picket night n Cf mischief night n
A night near Halloween, usu the night before, when children damage picket fences and often play other pranks.
1908 Weekly Clintonian (Clinton IN) [6 Nov 2]/1 (newspaperarchive.com), The “fun” began for the “kids” Friday night, the eve preceding Hallowe’en being “picket night” when considerable damage is annually done to the paling fences of the city. 1924 Eve. Democrat (Ft. Madison IA) 31 Oct 8/2, All week the ever restless youth of the city has been active. Last night was beggar’s night. The night before was picket night. 1940 Oakland Tribune (CA) 27 Oct sec A 6/7, Enforcement of the curfew law in Albany on “picket night” and Halloween, October 30 and 31, will be stricter than ever this year. 1973 Spectator (Terre Haute IN) 27 Oct 15/1, “Picket Night” was the night before Halloween. . . Children and teenagers roamed in gangs and soaped windows, threw corn around and frightened people with “tic tacs” and other noisemakers. 1977–78 Foster Lexical Variation 35 NJ, In Central and North Jersey, five Mischief Night names are found: Picket Night in Sayreville and South River (Middlesex [County]). Ibid 76 NJ, Picket Night, so called from the custom of producing noise by running a stick along a picket fence. 2009 in 2017 DARE File—Internet St. Louis MO, When I was a suburban teen, we called it “picket night”. I never took part in it—but I do know that the mischief consisted mostly of t.p.ing trees and soaping people’s windows. 2015 Ibid ceNJ, Where I grew up, Union Beach NJ we called it Mischief Night. We moved to the next town over, and they called in [sic] Picket Night. . . These are two very small towns that actually shared the same high school.