As we all know Mischief Night is the night
before Halloween. In the 1940's we would go out after dark in large
numbers and cause mischief.
A common and expected prank was to soap store windows. Soap was
precious during WWII. At that time I believe it was rationed. As
an option I remember using clear wax. Wax was used by our mothers
to seal home preserves. The problem with wax was that the store
owner had great difficulty removing it the next day. Unlike soap
it wasn't soluble in warm water and its removal was very difficult.
Ringing door bells and hiding from the person who came to answer
the bell was a very common trick.
Throwing eggs at moving buses and cars was also very common. Sometimes
the driver would jump out of the car and the prankster would have
to run for his life. Once a raw egg dried it was very difficult
to remove it from a metal surface.
To divert this energy and mischievousness the store owners invited
the local schools to decorate their windows. The week before Halloween
many students were sent to designated store windows to paint Halloween
scenes. It served a two fold purpose in that it provided seasonal
beauty and discouraged graffiti.
In later years the paintings were no longer needed to discourage
graffiti. Unsafe streets replaced that minor problem.
Does anyone remember the painted store windows in your neighborhood?