Old-Fashioned Halloween Fun
|Jack-O'-Lantern by Edna Barth, illustrated by Paul Galdone.|
A Clarion Book / Seabury Press, 1974.
I love old-fashioned Halloween spookiness. I do love a retro/vintage aesthetic. Reading and watching films and clips from Halloweens past, well before my time, is one of my favorite ways to spend October. Thanks to YouTube, I've been able to find many of the clips used in the old '90s History Channel doc, "A Haunted History of Halloween," and I've checked out most of the old books available in my library.
This weekend, we carved our giant orange pumpkin, in what must be one of the most old-fashioned Halloween pastimes. [Well, not that old-fashioned, perhaps. This post by Atlas Obscura showed up in my Facebook feed today.] To celebrate the occasion, we read this 1970s book, telling the story of mean old Jack, who tricked St. Peter into granting him three wishes. Three very mean wishes, making Jack meaner than the Devil himself. So mean, in fact, that neither St. Peter nor the Devil will accept him after his death, leaving him to roam the earth with his lantern. In this book, it's a pumpkin, but in the afternote, Barth does mention that the original folktellers used a turnip.You can read about the original legend here or here.
Here is our Jack O' Lantern, loosely inspired by Jack Pumpkinhead of Oz. I attempted this on my blue pumpkin, seen in the center. Blues are just not the right shape, I think. And here are some pumpkin guts and seeds.
We gave Jack an LED strobe light this year.
Someday, I long to have a bigger, much older house, and I will be as seasonally obnoxious as my family will allow. I adore old Dennison and Beistle decorations, and long to collect antique Halloween decor. For now, I settle for my reproduction Beistle die-cuts. I won a set of 1920s die-cuts, which are hanging in the front room window.
My 1950s repros are clothespinned every year to some twine, along with a collection of vintage plastic masks from the '60s. They hang in the knotty pine family room.
Little Sis's collection of doll parts goes nicely with our branch tree and its homemade ornaments - jar lids with prints of old Halloween cards pasted inside - and this year, I added some glass bottles from the craft store, covered with free printable apothecary labels.
I'm loving this book, too. Big Sis found it at the library. It's called Halloween Merrymaking: An Illustrated Celebration of Fun, Food, and Frolics from Halloweens Past. The book gathers old graphics, articles, and ideas from books and magazines. Most were printed before 1930.
|Halloween Merrymaking: An Illustrated Celebration of Fun, Food, and Frolics from Halloweens Past by Diane C. Arkins. Pelican Publishing Company, 2004.|
Some Vintage Halloween Link Love
- Halloween at History.com. It's full of short videos and facts. Before we cut the cord on cable, I had pretty much given up on the History Channel. I prefer the good ol' days, when they aired stuff like this:
- The Haunted History of Halloween. A lovely soul uploaded the complete documentary from the 1990s on YouTube. I watch this every single year, even in the years when it would only air once, before sunrise. (Thanks, DVR.) We bought it on Amazon Instant Video. LOVE.
- Retroween is where I bought my reproduction Beistles. I won my 1920s repros via the Facebook page. Reasonable prices, reasonable shipping, and everything came quickly and in great shape.
- VintageHalloween.com. This is such a fun site/shop! I drool over the collections and reproductions. The blog is here. I also follow on Pinterest (EYE CANDY) and Facebook.
- Spookshows.com is another cool collector's site.
- I long to visit Sleepy Hollow, New York, and Salem, Massachusetts, especially during Halloween. Following New England Living (and her Facebook and Instagram accounts) has made the desire stronger over the past year or two. Actually, look at that Instagram - I want to spend an entire fall in the region. Please?
- It's true. Halloween costumes were a lot creepier, years and years ago. You can find round-up after round-up of vintage photos to prove it: see Vintage Everyday, Mashable, Buzzfeed, Flavorwire, Mental Floss, several at Huffington Post, Stuff You Should Know, IFC...
- And on that note, if you haven't watched it yet, check out "100 Years of Halloween Costumes in 3 Minutes." You'll never look at Minnie Mouse the same way again.
- I'd love to own a Dennison's Bogie Book (or two, or three) from the 1910s or '20s. They are super-expensive to find now, although reproductions are available from third-party sellers on Amazon, and you can buy PDF files on Etsy. Head here, however, to read the 1920 edition online.
- Meet Me In St. Louis contains my favorite weird Halloween scene in a movie, ever. Margaret O'Brien's Tootie is so wonderfully, charmingly awful. I can find no clips of the Halloween scene on YouTube, and the movie doesn't seem to be streaming on the usual channels. We own a well-watched copy of the 2004 edition of the DVD. It's one of our family's favorite movies. Here's a nice appreciation of the scene.
- My "Vintage Halloween Treats" YouTube playlist. It's a bit shorter than it used to be, as some of my favorites have been pulled from YouTube. Please keep in mind, these are old cartoons and films, and some may be marred by insensitivities I would never endorse.
- My vintage Halloween pins can be found here.
Hope you enjoyed this post! My computer was running so slow, I feel as if this is the only thing I've done all day.