Police have got hundreds of reports of nasty incidents in English cities and towns during so-called Mischief Night, a time-honored tradition in Yorkshire and Liverpool as well as certain states in the US.
Its observance dates from as far back as the 1700s, when many communities suspended laws for several hours to let people play tricks on each other in a less deadly precursor to the plot of "The Purge".
According to Merseyside Police in the UK, more than 450 cases of anti-social behavior and vandalism were reported this week. Additionally, law enforcement received 1,760 calls and made 15 arrests for different kinds of low-level offenses.
The list of reported incidents included 12 counts of arson involving trash bins.
Firefighters have attended 12 deliberately set fires this evening, most involving wheelie bins & rubbish. These have taken fire engines from other potential emergencies. Anti-social behaviour fires are unacceptable and put communities at risk.@MerseyPolice #MerseyBonfire2018 pic.twitter.com/hHZRg9ME0B— Mersey Fire (@MerseyFire) 30 октября 2018 г.
In Fazakerley, a woman was hospitalized after someone threw a brick at a bus. Similar incidents occurred in Birkenhead, where youths threw stones at a bus, and in the Teeside community of Wirral, where vandals smashed cars.
In Skelmersdale, Ormskirk, and Tarleton fireworks were thrown at police, while in Leeds a blind woman was targeted in the same attack.
Police are encouraging parents to speak to their children, as criminal mischief is often the work of teenagers.
This #Halloween we're encouraging parents to speak to their children about trick or treating safely and to think about others before they knock on that door. Please watch our video and talk to your children before they go out. More info on events here https://t.co/gNrq9SxZuj pic.twitter.com/YQRviSTJIf— Merseyside Police (@MerseyPolice) 29 октября 2018 г.
October 30 keeps British police busy because of a custom dating back to the 18th-century tradition of Lawless Hours and Days. Back then, regular laws were lifted for some time so people could play tricks on one another. However, while in those days people may have thrown cabbages at one another, the intensity of the lawlessness has escalated to vandalism and anti-social behavior in recent years.
The next time UK police must deal with an inordinate number of vandals and arsonists is the night before Bonfire Night, which some people also consider Mischief Night.