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Thursday, October 3, 2013


Notice background--paper mache Jack 0 Lanterns
Collecting retro Halloween items takes patience and money as Halloween antiques and collectibles are more scarce than Christmas, Thanksgiving, Valentines and Easter collectibles. That said, collecting Halloween items and decorating with them for Halloween has become bigger every year.

All photos below are just some of what we have currently available, we have much more available than shown, because we buy and sell all the holidays collectibles year round.

How Halloween began and where its traditions began is open for dispute, but many believe it is rooted in the Christian tradition of All Hallows Eve (All souls, All saints) on October 31st when the departed souls would be honored. Others believe that Halloween began with Celtic roots as a day of harvest and summer's end which began the "dark" half of the year. On October 31st, it was believed that a portal was opened for the departed souls to return to earth and seek revenge. In some societies, it was believed that harmful spirits, ghosts and fairies could roam the earth. To ward off the harmful spirits, masks could be worn by the living to confuse the spirits, and giant bonfires were lighted to repel creatures of the dark. Later, lighted candles would replace bonfires. The early Catholic church recognized All Saints Eve as the time to time to pray for restless souls in Purgatory (a place between Heaven and Hell) to pass into the peace of Heaven. The practice of carving turnips that represented souls began in Ireland and Scotland. In America the Puritan immigrants from England did not allow any celebration of Halloween as it was considered pagan; however, as immigrants from Ireland and Scotland arrived in America the practice of carving pumpkins and placing a candle in them began.

Knowing a little about the history of Halloween, prepares a collector for the types of items to collect, how to date them, and their historical significance. While the practice of disguising oneself on Halloween was centuries old, the practice of wearing a costume and trick-or-treating in America seems to be traced to the 1930s when costumes began to be mass produced and references to trick-or-treating can be found in advertising and literature.

Children in the early 1930s, wore a simple homemade costume and it was common to go to a few neighbor's homes for a treat of homemade fudge, a popcorn ball or an apple. Sometimes children carried a real carved pumpkin with a lighted candle which resulted in a number of children being burned, so carrying pumpkins made of light weight paper mache with a wire handle to put candy into became popular. Constructed out of egg crate molded pulp and finished with bright, festive Halloween colors, they came with a wire handle with painted features and some had a removable paper insert for the eyes and mouth.


Paper mache pumpkins or Jack-o-Lanterns or Halloween Lanterns are very collectible, circa late 1930's until the early 1950's, their value is determined by size, condition, if the paper eyes and mouth are in tact and if they have retained their wire handle. Most have orange and green paint. Also some were made as cats, skulls, devils, or witches, which these are the hardest to find and the most expensive. Most were just tossed afterwards making them scarce, plus the inside paper liner got tore up by little hands reaching in to get the goodies and some were used with candles inside and ended up burning.

This one is two faced, same on both sides, plus this one has opening at the bottom and top so it could be placed over a light or candle. Was not intended as a candy container. See the photo above to see actual face, it is the largest in the photo.

These are two smaller versions, the one on top has a paper liner,
 while the one on the bottom has painted features. 

This Devil is early 1950's and made of cardboard and has a paper insert.

1950's Metal Jack O Lantern

During the early 1940′s, sugar rationing was a big issue in the U.S. due to World War II and delayed the overall spread and popularity of trick-or-treating amongst children. Historians believe the mass popularity of trick-or-treating accumulated in the early 1950′s with cartoons such as Disney’s ‘Trick or Treat’ (1952) and Peanuts by Charles Schultz (1951).

I will make additional posts later covering other Halloween
collectibles following this post. 

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