Friday, October 30, 2015

Halloween and "Chalk Night"

Today is my husband's birthday, and we always tease him about being born on the day of pranks that my family and others in Pittsburgh call "Devil's Night." Apparently in the early 1900s, there were other names used to describe the nights when kids ran rampant in anticipation of Halloween. Some of these included "Chalk Night" and "Corn Night."

Here's a 1907 newspaper article from The Daily Notes, found on, that explains these nights a little more:

"'Chalk night' is a rather new one and until last night had been but little observed here. However, many youngsters, liberally supplied with chalk, which perhaps the Canonsburg school board paid for, were out, and marks were left all over town. Many a pedestrian went home with the back of his overcoat or raincoat bearing a liberal supply of hieroglyphics which resembled, somewhat, the handwriting of Horace Greeley or a Chinese laundry check.
Tonight, 'corn night,' has long been associated with Hallowe'en, and the rattle of corn on window panes will have a familiar sound."

The Daily Notes (Canonsburg, Pa.),
October 30, 1907

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