When I was a lad in the fifties there was no such thing as ‘Trick or Treat’. What there was in Leeds was something called ‘Mischief Night’. I think that this was a northern thing because since I came south I asked friends about it and they had never heard of ‘Mischief Night’.
It was a bugger living up north. You know the story; we lived in a hole in the road and ate gravel for supper etc, just as Monty Python described. Not only that but we didn’t get any treats on Halloween.
We used to go around on Halloween night – not that we knew it was Halloween, it was just Mischief Night – and annoyed people with fairly harmless pranks. Pranks such as tying doorhandles up so they couldn’t open the door and then running away.
A great favourite was to place a firework on windowsills. The best of all was the ‘Little Demon’. It was the most powerful little banger available made by Standard Fireworks and cost a penny ha’penny. Nothing else could touch it for effectiveness not even the tuppence ‘Cannon’ also by the same company.
Another favourite trick was to attach a weight to it, light the fuse and when it was fizzing drop it into the local lake to see if we could stun some fish when it exploded underwater. What we didn’t know was that there were more men on the moon than there were fish in that lake.
It was all harmless and we were savvy enough not to blow our fingers off or injure ourselves in any way, unlike many years later when I lit a crow scarer that unbeknown to me had a very, very short fuse. I didn’t blow any fingers off but the shockwave as that powerful device went off inches from my hand as I dropped it was something to remember.