Don’t Take the Trash Out at Night

Informant Data:

The informant is a Romanian American who was born in Bucharest, Romania in 1957. At age 19, my informant left Ceausescu’s Romania and arrived in the United States in 1976. She is a real estate agent who currently resides in Los Angeles, California.


Contextual Data:

When I was back home one weekend (my home is near USC), my informant asked me to take the trash out. I must confess that I did not take out the trash when my informant asked me to take it out. When night came, and my informant asked if I had taken out the trash, I stood up to take the trash out. My informant stopped me. She told me that I shouldn’t take the trash out night because it means you’re throwing your luck away.

When I asked my informant where she first heard this from, she said she was first told this by her grandmother (who had heard it from her parents) when she was a child living in Bucharest, Romania.



“Don’t take the trash out at night. You’re taking your luck and throwing it away.”



I believe this superstition perhaps comes from the fact that around a hundred years ago or so in the countryside, more than likely if one were to take one’s trash out at night, one would be risking encountering any of the many wolves, bears, or other dangerous wildlife that live in the vast Romanian wilderness. So even though in suburbia in the present-day, there doesn’t seem to be any risk in taking out the trash at night, the superstition that taking the trash out at night is bad luck must’ve been formed at a point when it was logical to not take the trash out at night, and that it was simply passed down from generation to generation until the danger no longer existed but the superstition still remained.


For another version of this, please see:

“Graveyard Shift/Krusty Love.” Spongebob Squarepants. Writ. Stephen Hillenburg. Dir. Stephen Hillenburg. MTV Networks International, 2002. DVD.