The Spook-tacular World of Halloween Collectibles!
Updated: Sep 30
As a kid, Halloween was always one of my favorite holidays. Not only could you dress up in your favorite costume, but grown-ups rewarded you with candy for it. Only the joy of opening presents on Christmas morning and building 4th of July rockets for my G.I. Joes ranked higher to me!
The Halloween that we know today originated over two thousand years ago with the Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in), which marked the end of the harvest season and the beginning of the “dark season” or winter. Participants of the festival would light large bonfires and wear costumes to ward off spirts that would come out at night.
In the 8th century, Pope Gregory III declared November 1st as a day to celebrate all of the saints. This day was called All Saints’ or All Hallows’ Day, with festivities beginning the night before. Eventually, this day became the Halloween that we associate with the costumes, decorations, and parties that we enjoy today.
For some superfans, Halloween is a year round affair. These individuals love to collect vintage Halloween related memorabilia, which can range in value from a few dollars to thousands of dollars.
Take old postcards for example. They were quite popular to send at the turn of the 20th century, as they were inexpensive to purchase and send and often had interesting or humorous illustrations to capture your attention. These collections are often heavily weighted with Christmas and Easter postcards, which is when most friends and family would send greetings to one another. However, the most valuable postcards in these collections typically don’t feature St. Nick, but instead show witches, bats, jack o’ lanterns, and black cats. Values for original Halloween postcards can range anywhere from about $10 to several hundred dollars apiece!
Other collectors prefer to collect vintage Halloween decor, with tiaras and papier-mâché objects having some of the greatest demand. Many of these items were produced in Germany between 1919 to 1935, as the country struggled to overcome the hardships imposed after WWI.
In September 2018, a collector sold several prized 1930s era German Halloween tiaras on eBay, with prices realized between $790 to over $2100 apiece! Not only were these examples very rare, but they were in also in excellent condition, which are both qualities considered very important to collectors.
Vintage lanterns and candy containers of all styles were often made of papier-mâché, with jack o’ lanterns, black cats, and devils being the most common. Prices range from about $50 to several hundred dollars for examples in good condition. Some of the most unusual specimens can fetch $500 to several thousand dollars. My favorites are some of the oddball “veggie man” candy containers, which look like characters that belong in a Tim Burton film.
Which Halloween collectibles are your favorites?