Mark B. Ledenbach's vintage Halloween collectibles blog.

graphic old Halloween black cat string sign decoration

This is one from a set of twelve that Beistle first released in 1932 and made for many, many seasons thereafter. However, the typical versions are a combination of orange, black, green and white. Very early in the run, Beistle issued each design in these unusual color variations that remind me of foil. These variants are difficult to locate. Please refer to pages 151-152 to see others from the set. 

Antique Dennison,"Hallo' Inn" Die Cut

The crop this season of rare vintage items has been smaller overall than in many years past, so it is nice to see such a coveted and elusive diecut surface. As with many firms, Dennison was hard hit by the Great Depression. Their overall output was significantly lessened by the time this wonderful item was produced from 1930-1932. Not many were made and not many have survived the long journey through time. I know of VERY few collectors that own one of these. I do not. I struggle with whether to buy rare items with condition issue, and this falls in the "what should I do" zone. The SGV is $325, but since one of these hasn't surfaced in any venue I know of for nearly a decade, the sky's the limit.

10/26 Update: The stratosphere was reached with this rare diecut fetching $938.88.  

Vintage Halloween Score Cards PRINTED IN GERMANY

These beautiful and exceedingly rare German place cards brought about what I thought they would. (I felt they would bring $200 each and they brought ~$186.) I've tried to obtain cards from this set for years to no avail. I find them strangely compelling. Congratulations to both the buyer and seller! 


This is a rare tin litho noisemaker, made by an unknown manufacturer during the late 1920s. The graphics are great. The handle and the noise making mechanism are rendered rather primitively. The first time I saw one I immediately bought it for the collection. The ornateness of the disks contrasted with the plainness of the handle caused me to wonder if it was incomplete. However, during the last two-plus decades I've seen this 3-4 times. They all have the strangely plain handle and guts, so one should bid on this with confidence. It is actually in very nice condition. 

10/22 Update: This sold for the stratospheric price of $442, well in excess of SGV of $275. 

Vintage Halloween Cardboard & Honeycomb Party Hat - Black Cat

This plain, almost forlornly so, hat was produced by Beistle during the 1950s. By this time, Beistle's artistic creativity was nearing a bottom. (Compare this design to any of their designs produced during the 1920s and 1930s and you'll immediately see what I mean.) There isn't much demand for this hat. The seller has it starting right at SGV. 

10/31 Update: It sold with one bid at $24.99. 

Antique Vintage Halloween Black Cat Seals in Box Gibson Art Company c1920s

This beautiful box of seals was produced by Gibson during the 1920s. Gibson's output was significantly less than their arch-competitor, Dennison, and, sadly, their distribution network was similarly circumscribed. Hence, today it is difficult to find Gibson boxed sets - and even more difficult to find such a clean and nearly complete box. My operating theory is that vintage Halloween paper (aside from napkins, table cloths and the like) will continue its rapid ascent, so if you like this genre, snap this one up. If you wish to see an extensive array of Gibson boxed sets, please refer to pages 264-265. 

10/22 Update: This fetched a strong $150.50. 


I don't know what to make of this diecut. The message is so cryptic that it makes me wonder if something is missing from it. Readers, any thoughts? 

10/12 Update: Thanks to those who wrote in! The expression "Get Hot" could mean a number of things: encouraging someone to dance faster, do better or simply make themselves comfortable. Thinking that it might tie in to a product endorsement, I wondered if this diecut was incomplete. I feel now it is complete. 

10/22 Update: A second one sold on 10/20 for $107.92. 

VTG 1920'S Halloween 'Spook Lamp', Very Rare.

These Spook Lamps almost never come up for sale, especially in this great condition. I am surprised it didn't bring more. There is a larger version measuring 12" high with a 6" shade and a 4.5" wide base. The patent date on these lamps is February 14, 1911, although I don't think they were immediately released. Still, I think they predate 1920. The one on page 188 has some different panel designs than this one.I feel the buyer got a solid bargain. 

Ceramic Pumpkin Jack O Lantern Halloween Candle Holder - Vintage Germany 1970s

Whomever scooped this breathtakingly rare porcelain candle holder up for $29.99 should be thanking sweet Jesus they were trolling through the listings when this popped up. This is arguably the most coveted single item from the many the Germans produced for their porcelain tea set service from 1908 through 1932. Prior to this listings I had seen only two examples in the same large lot that was sold to me many years ago. One has been in the collection ever since, the other, heavily damaged and missing pieces, was sold. I have a long list of people who really want this. I sure hope whomever got it was on that list. The seller was foolish. She obviously had no idea what she was selling, given that she describes this as being from the 1970s. She basically robbed herself of thousands of dollars as I have zero doubt this would have sold for significantly more than SGV given its rarity and how many collectors want it. The lesson to be learned here is simple: If you don't know what you are selling, never list it as a BIN - always use an auction format.