Vintage Halloween Decorations
It's almost my favorite time of year: Halloween! Naturally, as the weeks draw closer, my mind turns to thoughts of what can I buy to celebrate the occasion and my answer, of course, is something vintage. Sure, there are tons of contemporary Halloween decorations just about falling off the shelves at every store you visit, but I prefer the whimsy of vintage Halloween decorations to the new stuff.
You wouldn't know it based on what happens around Halloween today, but before World War I, Halloween was strictly an adult holiday. No one sent the kids out trick or treating and the holiday did not revolve around kids, treats and candy. Trick or Treating didn't really get going until the 1930s and even then it did not pick up steam until well after World War II, due to sugar shortages during the war that restricted the availability of candy. By the 1960s however, children begging for candy door to door had truly taken hold.
In the golden age of pre-begging though, Halloween was certainly a great excuse for the grown-ups to send the kids to bed and throw cocktail parties and costume balls. And you need decorations for that, don't you? Of course you do!
Vintage Beistle Halloween Decorations
The Beistle Company is the most well known American manufacturer of Halloween decorations. During the early 1900s they produced paper party decorations for Halloween and other holidays - including die-cuts and those honeycomb centerpieces.
Beistle's business profited substantially from the lack of availability of German manufactured goods in the US during World War I. It was a different story during World War II however, when Beistle was unable to produce any paper decorations at all due to paper shortages in the US. But they began production once again during the post war period and they continue their business today.
Many of their contemporary decorations are based upon some of their vintage designs, but most collectors prefer the original vintage Beistle Halloween decorations to the reproductions.
Vintage German Halloween Decorations
After the end of World War I, a great deal of paper goods and other items were manufactured in Germany for export to the US market and Halloween decorations were some of the most popular items coming out of Germany. They are still highly collectible today, particular those decorations made between 1919 and 1935.
It was common in both Germany and the US for manufacturers to outsource their production to a cottage industry of home workers so many products from this time period are actually homemade, which gives them a whimsical touch not found in today's commercially manufactured decorations.
Vegetable people were a popular theme in the vintage German Halloween decorations so be on the look out for fine examples of them when you are shopping on Ebay. They are highly collectible!
Jack O'Lanterns, Skeletons and Scary Black Cats
Some of the popular themes for vintage Halloween collectibles are pretty much what you'd expect - lots of Jack O'Lanterns, Skeletons and Black Cats. Popular types of collectibles were candy containers (for the table), paper mache lanterns, Halloween postcards were also a huge hit in the early part of the 20th century and the vintage Halloween postcards are another highly collectible item.
Even Halloween decorations from the 50s and 60s though are starting to grow in popularity so you'll find collectors buying and selling Halloween treat bags and, probably the most popular of the more recent Halloween collectibles -- anything made out of hard plastic. From toys to candy pails, hard plastic collectibles are all the rage and you'll see prices have adjusted accordingly. They can get rather pricey, but one of the advantages of the hard plastic Halloween collectibles is that they are certainly easier to store and take care of since they are not as delicate as their paper counterparts.
Photo Credits: VintageHalloweenCollector
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