trick-or-treating, pumpkin-carving, scary movies – how is all hallows’ eve best spent? upon vintage halloween postcards, car-driving pumpkins, flying witches and superstitiously black cats, conjure up a charmingly traditional picture whilst mapping a history of the october rituals.

‘halloween’, raphael tuck & sons ltd., 1908, image via toronto public library

 

 

today, many people believe that halloween, and all that it embodies, traces its history back to american immigration, victorian past times and ancient celtic harvest festivals. but much like halloween, these greeting cards gave way to morphing traditions, rivaling in popularity those used at christmas until around 1930, when the telephone was introduced into common households. now highly sought after collectables, the artworks are a reminder of the contemporary shape the holiday has taken over time and the visuals we still adopt today.

halloween card, 1913, via toronto public library

 

 

from the carving of pumpkins to familiar gangs of witches, cats and skeletons, iconography from today’s celebrations can be identified in each of these historical compositions. serving up tricks, treats, and puns in equal measure, the little masterpieces are a wonderful look back at an old halloween tradition, if not only appreciated for their art noveau-esque aesthetic.

‘halloween night’, samuel schmucker, 1913, image via toronto public library

‘halloween’, 1910, image via toronto public library


‘hallowe’en Greetings’, 1900, image via toronto public library/wikimedia


‘hallowe’en faces’, 1913, image via toronto public library


‘to greet you heartily this hallowe’en’, 1910, image via toronto public library


‘a happy hallowe’en’, alcan moss company, image via toronto public library


‘a thrilling hallowe’en’, 1910, image via missouri history museum/wikimedia


‘you auto have a happy hallowe’en’, 1908, image via missouri history museum/wikimedia


‘halloween greetings’, 1910 image via missouri history museum/wikimedia


‘hallowe’en’, 1910, image via missouri history museum/wikimedia

‘hallowe’en pleasures: bobbing, bobbing everywhere. / apples in a tub’, 1911 image via missouri history museum/wikimedia


‘a merry halloween’, 1910, image via missouri history museum/wikimedia

‘hallowe’en’, 1910 image via missouri history museum/wikimedia

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