Detroit’s Devil’s Night

October 30, 2013
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No one knows exactly when the unfortunate Detroit tradition of torching houses on Devil’s Night began, but thankfully after a crackdown during the ’90s, incidents of arson have been lowered to near ordinary levels. Through the city’s encouragement, residents have organized into “Angel’s Night” neighborhood watch patrols; other measures include strictly enforced police curfews for minors, turning on porch lights, and posting signs warning that abandoned buildings are being watched.

Despite a one-time surge in 2010, in recent years Devil’s Night reports of arson remain low. Yet, the perception of a Detroit ablaze on Oct. 30. persists. It may be because Michigan is the only place that actually calls the night before Halloween “Devil’s Night”; according to a NC State University survey, aside from a few areas on the East coast that call it “Mischief Night,” most of the country has no name for the night before Halloween. Nonetheless, Devil’s Night remains embedded in our national pop culture: here’s a look at some notable examples.

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