, our pas findin' out.  We decided to be good as gold the rest of the day.

At last, at 3:00, the final bell rang.  We grabbed up our books and was the first out the door.

We quickly made camp, then rode hell-bent for leather to start our prankin' in town. 

Lookin' back, I think if it had only been Scott and me, we wouldn't have dreamed up as much trouble as we did.  But, since there was eight of us thinkin' of tricks, we just kept tryin' to outdo each other.  That's where we went wrong.

Scott said later that in hindsight, mebbe we shouldn't have included all our friends in our mischief.  'Hindsight' means lookin' back.  Can't figger why Scott has to use such big words when simple ones would do.  Still think he's showin' off.

Anyways, once we got to Morro Coyo, we tied our horses up to the hitchin' rail at the edge of town.  We did that 'case someone recognized 'em.  That wouldn't do at all!

We noticed some town kids already playin' tricks, such as soapin' windows, unhingin' gates, puttin' hard-boiled eggs in chickens' nests, and tippin' over outhouses. 

Looks like Scott had talked up Mischief Night so good at school, our townie classmates wanted to have some fun, too.  Between them, Brother, me and our friends, Morro Coyo would never be the same!

Anyways, we all of us brought rotten eggs to place under the boardwalks and welcome mats and soap for the windows. 

Matt and Billy stole some whitewash and a bucket from their pa. 

Josh and Jimmy brought a big bag of salt and hard-boiled eggs with 'em.

Sam and Joe brought some firecrackers left over from Independence Day. 

Me and Scott brought bootblack with us; Scott had thought of a brilliant trick to play over at Baldameros.

The first stop on our Mischief Night would be the General Store.  Now, we like the proprietors which is Scott's fancy word for store owners, the Baldameros.  We didn't like some of their customers so much, though.

When we got there, Scott casually strolled over to the counter that held the spyglasses and binoculars. 

I gotta tell ya: I was so proud of him and his sneaky idea.

Scott put some bootblack on a pair of binoculars and a spyglass, the parts ya look thru, while the rest of us distracted Mr. and Mrs. B.

Now people think my big brother is an angel.  Guess it's 'cause of his blonde hair, blue eyes, and polite Eastern manners.  He was the perfect one to pull this prank.

He hung around the counter and would casually chat up customers, get them to look through the spyglass or binoculars.  We was still distractin' the Baldamero's but we kept lookin' over our shoulders at Scott.   

Brother managed to get ol' man Dealey to give it a try, pretendin' to see somethin' real interestin' going on down the street. 

Now we don't like Mr. Dealey 'cause he don't like me.  We heard him callin'me “Lancer's 'half-breed'” under his breath.

We didn't tell Pa, but we figgered we'd get even somehow.  When Scott got ol' man Dealey to look through the binoculars, Dealey came away with two black eyes.

After a while there were several people walkin' around the store with one or two black eyes.  We all of us wanted to crack up, so we had to bite our bottom lips to keep it in. 

Wouldn't be too long before someone caught on, so Scott put some more bootblack on the binoculars and spyglass fer the next unsuspectin' customer and we ran out of the store. 

We ducked around the corner, bent over double, and heehawed like jackasses.  We clapped Big Brother on the back for pullin' off such a good prank.

Next thing we did was place rotten eggs under the boardwalks and welcome mats while someone kept watch.  People started steppin' on them and, whew, did they stink!  Ladies was holding perfumed hankies over their noses and men would curse.  We was peekin' around the corner of the building and snickered.

After that, we went into the Morro Coyo Hotel.  We was all gonna sit at different tables and order somethin' cheap.  It was early and there weren't many customers.  Nobody in the dining room paid us much mind.

Then we exchanged the sugar in the sugar bowls with salt and unscrewed the salt shaker lids.  Scott and me ordered pie and scarfed it down quickly so we could get out of there.

We looked in later and there were some pretty disgusted diners, due to us.  People would take a sip of their coffee after sugarin' it, then get a look on their faces like they'd been suckin' lemons. 

Other people were yellin' 'cause they got a shaker full of salt on their food.  We didn't stick around too long, but we was gigglin' when we left.

Next it took a couple of us to pull the our trick on Mr. Warnecke.  He was an ol' grouch who ran the bakery.  Now 'course, kids love cookies and sweet things, but Mr. Warnecke didn't like kids. 

He'd run us out, rather than look at us, if we didn't have money to buy.  He wouldn't let us look in the case or nothin.' 

Mean ol' man!

We ducked around to the back alley and tried the back door of the bakery.  Lucky for us, it weren't locked.  We came up with our plan.

Sam was the biggest among us and I was the lightest.  Guess I was still kinda skinny 'cause I hadn't made up yet for all the meals I'd missed.  I stood on Sam's back and balanced the pail of whitewash on top of the door. 

