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.

Beistle Halloween Decoration
Beistle Halloween Decoration

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!

Vintage Jack O'Lantern Die Cut
Vintage Jack O'Lantern Die Cut

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.

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Do you love Halloween Decorations? 15 comments

countrywomen profile image

countrywomen 7 years ago from Washington, USA

Nice hub. WOW!! Lots of Halloween links will go through them.

Ryan Hupfer profile image

Ryan Hupfer 7 years ago from San Francisco, CA

Thanks for being a HubMobster!

Princessa profile image

Princessa 7 years ago from France

I liked this, I love vintage! Last year I bought these beautiful "Betty Boop sitting on a pumpking" cups, lets see what we find this year.

rodney southern profile image

rodney southern 7 years ago from Greensboro, NC

Very very cool hub! Loved it!

embitca profile image

embitca 7 years ago from Boston Author

THANKS EVERYONE! I'll have to see what everyone else is up to! I love Halloween :)

Uninvited Writer profile image

Uninvited Writer 7 years ago from Kitchener, Ontario

What an excellent hub. I love all things vintage myself as well :)

Thumbs up...

Dottie1 profile image

Dottie1 7 years ago from MA, USA

Love the vintage halloween idea for a hub. Nice job.

embitca profile image

embitca 7 years ago from Boston Author

Thanks, ladies :)

Debbe Zenter 7 years ago

I love this stuff and can't get enough. I'm obsessed, thank you! :)

Traemae profile image

Traemae 7 years ago from boston area

I love the vintage decorations. I also collect the old blow mold lighted yard decorations they are hard to find. I was lucky to find a great ghost holding a pumpkin from the 70's I love all your tips and all your great Halloween/fall articles I am a October baby I think it's the best season ever!

MellasViews profile image

MellasViews 6 years ago from Earth

I love the decorations. We had a few of the ones on Amazon! I cannot believe my childhood has become vintage. lol.

Carol the Writer profile image

Carol the Writer 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

My parents had those black cats! I am 54 and I remember them so well. Great hub!

David L 6 years ago

I would like to know what year they made the first Werewolf jointed decoration? I am trying to determine if the jointed skeleton I bought on eBay is real. It says 1989. Is that the year they made it?

What's News profile image

What's News 6 years ago

Good idea going retro for Halloween. You should have a retro themed Halloween party and tell the guest to wear vintage or throwback style costumes. Great ideas and great hub.

GmaGoldie profile image

GmaGoldie 4 years ago from Madison, Wisconsin

Love vintage jewelry, just wrote about vintage clothing for Halloween, just found this hub - it is fantastic. Yes, my childhood is vintage - so therefore my interest in vintage runs deep.

Great hub - voted up!

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