I never really understood May Day as a kid. You run up and knock on other people's doors, then run away? And... candy? I didn't get it, but hey, free candy.
But apparently these May Day "tricks" didn't make much sense in post-industrialized England, since the lovely scenes of spring could not be seen in the city, so in 1790, some well-meaning idiot at Oxford encouraged (encouraged!) his students to engage in mischief and trickery near Guy Fawkes Day instead.
|The results of Mischief Night.|
(via the Halloween wiki)
And so began the illustrious tradition of Mischief Night.
I guess it gives more weight to the phrase “trick or treat,” as in, “give us a treat or we’ll TP your yard and egg your shed and pelt your dog with rotten cabbages like we did yesterday.” I mean, vandals can’t possibly expect to get everything done in one night.
So nice job, headmaster at St John’s College. You’re the reason that forty thousand people have to patrol the streets of Detroit around this time of year to prevent vandalism. I hope you’re proud of yourself.