clothesline night n scattered, esp west of Missip R Cf mischief night n
A night near Halloween, often the night before, when children cut down clotheslines and sometimes play other pranks.
1898 Hutchinson News (KS) [1 Nov 5]/3 (newspaperarchive.com), Night before last was “Clothesline” night. Nearly every clothesline hanging out was cut down. Many were stolen. 1902 Anaconda Std. (MT) 31 Oct 7/1, Wednesday night was called clothesline night, Thursday night was doorbell night, and this evening is known as gate night, and all loose gates are likely to be missing in the morning. 1918 CO Springs Gaz. (CO) 30 Oct 5/3, “Clothesline night,” the customary precursor to Hallowe’en in Colorado Springs, is off this year. There will be no cutting down and destroying of clotheslines tonight. 1918 Joplin News–Herald (MO) 30 Oct 3/2, Tonight will be “clothes line night.” Plans are already under headway to carry off all clothes line poles which are not attached to the wires, to cut as many lines as possible, and where no more serious damage may be committed, to hit the wire a whack that will cause spookish sounds to resound for several minutes after the mischief makers have gone. 1931 Gallup Independent & Eve. Herald (NM) 31 Oct 1/5, Such sights this morning reminded Gallup today that last night was clothes-line night and the preliminary to tonight’s Hallowe’en waggery. 1940 Fairbanks Daily News–Miner (AK) 30 Oct 4/4, Even though tonight may be clothesline night, ashcan night or doorbell night in the minds of a lot of Fairbank’s youngsters Chief of Police George Blondeau issues a warning that it is just Wednesday night to himself and his police force. 1966 Joplin News–Herald (MO) 31 Oct sec B 1/1, Tonight is Halloween. The youngsters all know this but what many of them probably do not know is that Sunday night [= Oct 30] was clothesline night. Or did that go out with the Model T? 1979 Cedar Rapids Gaz. (IA) 31 Oct sec A 5/6, The 68-year-old Cedar Rapids native recalled “clothesline night” (where they would cut down clotheslines), throwing sacks of garbage on porches . . , and putting wagons on church roofs to get “warmed up” for Halloween. 1980 Verbatim Letters cwVT, In the 1950’s the night before Halloween was called ‘clothesline night’. 1993 DARE File nwMI (as of c1935), Regarding additional names for the night before Halloween, we engaged in a rather vandal-like event called “Clothesline Night.”. . Heavy wire clotheslines . . fell prey to a pair of electrician’s pliers, the rope lines we cut with our pocket knives. 1997 Hutchinson News (KS) 16 Mar sec F 10/3 (as of c1910s), We upset them [=privies] on Halloween night. We also took down clotheslines on Clothesline night. It was a tradition. 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.