Mischief Night: Toilet Paper (TP) Tricks and Facts
In honor of mischief night, one of New Jersey’s most loved (and hated) traditions, Gold Medal is taking an in-depth look at toilet paper. Did you know that the New Jersey is pretty much the only state that calls the night before Halloween “mischief night”? It’s also pretty much the only state that has a name for “Halloween Eve,” except for Michigan, which celebrates “devil’s night”. 70.38% of Americans have no word for the night before Halloween, while about 10.84% call it mischief night and 11.13% call it devil’s night (Harvard Dialect Survey).
Although toilet paper can create a fire hazard when exposed to utility lines, compared with eggs, paintball guns, and rocks, it is a fairly harmless Mischief Night prank. Let’s hope that a TP-ed tree or house is the worst thing that happens to you on Mischief Night.
If you do end up getting egged, however, act fast and use warm water (not hot). For a full guide to cleaning off egg stains from your house, take a look at this WikiHow article (w/ pictures).
How to TP a House
If you want to be a mischief maker, here’s how you properly TP a house:
1. Get some good toilet paper. If you’re going to bother with this prank, you better invest in strong triple-ply toilet paper. You won’t even be able to get the roll over a branch without it breaking if you go for the cheap stuff.
2. Preparation is key. Take all the packaging off and remove the glue part beforehand. You want your backpack full of ready-to-go toilet paper because you don’t want to get caught in the act. If there does happen to be a surprise witness, make sure you have a meeting place picked out.
3. Add color. Try poking a couple of holes in your toilet paper with a long needle and dropping some food dye in for an added wow factor. Use all the colors for a festive display.
4. Time to TP. When you have decided on your target, park around the corner or bike and approach the site carefully. Choose a good tree where there is enough room between the branches to not get stuck. If you do have to communicate with your fellow pranksters, do so silently with hand and facial gestures only. It’s time to start decorating!
5. How to effectively throw toilet paper. This is pretty easy if you know a few key tricks. Before you throw, unravel the toilet paper about 8 feet so that some of it is resting on the ground. You can trip to step on the end piece with your foot our hold it in your hand, but this creates more tension which could cause a tear. For the actual throw, you can either do it underhand which is somewhat more effective for unraveling or overhand which is better for height and distance. Whichever way you choose, make sure you are holding it from the inside, with the flap of the toilet paper going over your knuckles.
Start with the lower branches and move up from there. For quick and efficient TP-ing, throw multiple rolls from the same spot and run over to lob them back over. Or, have your friend stand opposite from you and throw the rolls back as the come, like playing catch.
6. Finish up. You can either quietly leave or take the riskier approach and add ding dong ditch to the mix.
For more information on effective and efficient TP-ing practices, check out Wiki-How’s “How to Toilet Paper a House.”
If TP-ing isn’t quite your thing, there are plenty of other harmless mischief night pranks you can try:
Toilet Paper Trivia
As you are planning your TP attack, reflect on all the hard work and history that went into making this mischief night tradition possible:
1.) The first recorded use of toilet paper was in 6th century China.
3.) Other things that were used before toilet paper include: Hay, corncobs, sticks, stones, sand, moss, hemp, wool, husks, fruit peels, ferns, sponges, seashells, and broken pottery. Ouch! 2.) Wealthy Romans used wool soaked in rose water and French royalty used lace.
4.) It wasn't until 1935 that a manufacturer was able to promise "Splinter-Free Toilet Paper." Ouch, again!
5.) The average roll has 333 sheets.
6.) In 1973 Johnny Carson caused a toilet paper shortage. He said as a joke that there was a shortage, which there wasn't, until everyone believed him and ran out to buy up the supply. It took three weeks for some stores to get more stock.
7.) Colored toilet paper was popular in the U.S. until the 1940s.
8.) During Desert Storm, the U.S. Army used toilet paper to camouflage their tanks.
9.) The Pentagon uses, on average, 666 rolls of toilet paper per day
10.) When asked what necessity they would bring to a desert island, 49% of people said toilet paper before food.
TP trivia taken from Buzzfeed’s article, “36 Weird Things You Never Knew About Toilet Paper.”
There is one last thing I want to tell you about toilet paper: It is one of the most common causes of toilet clogs! To prevent clogs due to toilet paper, use only the necessary amount and remember that it is better to flush twice then to risk a toilet clog.
Also, do not use those “flushable wipes,” however enticing they are. They’re not as flushable as you may think.
Click here for a list of other items you should never flush down the toilet. To keep it simple, just human waste and toilet paper.
For the best toilet paper to use, check out these toilet paper reviews by Good Housekeeping, which uses clogability as a ranking category.
If you have a clog, visit our drain and sewer repair page. If the clog is really serious, consider High-Pressure Water Jetting. For all your plumbing problems, call the Gold Medal experts at (732) 365-3199.