Moving a little bit south of my New Jersey homeland taught me quite a few things about Halloween, one of which is, we knew how to do it right.

I know I have kvetched about the horrors of Halloween in VA before, my main complaint being you can’t trick or treat until after dark when it is the most dangerous and cold. But another Halloween tradition they don’t participate down here is Cabbage Night.

Historically, it was when kids, on the night before Halloween, would gather rotted veggies from the fields and throw them at the homes and businesses of neighborhood douche bags. When I was a kid it was just a fun night out with friends soaping windows, throwing an egg or two and trying desperately to avoid the meaner and/or rougher gangs of kids in town. If you met them head on, it could result in serious bodily damage.

I remember moving here and casually asking co-workers who had teens if their kids were going out for cabbage night. This comment was met with blank stares filled with a total lack of recognition. I then renamed the event “mischief night,” which was another name I had heard it called, but had scoffed at. Come on,  “cabbage night” is so much cooler and more authentic.

Again, I was met with a look of “what you talkin’ about Willis.”

I remember going out for Cabbage night once or twice as a teenager. My mom, who did not want her kids involved in any shenanigans, didn’t let us go out for this pre-Halloween ritual. But I was the youngest of four, and by the time I was a teenager, things in the Bucek house were a lot less strict. I can remember stowing away bars of soap and cans of shaving cream weeks ahead of time because stores would not sell these types of items to kids anywhere close to Halloween.

I remember soaping windows of the Acme supermarket. The owner was a good egg who wrote “I am dirty, soap me” on his windows upon closing on Cabbage Night. I had a blast that night stealthily walking through Wood Park, avoiding large packs of kids who took that night as an excuse to bean you in the temple with a freezing cold egg. I walked all over town, spraying shaving cream on driveways, soaping car windows and saving my one and only egg in the pocket of my sweat jacket…I think I finally threw it at a street light on Broad Avenue. It wasn’t my style to whip it at someone’s house. Or head.

But they don’t do cabbage night down here in good ole Virginny.

Part of me should be glad. After all, I am now an adult and the thought of kids randomly pelting my house and car with eggs, silly string and toilet paper does not,  in the slightest, appeal to me. But the idea that a part of my childhood history will not be shared with my kids, kind of bums me out. I mean, I can’t help that I didn’t have the internet or DVDs or cell phones when I was a kid, but dammit, Cabbage Night is still around and my kids just don’t know how to do it!

They also don’t know know the joys of chasing an ice cream truck, but that is a blog post for another day.

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