Until the nineteenth century, mischief night was celebrated at Halloween (31
October and the eve of winter) or, May Eve (30 April and the eve of summer).
Shrove Monday (i.e. the night before Shrove Tuesday and known as Nickanan Night
in Cornwall and Dappy-Door Night in Devon) was also celebrated in this way in
some places. In some localities, notably Yorkshire, it occurred on the night
before Guy Fawkes Night (4 November) but there are no records of this date being
celebrated before the late nineteenth century and it is assumed that festivities
were transferred there from the much older folk festivals. An alternatively
view, with records going as far back as 1790, show it was ported to halloween.
Traditional mischiefs done on this night were:
* Knocking and tapping on doors and windows (Knock down ginger/Ding Dong Ditch)
* Daubing objects with whitewash
* Smearing of doorknobs with treacle
* Tying together adjacent door handles to prevent either from opening
* Removing gates from their hinges and depositing them elsewhere