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chalk night

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chalk night n chiefly C Atl, sNEng Cf mischief night n

A night near, usu before, Halloween, when children mark houses and pavements with chalk and sometimes play other pranks.
1893 Daily News (Mt. Carmel PA) [31 Oct 4]/1, Last night was what the younger element delight in as “Chalk Night.” Those brave enough to venture out were subjected to a covering of flour, corn, oats, brick bats, and everything else handy or otherwise. 1912 Daily Courier (Connellsville PA) 23 Oct 4/5, Not only are public places and houses defaced, but the most obscene writing and drawing have been in shocking evidence the morning following chalk night. 1945 Chester Times (PA) 29 Oct 2/4, Tonight, of course, is chalk night. Buildings, preferably brick, will be marked and drawn with cabalistic symbols as soon after school is dismissed as the young set can get moving. 1969 Sun (Lowell MA) 1 Apr 13/5, The only other holidays devoted to humor are a week-long series of prank days just before Halloween—chalk night, soap night, paint night. 1993 DARE File sePA (as of 1930s), The night before Halloween was . . “mischief night.” . . We also had the night before “mischief night.” It was “chalk night,” when, armed with pockets-ful of chalk, we marked up . . sidewalks all around the neighborhood. 2009 in 2017 DARE File—Internet cwNJ (as of c1955), Halloween was a big deal for us kids. Not the day itself, but the nights leading up to it: Soap Night, Chalk Night, Clothesline Night, and then Mischief Night. 2012 Ibid sePA, In the Germantown section of Phila, the night before Mischief Night was called soap night; & the night before that was called chalk night (on Mischief Night you could only toilet paper houses & other mischief, but no soaping or chalking—that was reserved for their special nights). 2014 Ibid cCT, Round here I’ve always heard people call it [=the night before Halloween] “Chalk Night,” except for my mother who calls it “Egg Night.”

 

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