- Holidays and Celebrations
Vintage Collectible Halloween Decorations
Antique Paper and Vintage Plastic Figurine Halloween Decorations
In the early 1900s, the incredible popularity of exchanging Halloween postcards spearheaded an American interest in celebrating the scariest of all of the annual holidays in style. People began to purchase items to decorate their homes and to decorate for Halloween holiday parties.
U.S. based printers and publishers produced plenty of both spooky and whimsical paper Halloween decorations. Meanwhile, German manufacturers began to turn out all manner of Halloween figurines and treat holders for export to the United States and around the world. Later, American manufacturers would also begin producing sought after figurines and other Halloween novelties. Both types of early Halloween items, paper and plastic novelty pieces, are highly sought after by collectors today.
Die-cut and Honeycomb Vintage Paper Decorations
At the turn of the 20th century, many U.S. based printing companies, especially those that did holiday greeting cards and postcards, were turning out simple Halloween paper decorations for hanging. But it would be the Biestle Co., then of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (now of Shippensburg, PA), that would revolutionize the industry first by introducing colorful die-cut paper figures on heavy paper and cardstock and, in 1910, by acquiring the technology from Germany to produce "honeycomb" paper. Honeycombs of tissue paper allowed for a wide range of new designs and they also allowed several die-cut pieces to be connected together and to stand as an opened out unit or to be folded closed for storage.
All vintage die-cut Halloween decorations are popular with and pursued by collectors but Biestle pieces - especially those with honeycombs - in good condition hold a special place in the hearts of many!
You can click on the Jack-O-Lantern man to go to the website, Spookshows.com and learn more about the Biestle Company.
A Beistle Die-Cut with Honeycomb
Figurines and Other Novelty Halloween Decorations
Germany and its prolific manufacturers were unable to capitalize on the initial craze people had for paper decorations for the Halloween holiday even though German factory produced and exported Halloween postcards played a large roll in the rise of the holiday's popularity in the U.S. and in Europe. Not to be outdone, after the end of WW1, German manufacturers began to create decorative figurines and other Halloween novelties in durable resins and strong, dense plastics. Many fine examples of these survive today. completely intact and they too are highly collectible.
Pawtucket, Rhode Island, based Rosbro Plastics would get in on the craze for non-paper based decorations in, it would appear, the 1950s. They produced very popular figurine and candy holder designs until the factory closure in 1997. These figurines are also sought after by ardent collectors.
Photo Courtesy of eBay seller "SpookySue"
Rosbro Plastics - Vintage Halloween Witch
The photo above shows an example of a typical Rosbro Plastics made Halloween decorative figurine. The black, green and orange color scheme is the most commonly used scheme from their line of products designed for the holiday.
While Rosbro items do not have the same collectible value as more rare German made items, they're much easier to find and often in excellent condition given their hard plastic nature. They make great pursuit items for beginning collectors.
Are You a Vintage Halloween Decoration Collector?
What cool and spooky items do you covet most? Tell us about your most prized item!
To Plan Your "Vintage" Themed Halloween Party Right
A reprint of one book of the famous Dennison line of "Bogie" Books which helped countless hosts and hostesses in the early 1900s plan their Halloween parties right!
These reprints are available for years into the 1920s. Original copies of these highly popular books do turn up on Amazon from time to time...but they're snatched up as soon as they're listed. You'll have to be quick if you want to lay your hands on a vintage copy but, if you just want to see what all the excitement was about, the reprints are very well done.