The night before Halloween brings with it many controversies, from the appropriateness of toilet-papering neighbors’ trees and houses, to its very name (apparently, New Jerseyans are among the only people to actually call it “mischief night”).
But there’s one constant in almost every town in the Garden State, including our own: an expanded curfew for those under 17.
Back in 1997, faced with the annual prospect of passing a resolution to expand the curfew, the township council built the expansion directly into the township code, covering both Mischief Night and Halloween night. The law is pretty straightforward:
• Juveniles (defined as those under 17, for the purposes of this law) are prohibited from being on any public street or any public place between the hours of 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. Thursday and Friday night.
• The curfew does not apply when a juvenile is accompanied by a parent, guardian or other adult responsible for their care, during “legitimate business,” an errand approved by a parent or a medical emergency, or attending an event sponsored by a religious or educational organization. There are also exceptions for night school classes, civic, cultural, recreational or social functions, and “when the juvenile is exercising first amendment rights protected by the United States Constitution such as the free exercise of religion, freedom of speech and the right of assembly.”
Though sometimes not well known in the community, there is a general curfew for juveniles every night of the year. Except during the Mischief Night and Halloween expansion, the same rules above apply between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.
For what it’s worth, Brick and Ocean County follow the state trend in calling the night of Oct. 30 Mischief Night. In Paramus, according to an NJ.com article published today on the subject, it’s called “Cabbage Night” while “Goosey Night” is popular in western Bergen County and Passaic County.