Halloween eve has always been the time for kids to become pranksters and practical jokesters. When boomers were young, the night before Halloween meant ‘moving night,’ when we would go out and move people’s porch furniture around, hide trash cans, soap windows and ring the doorbell and run. Smashing pumpkins and throwing toilet paper became popular as we hit our teen years but Mischief Night, at least locally, largely involved harmless pranks.
Now it is the baby boomers who are the recipients of these mischievous pranks. So local boomers are volunteering to patrol the streets of Towson on the eve of Halloween to discourage delinquent behavior and make sure it doesn’t escalate into more violent crime.
On October 30, ‘Mischief Night,’ local baby boomers who volunteer as citizens on patrol will be monitoring neighborhoods to deter Halloween pranksters and troublemakers. As part of the Towson Area Citizens on Patrol (TACOP) Mischief Prevention Patrol, baby boomer volunteers will be out in force to discourage mischievous acts like egg throwing and wrapping trees and porches with rolls of toilet paper in downtown Towson and its 25 surrounding neighborhoods.
For 14 years, COP’s volunteer car patrols, walkers, joggers, bikers and dog walkers have established a visible presence in Towson on Mischief Night and serve as a major deterrent to pranks and delinquent activity. While most pranks are not crimes, tossing raw eggs at cars damages the car’s paint if it is not washed off immediately and raw egg fights leave a mess which residents and businesses have to clean up.
TACOP’s Mischief Night, which is open to the public, starts at 6 PM on October 30 at the Baltimore County Police Hillendale Resource Center located at 1055 Taylor Avenue. Attendees are asked to bring hats, gloves and scarves to donate to the Shelters and Family Crisis Center. TACOP’s Mischief Night begins at 6 PM on October 30 at the Baltimore County Police Hillendale Resource Center located at 1055 Taylor Avenue. Local baby boomers are encouraged to attend and volunteer to patrol.
After the COP volunteers are greeted and thanked by the Baltimore County Police, they network, compare notes on their neighborhoods patrols and enjoy light refreshments. Then the Mischief Prevention patrol schedule is announced. Patrols commence at 7 PM and run through midnight.
Most COP volunteer drivers will have magnetized signs on their cars identifying them as COP patrollers and a blinking light on the car’s roof, although others will be unmarked as they patrol. They carry their cell phone and call 911 if they see suspect activity.
Baby boomers and seniors are the foundation of TACOP’s volunteer citizen on patrol force. Founded in 2000, TACOP is a 501c3 organization that relies solely on donations from the public. Boomers interested in volunteering should contact TACOP.