Then Sam high-tailed it around the corner to join Matt, Josh, Scott, and Joe.  Me, Billy, and Jimmy, as youngest, was picked to go in and distract Mr. Warnecke.

While we was inside, we could hear a racket outside the back door.  The rest of the boys was pretendin' to fight so there was a lot of screamin' and cursin' goin' on out in the alley.

Well, Warnecke is a nosy, old grump so he took off for the back door.  Me, Billy, and Jimmy trailed behind at a respectable distance. 

We got to witness the whole thing.

He opened up the back door to investigate and, splat, the pail of whitewash fell down on his head.  He looked like one of them Egyptian mummies!  All us boys took off after gettin' a good look at him and ran across the street to stand behind the saloon and scream with laughter.

Next up, was Widow Hargiss.  She's a nosy old biddy who looks down her nose at all us kids.  She also wants a man real bad 'cause she flirts with Murdoch and any man in pants.  We decided to write her a mushy love note from the sheriff and slide it under the door of her store. 

Scott writes all flowery-like so we let him write it.  Let me tell ya, brother laid it on thick.  Kinda felt sorry for the sheriff 'cause she was gonna be all over him like a duck on a June bug!

Mischief Night was goin' great so far!  Glad Scott brought the idea here from Boston.

We was gonna write on the shop windows with soap, but the town kids had already beaten us to it.  We wasn't too disappointed 'cause they done a real good job and we had played quite a few tricks of our own already that night.

It was startin' to get dark, so we saved our best trick for last!

We moseyed on over to the Mayor's home.  He was a pompous ol' windbag that nobody liked.  We hung around the bushes behind the house and waited for him to go to the outhouse.

We had to wait awhile, but here he come.  We gave him some time to get situated, then Josh and Jimmy lit the firecrackers and threw them close to the outhouse.

Mayor Higgins burst out of the outhouse like his tail was on fire...pulling up his pants as he ran.  He's a big ol' fat guy and he was havin' a lot of trouble, tryin' to run and pull up his pants. 

He just about tripped and fell flat on his face.  For a fat guy, he was surprisingly light on his feet, though, and managed to right himself.

We all had to clap our hands over our mouth to keep the laughter in.  Mayor Higgins ran into the house and slammed the door and we high-tailed it out of his yard.

Figurin' it was gonna be dark soon, and that we had pretty much played all the pranks we was gonna play, we jumped up on our horses and headed for our camp.

We started a campfire and pitched all our food supplies together and had us a big feast.  Josh and Jimmy snuck some hard cider away from their pa and we all passed around our tin cups.

Dang!  Stuff was pretty potent and tasted a lot different than regular cider.  I kinda liked it; went down easy and made us feel even sillier. 

To top it all off, Scott pulled one of Pa's cigars out of his saddlebag.  We lit it, passed it around, and everyone of us was coughin', chokin' and gaggin'.  Still and all, we felt like we was pretty much all big men!

We talked about all the pranks we pulled in town, and we was all heehawin' like a pack o' hyenas!

Then it happened.

We heard somethin' behind us that cut us off in mid-chuckle. 

“You boys mind tellin' me what's so funny?”

All eight of us slowly swiveled our heads to see somethin' that made our blood run cold!

There was Sheriff Havenhill, lookin' madder than a mule chewin' bumblebees.  Just over his shoulder stood our Pa, and all three of our friends' pas.  They all looked like they'd been chewin' on bumblebees! 

The light from the full moon, the campfire, and the lanterns the adults was carryin' made it almost bright as day.  We saw the looks on their faces and knew we was all in for it!

We didn't know how we'd been found out, but found out we had! 

Matt and Billy later said it was their bratty, nosy little sister, Sarah.  She'd spied on us when we was makin' our plans at the Andersons and couldn't wait to spill the beans on all of us!

We stared at our Pa like trapped rabbits.

“Mierda,” I whispered as my brother, who I never heard swear before, whistled, “Oh...shit!”

Pa stomped over and pulled both Scott and me to our feet. 

Grabbin' us both by the upper arm, he dragged us over to one side of the clearing.  All the other boys was also getting dragged off to a different side of the clearing by their old men.

Pa took off his belt and started in on Scott.  Guess poor Boston pulled the short straw 'cause he's the oldest. 

I stood frozen to the spot and watched the same thing goin' on with the other boys, waitin' for my turn.

Now I love my brother, I really do, but I was sure hopin' that our old man would wear out his arm on Scott's backside 'fore he started in on me.

And, from the looks of it, seemed like a good bet.  The tune-caller was callin' a tune on Scott's backside, and Scott was dancin' but he didn't look none too merry!

Finally, it was my turn.

If Pa had wore his arm out on Scott, there weren't no indication by the way he was beatin' my butt.  Out of the corner of my eye, I could see Scott rubbin' his behind frantically while I was getting' my behind whipped.

