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VINTAGE HALLOWEEN CARDS

In the early 1900s, hundreds of beautiful Halloween postcards were produced by various companies.  Eerie, bizarre, and often humorous, the cards are a neat look at the beginning of 20th century culture, and how America embraced Halloween before it became over commercialized with cartoon characters and insane amounts of candy.  I'm working on The retroCRUSH BIG BOOK OF HALLOWEEN and hope to feature a ton of these throughout, but here's a big batch of them to tide you over in the meantime, sorted into special categories.

BOBBING 4 APPLES

If these cards are any indication, Bobbing for Apples was mighty popular.  Though the exact origin of this custom is unknown, it has outlived less popular variants of the game like Bobbing for Jicama, Bobbing for Cactus, and Bobbing for Mercy.  I never liked the idea of this game, as people slobbering around in a tub of water, half biting apples until they finally snare one with their choppers.  They might as well call it Bobbing for Inflenza.

Ahh, "The Joys of Halloween", indeed!  I'll never forget that Halloween from years ago when I would chew apples hanging on a string with the neighborhood cutie.  Well, actually it was with Mr. Johnson, the crazy Nam Vet down the street and that was supposed to be "our little secret".  And it wasn't an apple.  And he was really dead.  And I hated dressing up like a poodle!  OK, I'm telling too much here, sorry!

BLACK CATS

Black cats have long been a Halloween symbol.  Much has been made of the increased instances of abuse and even ritual sacrifice of black cats around Halloween time, but thanks to advances in animal rights laws, Calico, Siamese, and Tabby cats are now sacrificed equally as often. 

LOVE and ROMANCE

These cards show off one of the more bizarre Halloween customs I've ever heard of.  Apparently single women were encouraged to pray to a flame, either from a candle or a Jack O'Lantern, then look in the mirror to see their future husband.  If they were lucky, an overly neat foppish gent would appear, but if not, a grinning pumpkin would be there instead.  This odd practice didn't last for long, but it gave way to the time honored tradition of men looking at the mirror on their shoe to see what their future brides would look like.

This card spells out the recipe for catching a man.  "With a goose wishbone and four pumpkin seeds marked with letters love, On Halloween place over door...and he who first passes under, your future husband is to be - if he don't blunder."  Many people don't realize that this is how Melanie Griffith was able to overcome her fading beauty and snare Antonio Banderas.

CUTE LI'L KIDS

Here's just some nice cards with sweet kids enjoying Halloween.  I don't know what they say about the early 1900s in particular, but it seems obvious that parents used to carve Jack O'Lantern baby sitters to watch their children when they went out.

DASHING PUMPKINS


THE HORROR OF PUMPKIN CANNIBALISM!

One of the most endearing images of Halloween is the Jack O'Lantern.  Here's a giant collection of brilliantly done cars featuring all sorts of pumpkin craziness. 

I love this card.  It shows a nice romantic moment between a pumpkin-headed beauty and her watermelon-headed suitor, but over to the left, her jilted pumpkin-headed father is none too happy about her interracial dating habits!  WATCH OUT! HE'S GOT A GREEN BEAN!

What better way to wish someone a Happy Halloween than by sending them a card with french-kissing pumpkins?  Decency standards forbid me from showing you the even more disturbing flip side, that features 2 potatoes going at it with a strap on zucchini.

This card is just twisted!  Happy Halloween!  I hope you don't wake up in the middle of the night and find a pumpkin-headed prowler in your house!

VEGGIE STUFF

Pumpkins weren't always the vegetable of choice for Halloween.  In fact, the earliest story of the Jack O'Lantern featured a carved out turnip.  During this harvest time of year, many vegetables were celebrated prominently including onions, cabbage, and several people from Southern Maryland.

In olden days, poor people in Scotland used Jack O'Cabbages and Jack O'Filberts instead of pumpkins.  In Ireland, cabbage was a traditional element in a Halloween Meal, until the Great Cabbage Famine of 1844 made the nation turn to their plentiful supply of potatoes instead.

WI-YATCHES

You gotta love how the mom and daughter (and even cat) are scared shitless at the witch's shadow outside, while the dad is just yukking it up.  The weird part is that they know it's not a real witch, but a Jehovah's Witness with the latest issue of Awake!

JUST PLAIN WEIRD and SCARY

Here's the ultimate, "What the Hell Is Going on In This Card?" award goes to this crazy scene that features a blindfolded woman with 3 bowls of water in front of a fireplace, while some pumpkin headed dude yells at her and intrigued adults look on.  If you can explain this one, I'll put you in a drawing to win a free DVD boxed set of HBO's DREAM ON!

Even Ku Klux Kids like to enjoy Halloween, too!

I have no clue what's going on here, but I think when the clock strikes 12, Miss Jenkins is going to throw little Billy into the fire, and then feed him to the box of hungry ghosts waiting below.

-Robert Berry
rberry@retrocrush.com

 

 

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