Gate Night

When I was a kid on the night before Halloween all the older kids in our town would roam the streets soaping windows, throwing eggs, TP'ing houses or whatever mischief they could think up. I particularly remember this one Gate Night after my parents had just cut down a bunch of huge poplar trees that were in our front yard. My dad had worked many weekends digging out 4 or 5 big stumps. The stumps were sitting out there ready to be cut up or removed in some way. They were huge stumps. Stumps so big that it would take several strong men to move them. The only way my dad had got them out of the holes he dug was with a truck and a chain. The holes were all neatly filled in and I'm not sure how or when he was going to have these stumps removed from the yard.
Anyway a group of rowdy teens on Gate Night came by and decided it would be a great thing to move these stumps out to block the road. I remember peeking out the windows in fear as we watched these kids push and shove these huge stumps. Finally when my dad figured out what they were doing he ran out there and yelled at them but it was too late. A couple of these huge stumps had already been moved out to the middle of the road.
My dad and a couple neighbour men had to move these stumps back along with some help from a couple of police officers who were there to make sure no one drove into these stumps. Although I doubt that would have happened as we lived in a area with street lamps and paved streets. But still it was a hazard and I'm sure those men inched themselves closer to hernias moving those stumps back.
Then my dad to had to keep an eye on those stumps for the rest of the night along with the police who cruised around trying to keep an eye on things to make sure the teens didn't do anything else. Ah, to be young and rowdy again.
Gate Night is pretty much a thing of the past. When I finally got to be a teen it had pretty much died out because the teens before us had gotten so out of hand that parents and the police had clamped down and it was frowned upon to even be out on Gate Night. Always being one not to lose out on some fun my friend and I still went out one Gate Night with bars of soap and soaped a few silly things on neighbours cars. No swear words or nude pictures. We figured soap was easy to get off, much easier than the wax that other teens had used or eggs that dried on after being thrown. We even had some TP but when we thew it the stuff didn't unravel like we expected. Bits of TP came off and blew away so our dreams of streams of TP draped over a tree to greet the owners the following morning never did work out.
I wonder if tonight there will be any mischief done. If the goblins and ghouls will be out soaping windows and even taking a gate or two off. That would be the traditional thing to do, to take a gate off and put it somewhere else and hence the name, Gate Night.
I googled the term Gate Night and it came up with many interesting historical references to Gate Night so if your area still has Gate Night or you are just interested in history and strange customs google it yourself.


Kate said…
Happy halloween!

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