Now, I'd been strapped harder before when I was a kid in Mexico, but the Old Man was hittin' hard enough so that we both knew he meant business!

Seemed like forever, but finally the Old Man stopped.  Now it was my turn to rub my behind frantically.  Damn, my butt was stingin!'

Guess we should be thankful that Pa didn't hand over his belt to Sheriff Havenhill.  By the sour look on the sheriff's face, I think he woulda liked to get in a lick or two on all of us!

It was deadly silent in the clearing 'cept for some snifflin' and whimperin' goin' on.

Pa told us, quite firmly, to stand in that spot and 'not to move.'  Scott and I looked at each other; no way was we gonna move.  If either one of us had fainted at that point, we woulda done our best to remain upright.

Pa led our horses, Shadow and Storm, over and grabbin' up Scott like a bag o' grain, he plopped him down, none too gentle, onto the saddle. 

Scott let out a hiss between his teeth when he landed.

Then it was my turn, and I yelped when my butt met the saddle.  “Oh, fu....,” I began, when I noticed Pa givin' me the 'raised eyebrow' frown. 

“Fu...n, that's hurts!” I finished.

Sneaky old man!  He knew if he let me and Scott mount up, we would have been a hell of lot gentler settin' down on our saddles.

Then he gathered up our gear and stuffed it in our saddlebags.  Scott and me sat perfectly still and kept our mouths shut.  Well, not perfectly still.  We was both wigglin' 'round tryin' to find a comfortable spot in the saddle. 

That weren't happenin'!

Then Pa led us off towards Lancer.  It were bad enough we both got a butt-blisterin' but now he was blisterin' our ears as well.

“How could the two of you?”

“Sneaking around!”

“Lying to me!”





“Little hoodlums!”

“Juvenile Delinquents!”


“How can I hold my head up in town?”

“How can I hold my head up in church?”

Blabbedy blah blah blah....on and on!

Mercifully, Pa finally wound down and it was deathly silent for a while 'cept for the creakin' of me and Scott's saddles.  I know we was both thinkin' it was good that we'd had a little fun earlier, 'cause it looked like Scott and me wouldn't be havin' no fun again for a long, long time!

Finally, outta nowhere, Pa said, “I know it's Mischief Night, but I could almost swear it's April”

Scott and I looked at each other.

Was we supposed to answer or was this one of those questions?  Scott called 'em 'rhetorical' questions, 'cause they don't require no answer. 

Why anyone would ask a question they don't want an answer to don't make sense to me, though!

Pa turned around to glare at both of us over his shoulder.  Guess we was supposed to answer him.

Scott gulped, then asked, “Why, Sir?”

And me, who never knew when to keep my mouth shut, said all smart-like, “It ain't April, it's October!”

Pa got the last word on that subject.

“Well, I could swear it's the first of April.  You two both acted the fool tonight!”

That weren't the worst of it, though.

Pa barked out, “You boys better get used to giving up your leisurely Saturdays for a while!  Both of you and all your little friends are going to be working in Morro Coyo to make up for the damage you did!  And, all us fathers are going to take turns supervising you!”

Scott and I groaned and shifted, once more, in our saddles.

And, there was more...

Pa also said, “You are both going to personally apologize to everyone you played tricks on in town.”

Scott spoke right up at that and he seemed riled.

“Even ol' man....I mean Mr. Dealey?  He calls Johnny “Lancer's 'half-breed' when we walk past him!” he complained.

Pa was silent for a moment, then said, “His bad behavior doesn't excuse your bad behavior so you will both apologize.  However, I will be talking to Mr. Dealey about his bad behavior.  Expect an apology from him, too.”

That flabbergasted me!

I had a pa and a big brother who was firmly in my corner.  Even though I was uncomfortable, my heart was near as warm as my backside at the thought!

But that was the first and last Mischief Night the Lancer boys ever celebrated.


- The End -

October 2013



In North America and the UK, Mischief Night is a prankster's holiday celebrated around Halloween or Guy Fawkes Night.  This holiday appears to have emerged in the 19th century, and was brought to North America by Irish immigrants.  In accordance with legend, the pranks and mischief which take place on Mischief Night was blamed on fairies or spirits, rather than the people who actually perpetrate them.  The most common date for Mischief Night in England and North America is October 30, the day before Halloween.

I took creative license with the salt shakers.  Salt shakers became increasingly common after anti-caking agents were introduced by the Morton Salt company in the 1920s.

The “traditional illumination for guisers or pranksters abroad on the night in some places was provided by turnips or mangel wurzels, hollowed out to act as lanterns and often carved with grotesque faces to represent spirits or goblins.”  These were common in parts of Ireland and the Scottish Highlands in the 19th century.  They were also found in Somerset.  In the 20th century they spread to other parts of England and became generally known as jack-o'-lanterns.





Submission Guidelines