Mark B. Ledenbach's vintage Halloween collectibles blog.

Rare Vintage Dennison Halloween Screaming Cat Face Lantern - Shade. 1930's

Dennison's output from the late 1920s through the early 1930s is sought after. Like so many other industrial concerns in the very early 1930s, their output was curtailed by the onset of what became known as the Great Depression. This simple shade was produced at that time. It is hard to find period, much less in the condition this fine seller is offering. Don't let this one get away! 

09/11 Update: This went for an unsustainable price of $355.

Fairman - Vintage Halloween Postcard

There must have been a connection between the printer of this postcard, Fairman Company of Cincinnati and New York, and Gibson of Cincinnati. The art on this postcard (and another similar card the same seller had up for sale) is oh-so-similar to a couple of shades shown on page 44. In doing cursory research I haven't unearthed a connection, but wouldn't be surprised there is one. 

04/14 Update: Thanks to the sleuthing of a regular reader, CR, who also loves to explore the nooks and crannies of connections between manufacturers of early Halloween, there does appear to be a firm connection between Gibson and Fairman. CR found a publication called Where to Sell Your Manuscripts by E.F. Barker copyrighted 1915. On page 46 is a listing of post card and novelty makers. Fairman is listed at 200 Fifth Avenue, NY. Gibson is also listed at that same address. Additionally, CR found another publication, Directory of Directors of the City of New York 1913-1914. Charles R. Gibson is listed as being president, treasurer and director of CR Gibson & Company; treasurer and director of Fairman & Company and treasurer and director of Gibson Art Company. 

1930s Vintage Paper Halloween Light Lamp Lantern Owl Unusual

I wish I had remembered to place a bid on this rare shade. It is quite nice - one that I've not seen before. Gibson wasn't diligent about marking their goods, so it is possible this shade was made by them. I haven't seen it in their catalogs I have on file, so cannot be sure. I do think the ending price was in the right neighborhood. 

Vintage Halloween Jack O' Lantern 4 Sided Cardboard Die Cut Lampshade & Oil Lamp

This shade doesn't come up for sale as often as it used to. This shade was made in Germany, probably for Beistle. There are three different shades all made about the same time during the late 1920s. The owl and cat shades are pretty dull in that all sides are identical. The artist seems to have spent the most time designing this shade as the JOL's expressions differ on each side. Guide value is $125, but one hasn't surfaced in some time, so who knows what this will bring. The oil lamp the seller is including is immaterial. 

Vintage German Halloween 6 Panel Lamp Shade witch owl cats bats JOL

This diecut shade was made in Germany sometime between 1930 and 1935. Its RSIN is 2, meaning "rare." The shade is dated to this late period due to the more cartoonish nature of the art and the use of color and shading in the backing paper. It seems to be in very collectible condition, missing only its top piece enabling it to be used for its intended purpose. 

03/30 Update: This sold for a shockingly low price of $149.99. 

Vintage Halloween Pumpkin Witch Black Cat Lamp Light Paper Shade

This is one Gibson shade that I haven't seen come available all that often. Made in the 1930s, this example seems to be in perfect, unused condition and fetched almost the precise sustainable guide value. As I write in the caption for this shade on page 41, "Can you imagine any mainstream manufacturer of holiday goods today incorporating a cigarette into their designs?" 

vintage large halloween decoration lamp shade cats witch bats moon jol beistle?

This is a rare shade, made in Germany during the 1930-1935 interval. I have never been able to find one in good enough condition to become part of the collection. If you want to see one in perfect condition with robust colors, turn to page 48 to feast your eyes on photos showing both sides from Jason Walcott's collection. Jason, do you want to sell yours? :) 

06/25 Update: This shade brought $255, quite a strong result given the fading. 


This is a shade made by the Gibson Art Company of Cincinnati, Ohio in 1929. It isn't complete. It is missing its perforated black construction paper disk that would slip over the three hat points to provide the shade with needed structural support. This is a hard-to-find item that typically would fetch $150-175 if in perfect condition. 

German paper Halloween lantern

The clue in the listing that this isn't old is that the sellers states that it was purchased recently in Germany. The Germans only began celebrating Halloween in the last decade or so. From when they began making decorations for the US market and through about 1935, the Germans exported everything they made. They needed the money for their war reparations debt stemming from WWI. These unimpressive lanterns began showing up in the mid-1990s when they were imported by Blumchen's. There are no truly vintage counterparts, so these are known as fantasy pieces. They have zero vintage value.