There’s A Big Variety
Of Halloween Collectibles
Collecting Halloween memorabilia is fun, and there is seemingly no end of things from which to choose.
Halloween costumes became popular in America during the 1880s. The early costumes were homemade, and many of the women’s magazines gave instructions and patterns.
The Dennison company began selling paper costumes around 1910. These are rare today, since they were made to be worn just the one time and then discarded.
In the 1930s, the Sears, Roebuck company first offered its ready-to-wear Halloween costumes, and by the 1940s, several additional companies including Halco, Ben Cooper and Collegeville had them available. The costumes usually had screen-printed designs on thin fabric and were sold complete with appropriate masks. Costumes representing popular cartoon characters became popular in the 1940s and 1950s.
Spacemen began to go trick-or-treating in the 1960s. Years from now, collectors may be looking for Elena costumes. (If you don’t keep up with the younger set, she is Disney’s newest princess, and Elena costumes sold out this fall as fast as they appeared on the shelves.)
If you’re interested in collecting costumes, check carefully on their condition. Avoid those that have split seams or stained spots.
Halloween items of hard plastic are another area to consider. They were produced by several companies in the United States following World War II. Since these supposedly unbreakable pieces didn’t live up to the material’s claim, they’re hard to find today and collectors usually scoop them up quickly when they do appear.
One of these manufacturers was E. Rosen/Rosbro Plastics, which also holds the brand name Tico Toys Inc. These molded jack-o-lanterns, cats and witches often carried candy wrapped in cellophane Some of them are on wheels, and intact wheels add to the value of a piece. The name is often embedded somewhere in the mold but it’s often hard to find.
Rosbro also produced plastic jack-o-lanterns for the Miller Electric Company. These had a place for a battery, which caused the jack-o-lantern to light up. They had wire bails attached for carrying.
Masks are another example of a Halloween collectible. Although earliest masks were usually used in religious ceremonies in many cultures, by the 20th century in America, children were using them for Halloween. The masks have ranged from very simple home-made ones painted on cheesecloth to elaborate papier mache ones.
Paper masks for children were being imported from Germany and Japan by the 1930s. By the 1950s, plastic Halloween masks had largely replaced the earlier paper ones. Rubber masks have alo been used during these periods. The plastic masks have often cracked over time; watch for this if you are collecting them.
Or, if you like a mixture of items, build your collection around a theme, such as cats, witches, ghosts, etc. Then you can have some of everything.
Return to Index