Mark B. Ledenbach's vintage Halloween collectibles blog.

Vintage Halloween Candy Container, Black Cat w/ Bulging Eyes, Germany, Cardboard

This candy container was made in West Germany during the early 1950s. Whenever you see the mark, Container Made in Germany, you know that the marked item was made from ~1950 to ~1955. (That is assuming the mark is genuine, of course.) I like this design. The one from the collection can be seen on page 71. These typically trade for $100. 

04/20 Update: This candy container ended at $97. 


I have never seen these Whitney designs before. Typically, they are on a circular base with rats running around the perimeter and stand with the help of a wire-backed prop. This standee form is unusual and rare. (Basically, at this stage I feel that anything I haven't seen before is rare! :)) I would have liked to see the reverse of each. I know that many Whitney designs were recycled during the 1990s. Although I feel these are older, seeing the backs would have helped. Whitney was pretty good about marking their postcards, but were awful about marking much else. Were these marked in any way? 

Vintage Halloween JOL man pulling cart Candy Container Dolly Toy

This brought a very strong price considering its condition. Dolly Toy made a small number of Fibro Toys and were pretty disciplined about marking their wares. Unusually, this candy holder is never marked. I know it was made by Dolly Toy as I have one of their catalogs showing it for sale. With the cat and witch wheeled candy holders, be cautious of reproductions. The reproductions use thinner, high-gloss paper stock. 


This candy container looks more squat than it should. (It could be just the angle.) The complete mark on the underside is hard to discern. I think it says "Container Made In Germany." If that is so, that mark was used exclusively during the early 1950s. 

04/13 Update: This sold for a mere $148.50, so the marketplace had its suspicions as to age as well. 

antique Witch Halloween candy container

The workmanship of this container is so poor that I feel this is something made in Japan not Germany. The hands, rather than being composition, are merely clumps of spun cotton. The drab swaddling of crepe paper throughout also denotes a lack of finishing skill so unlike most German-made items. Being an item made in Japan, the overall value doesn't approach this seller's opening price of $300. 

04/16 Update: The market is typically uninterested in such items, shown by the seller has relisted this with an opening price of $150 or a BIN of $200. I feel fair market value is $80. 

VINTAGE 1920's Dennison HALLOWEEN Arched Back Black Cat Die-Cut Decoration

Here is a true "this makes no sense" result. This smallish diecut, measuring only ~10" high, was made by Dennison during the early 1920s and is quite common. The SGV on a very good day is ~$35. As with nearly all such head-shaking results, this completely errant ending price was the result of two bidders putting in stratospheric flanking bids surely complacent in their belief that no sane person would ever use a similar strategy. SURPRISE! The seller, a true sweetheart who seems to have an inexhaustible supply of interesting small paper items, surely must be tickled by the folly of some eBayers, especially considering that she sold a nearly identical diecut, just significantly larger, minutes later for a comparatively paltry $43.77. As Herb Morrison once said, Oh, the humanity!


This little trio of milk glass Halloween perfume bottles was made in Germany during the 1930s. They would have originally been sold with cork stoppers, which are almost always missing. SGV is $300 for the set, so the seller is offering these at a decent starting price. 

04/09 Update: This set sold for a modest $194.76. The buyer got a true bargain. 


The seller states in the text that the box is near-mint but that is clearly not the case. Even so, this listing brought $45. The manufacturer of this is unknown. Although Beistle art is used, there is no record of Beistle having produced it. I feel it was either an item licensed by Beistle or one that was made without their authorization. 

Early 1900's Halloween Jack-O-Lantern Co. Toledo,O. Tin Parade Pumpkin-Nice!

I don't know whether the "this-was-taken-home-by-an-employee-unpainted" story is true. It looks too uniform and pristine to me, given that it is ~115 years old. I've had a number of readers contact me to say it looks like a paint removal product was used to give it this look. I can't say anything definitive about it, except that the marketplace had its doubts too, as this fetched only $1136.11. What I did find cool and truly unusual was the base with the impressed information. I don't recall seeing such a base before. 

A reader kindly shared the photo below in response to this post. The key question is whether the parade lanterns in the photo are painted orange or are they unpainted. If unpainted, it does further call into question the concept of an employee taking unpainted lanterns home, but reinforces the concept that perhaps these tin parade lanterns were sometimes sold unpainted. Thoughts? 

Halloween Collectables by Dan & Pauline Campanelli

This is an outstanding reference published in 1995. I am surprised yet happy that one in "new" condition is being offered for sale. When I decided to write my own reference guide, the first edition of which was published in 2003, this was a key resource for me. During the intervening years I have come to appreciate it all the more. The vast majority of information conveyed in the book was correct, a true feat given that not much research scholarship had been done on the subject when this was being put together. Dan and Pauline were winging it and got it mostly right. I had the pleasure of written correspondence with Pauline, all of which I retain in my archives. Sadly, she passed away in 2001. Their collection was auctioned by Noel Barrett in 2003. 

1916 Halloween Cards of Fate Party Game w/ Original Envelope Riley Publishing

It is refreshing to see something you never knew existed. A little-known firm, Frank T. Riley Publishing, issued this set of twenty-five fortune cards. The envelope's art work is vaguely interesting and seems to have been replicated on all cards, based on the only two extant with this listing. Normally, I'd be all over this kind of item, given that my far-and-away favorite sub-genre of vintage Halloween memorabilia is paper, but this is too rough and incomplete to tempt me much. It'll be instructive to see what it brings. 

VINTAGE 1920's Dennison HALLOWEEN Floating Specter Skeleton Ghost Die-Cut

This fantastic Dennison diecut has seldom received the love from the secondary market that I feel it deserves. Large and creepy, it would have been the perfect wall decoration for an adult Halloween party. This floating specter first appeared in a 1929 Price List pamphlet. SGV is $275. Be aware that scammers have tried to peddle small versions of this. As I write on page 141, "Small versions measuring 8" h have surfaced recently. This size is not referenced in any extant Dennison publication. These small versions seem to have ragged edges and poor lithography. Given this data, I feel these are fantasy items with no vintage value." 

04/02 Update: I was glad to see this Dementor right out of a Harry Potter book fetched $306.50, right around SGV. 

Vintage Dennison Halloween Witch Illuminated Silhouettes

This was one of Dennison's go-to designs, issued in a numbing number of iterations. In 1922, they issued a slide box of twelve of these broomed witch illuminated silhouettes using stock number H-641. In 1926 Dennison issued a closely related variant of gummed silhouettes in a slide box containing six. I suspect this listed set of six was made sometime during 1923 to 1925 based on the reduced number of units per package, the lack of a printed stock number and the monochromatic box. Even with the large form-factor, which typically commands a premium, this design typically doesn't fetch more than about $75. 

04/02 Update: These sold for $76.26.