Sunday, October 2, 2011

Oct. 2 - Day 2: Vintage Halloween Collecting

How I Got Into Vintage Halloween Collecting

As a child, I loved fall as a season and the turning leaves, the chill in the air, and the holiday festivities that would soon begin and run through Christmas. One of my favorite times of year. Halloween was always a favorite holiday and what I liked about it so much was not only the spooky atmosphere but the trick or treating :) Loved going and going for hours through the neighborhoods with my friends and seeing how much candy we could get before we had to be back home. I remember getting the old McDonald's coupons, sometimes getting money (coins), and even freshly baked treats. One of my favorite things was getting the goody bags full of loot that someone took the time to put together. I make these for the kids each year.

Every year our school would do a Halloween parade with everyone in costume and that was fun. There were school carnivals. All the fanfare that made this time of year exciting. We didn't have a huge amount of Halloween decorations at our house other than the usual cutouts or other simple things like carved pumpkins so as I grew up we didn't have much saved from this holiday like we did Christmas. I still have an old witch mask and pumpkin necklace that my mom made me one year for Halloween.

It was the Martha Stewart Living magazine issue from October 1996 that got me thinking about vintage Halloween collectibles. There was a 3 page feature on them in this issue--the pages are shown throughout this post--click on them for a larger version.

The article featured various vintage items from lanterns to cutouts to games and noisemakers. I was quite intrigued with the noisemakers and the games. Cited in this article was Stuart Schneider's Halloween in America guide to collecting vintage Halloween. I ended up ordering it on a whim. It was so fun to look through and see the history of collecting over the years and all the various kinds of decorations and ephemera to collect.

It wasn't until a year or more later that I got onto eBay and decided to search and see if anything was being listed and discovered there was--and then I started collecting.

My primary focus was on the games and noisemakers since I liked these so much and the noisemakers tended to go fairly inexpensively in some cases compared to other collectibles. I also like books on Halloween parties and children's Halloween books plus other miscellaneous party decorations and paper ephemera. It's an eclectic mix.

My other collecting passion is Nancy Drew books and collectibles and of that genre, I collect everything. With Halloween, I'm more selective.

How did you get started collecting? If you'd like to share photos of your vintage collectibles and how you display them, e-mail them to and I'll post them during the month here at the blog.



dragonmamma said...

I wish I had the resources to collect vintage Halloween stuff. If I had a time-machine I'd go back to my childhood to grab the cheapo plastic costumes I wore (in the box, of course!) and dime-store cut-outs we put in the windows.

snowbear said...

I too love the old fashioned party ideas.. the noisemakers and games... would be a blast to have a vintage halloween party!

Jenn said...

I second the time machine idea :) I'm always up for a vintage party Kathy :)

Anna of Halloween Night said...

It was neat reading your story of how you got into the collecting aspect of Halloween! I loved my childhood Halloweens. I lived in a very small town, so after school we would have a big party (at the school actually) then go trick-or-treating on a hayrack ride!