Wild Trends – Vintage Halloween

Spooktacular tricks & treats to up your vintage Halloween game

Wild Ones – The leaves are changing, the evenings growing darker, and the fall harvest is in full effect; we must discuss vintage Halloween!

Anyone that knows us, knows we love vintage Halloween and all things spooky, kooky, and odd! From kitschy and cute to mischievous and macabre, we’re obsessed with interesting and funky vintage and antique Halloween. That’s why we call ourselves Mid Century Funk, we don’t color within the lines real well and enjoy all things quirky and different.

One of the most iconic Halloween items that most 70’s and 80’s kids remember are blow molds, the light up plastic decorations that ranged from tabletop size to 3 foot tall decorations in your front yard. The ones from the 1960’s and 1970’s were smaller, indoor use, and tabletop size. It wasn’t until the late 1980’s when companies like General Foam and Empire started making larger, outdoor Halloween blow mold decorations. When we’re researching blow molds we find, we head over to an amazing website (blow-molded.com) to dig through their online resources to identify the maker and age – This is a great resource for folks looking for information on blow molded decorations from all holidays.

Shown below left is a 1960’s Bayshore tabletop blow mold, on the right is the Empire version of the waving scarecrow that was discontinued in 1992.

A big heads up on blow molds… Make sure you inspect the electrical before plugging in! They’re easy and cheap to replace ($3 to $5 at most hardware and craft stores).

Another popular piece of vintage Halloween decor is the cardboard window decorations known as die cuts. These have been made for over a hundred years by various manufacturers – The most sought after are the 1920’s and 1930’s (and earlier if you can find them). Beistle, an American company from Shippensburg, PA has made them since 1900 – Their catalog of items created has to be in the thousands, and you can occasionally find gems out in the wild. With these vintage and antique die cuts, two things to consider when purchasing: 1.) Is it truly vintage (Beistle has been reissuing many of their designs, and there’s a huge production of fake antique and vintage Halloween hitting the market). 2.) Condition is the most important thing. Take into consideration that these pieces of cardboard were bought at dime stores and taped to windows – So tearing from the tape and sun fading can and did occur.

Vintage 1950’s or 1960’s bat and pumpkin die cut Halloween decoration – Maker unknown.
Vintage 1950’s or 1960’s Jack O’ Lantern die cut Halloween decor – Maker unknown

Another vintage Halloween item that has been growing in popularity with collectors and folks who love vintage Halloween is homemade ceramic items. Most of these date to the 1970’s and early 1980’s and range in style, quality, and design. We’re guessing that the huge popularity of ceramic Christmas trees has bled over to the Halloween category – People remember grandma having a light up pumpkin on her table or crazy aunt Suzie having a light up ceramic witch. Because these were homemade (well, small time local kilns where friends would gather to paint ceramics) they can and do vary in style, quality, and decor. The only advice we have is find one you love and snatch it up, as most are nearly one of a kind.

We’ll have all the vintage Halloween out at the shop at 2431 Lyndale Ave S, Minneapolis, MN until November 1st – At that point we will begin to transform into a vintage Christmas shop!

Stay spooky, kooky, and cute Wild Ones!