Most people, who were raised in more modern parts of the country, are unfamiliar with an important part of our history. I was raised in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan up until I was a junior in high school. From the 4th through the 9th grades, we lived in a little town called Bergland, Michigan. This was very remote. It was 35 miles to the nearest grocery store.  In a location like this, there were still a lot of people using outhouses. Even homes that had indoor plumbing often had an outhouse, no longer used, in their back yard. In the UP we used to celebrate “Gate Night” which was the night before Halloween. It was fun to push over some of those outhouses. Some people called it “Devil’s Night.”

In case you think I am making this up, read the following article from

Before the 20th century, Halloween mischief in the United States and Canada happened on Oct. 31 and consisted of tipping over outhouses, unhinging farmer’s gates, throwing eggs at houses and the like.

The story goes of a young boy who pushed over his parent’s own outhouse on Gate Night. His father confronted him the next day, furious. It seems that this outhouse was placed near the bank of a river, and when it was pushed over, if fell into the river. The boy had been in school that morning when the teacher told the story about George Washington cutting down an apple tree. When his father confronted him and asked if he had cut down the apple tree, young George confessed. His father was so impressed that he decided not to punish George. It is highly unlikely that was a true story.

But the boy who pushed over the outhouse decided this was worth a try. So, he confessed and admitted to his dad that yes, he had pushed over the outhouse into the river. At which point the father took off his leather belt and beat the living crap (pun intended) out of him. After the punishment was over, the boy sobbed and said: “When George Washington told the truth about cutting down the apple tree, his father forgave him and didn’t punish him. Why did you have to beat me?” The father responded: “Probably because George Washington’s father wasn’t in the apple tree.”

At times like these, a little humor can go a long way. Just remember when Democrats pushed Joe Biden into the White House, they forgot who was in the outhouse.


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