Can My Child Get Arrested on Mischief Night? Common Crimes to Avoid

Mischief Night has been a tradition throughout the United States for decades. You might even remember participating in this unofficial holiday as a kid. But, the antics of mischief night can lead to serious damage and danger. As a result, many communities are cracking down on Mischief Night and getting the police involved in common activity related to this unofficial holiday.

If you have a teenager or pre-teen, they could face a run-in with the police if they go out on Mischief Night. You can learn more here.

What is Mischief Night?

Mischief Night is an informal holiday, celebrated on the night before Halloween in the United States. Mischief Night has roots as far back as the 18th Century, and is celebrated in the United Kingdom, the United States, and Germany.

Mischief Night is a time when kids go out and play pranks in their neighborhood. Oftentimes, these pranks are harmless, such as ding dong ditching a house. Even common pranks such as toilet papering property and smashing pumpkins, while unfortunate for the property owner, are not really dangerous.

However, some pranks, such as vandalism, starting fires, and more, can be dangerous, and constitute crimes. The police could potentially get involved and your child may find themselves facing a juvenile offense.

What are Common Crimes on Mischief Night?

Some pranks on this night can be interpreted as actual crimes. Here are a few common crimes that your child could face:

  • Criminal Mischief: Criminal mischief usually occurs when negligence causes damage. For example, if a person sets a fire on someone’s porch and the fire spreads to the house or nearby property. A more serious crime for fire issues is arson.
  • Disorderly Conduct: Disorderly conduct is a hazardous act created for no legitimate purpose.
  • Assault: If your teen gets into a fight while out on Mischief Night, they could face an assault offense.
  • Simple Trespassing: Obviously, if your child is sneaking onto other people’s property to play pranks and they are caught, they could face trespassing issues.
  • Dangerous Burning: Another fire related example for fire related pranks.
  • Theft/Burglary: If your child steals something from another person’s property, the police could charge them with theft. Alternatively, if your child enters someone else’s house on a dare, they could be charged with burglary.
  • Recklessly Endangering Another Person: If pranks involve scaring other people, recklessly endangering another person could come into play.

Preventing Problems

It is a good idea to talk to your teens and pre-teens before mischief night. If they are planning on participating, make sure that they understand the risks.

There are also ways to minimize these risks. You can talk with your neighbors about a few approved pranks that the kids can participate in. If your neighbors agree, there won’t be a threat of getting the police involved.

For more information on Mischief Night, contact my office. I am happy to discuss potential crimes and other preventative measures.