[Note: This entry was previously garbage night.]
garbage-can night n Also ash-can night, garbage ~ scattered, but chiefly Inland Nth, N Midl Cf mischief night n
A night near, usu before, Halloween, when children dump garbage cans and sometimes play other pranks.
1908 Pittsburgh Press (PA) 30 Oct 2/2, All this week troops of youngsters have been engaging in small celebrations as a sort of curtain raiser to the big show Saturday night. One night has been “chalk night.” . . Another was “cabbage” night. . . There was “corn” night and “garbage can” night, when these useful articles seemed to suddenly take wings unto themselves and go hence. 1916 Patriot (Harrisburg PA) 28 Oct 1/2, The new “nights before” gained a strong foothold a year ago. . . The official list of the days celebrated, according to an authoritative source is as follows: October 21, Ash Can Night; [etc]. 1918 Middletown Times–Press (NY) 29 Oct 2/2, Tomorrow night is “doorbell night” and Thursday night is Hallowe’en, according to the calendar as kept by the youngsters. . . By the same token Monday [=28 Oct] night was said to have been garbage can night although [that] is something new to the writer, having developed since he was a lad. 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. 1973 Weimar Mercury (TX) 8 Nov 5/2 cwMO, I grew up in Kansas City, Mo., and . . we celebrated the two nights before [Halloween]. The first night was “clothes line night.”. . The next night was “garbage can night” and woe be unto you if you forget to take your garbage can in, because it would be overturned. 1978 Ford Times of My Life 11 swMI (as of c1930), On Halloween, instead of trick-or- treating, we’d go on a rampage called “garbage night.” We tipped over everybody’s garbage pail, whitewashed everybody’s porch, soaped everybody’s windows. 1985 Nashua Telegraph (NH) 31 Oct 5/6 Detroit MI, “It ain’t like it used to be,” said Michael Clark, 31, who put out a fire near his home on the city’s east side. “We used to call this garbage can night. We go around and turn over garbage cans, throw eggs, soap up windows, stuff like that.” 1987 DARE File Cincinnati OH (as of c1935), Garbage night—The night before Halloween, when children dump garbage on the porches of people’s houses. 2003 DARE File—Internet nwWA (as of 1930s), We had a whole week of things—these were activities that led up to Halloween. . . There was clothesline night. . .Then there was garbage can night, when you threw—the girls didn’t do it but the fellows, big guys and the little guys—they’d turn garbage cans over. Empty the garbage all over.