Halloween is my favorite holiday. In three days, many countries in the world will be celebrating this wonderous occasion. Children and adults alike will donne costumes in fun, while others will solemnly usher in a season of death in preparation of renewal. Still, others believe the veil between the living and those who have passed is thin and will try to communicate with their loved and not so loved ones.
Like many major holidays, the night before holds significance. The night before Christmas has a man in a red suit breaking into houses with the purpose of depositing gifts. Easter has a bunny. New Year has the drop of a ball and plenty of drinking. Halloween has Mischief Night, or if you live in Detroit, Devils Night.
I moved back to Michigan when I was 9 years old. As we held our pre-Halloween celebration,.one of the kids asked if I knew what people did on October 30. I laughed and replied that they egged and TP’d houses. With a deadpan face he said, “on Devils night, we start fires”. I didn’t believe him until I watched the news. Because our house was brand newly built, i stayed up all night to protect it. This practice continued until I moved to the Chicago area. The worst year was 1984 where we had over 800 fires in the three day period between October 29 and October 31. The national news had a field day. Eventually, the city coined the term “Angels Night” and members of the community patrolled the street in search of mischief. The numbers of fires decreased. Last year, Detroit elected a new mayor who seems to have the city’s nest interests at heart. While I visited, I was dismayed that the call came out for Angels to protect our city. When will this destruction end?
I live in the Chicago area and only those who have also transplanted from Detroit know first hand of this travesty. I’ve also travelled to major cities where the people are dumbfounded that anyone would use Halloween to purposefully destroy their city by arson. At a time where Detroit is trying to rebuild its reputation, a perfect start is killing this practice.
This is a story of a tradition that MUST die.