doorbell night n scattered Nth, Midl Cf mischief night n
A night near, usu before, Halloween, when children ring doorbells and sometimes play other pranks.
1891 Indianapolis Jrl. (IN) 2 Nov 3/2, When the writer was a boy the manifestations of All Saints tide were not confined merely to one night, but were strung out for three or four successive nights. . . The next night [=2 Nov] was door-bell night and it was the duty, not to say pleasure, of “the gang” to chase around the block ringing frantically the neighbors’ door-bells and arousing some early sleepers out of their sound slumbers. 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. 1904 DN 2.396 neOH, Door-bell night. . . The night but one before Hallowe’en (Oct. 29), when door-bells are rung by prankish children. 1907 Eve. Times (Cumberland MD) 30 Oct /1 (newspaperarchive.com), First there is doorbell night, that was last night. 1918 Joplin News–Herald (MO) 30 Oct 3/2, Last night . . mischievous small boys and girls ushered in the first of the Halloween festivities with a due observance of “door bell night.” On door bell night, the diversion is to ring everybody’s door bell, where you can slip up on the porch without being seen or heard. A toothpick inserted at the side of the button will make the ringing continuous. 1919 Middletown Times–Press (NY) 30 Oct 1/3, When tonight . . you hear a bell ringing downstairs . . just open your front door and remove the pin which is holding fast the button on your electric bell. For, tonight Hallowe’en enters its first stage in what is known to the ranks of the mischievous as “doorbell night.” 1924 Racine Jrl.–News (WI) 18 Oct /4, With the approach of the end of the month comes that most beloved of all festive seasons—Halloween. Doorbell night, cabbage night, and then the glorious Halloween itself. 1929 Charleston Daily Mail (WV) 3 Nov 6/7, “Door bell night”, according to a young son, comes on “Halloween” eve. . . “I don’t know what it’s for except you go around at night, jump on people’s porches, ring their bells and run.” 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. 1947 Bridgeport Post (CT) 31 Oct 1/3, Tonight’s traditional celebration will be a sort of combination job, earlier observances of such cherished occasions as “Doorbell Night” and “Gate Night” having been retarded somewhat by unfavorable weather conditions. 1970 Sun. Post–Crescent (Appleton WI)25 Oct mag sec 2/2, I remember that Halloween lasted at least three—maybe four nights. There was, for instance doorbell night. Most doorbells those days were the simple little pushbutton type, and if a boy had a supply of straight pins, he could jam one in beside the button so the bell would continue to ring until someone came to the door to take it out. 1998 Progress (Clearfield PA) 21 Nov 4/1, We didn’t need two months to gear up for Halloween, a week or so was sufficient. Our agenda included doorbell night, chalk night and soap night, innocent enough pastimes that would wash away the next morning. 2015 in 2017 DARE File—Internet CT, Around here we called it [=the night before Halloween] Doorbell night. Doesn’t seem to happen too much anymore, thankfully.