Friday, October 31, 2008


vintage halloween party decorations

It bothers me to hear that carved pumpkins or Jack o’ Lanterns are classified as vintage Halloween decorations. If you travel the streets of your town I challenge you to take a head count of how many artificial pumpkins with electrical lights inside versus real pumpkins. I have no doubt that the fake ones will greatly out number the ones picked up at the local discount store by at least two to one. And my favorites, twisted black and orange crepe paper and balloons, have disappeared from the scene altogether.

Modern parents are pressed for time and in the modern world of today; time is money. However, I find it sad to know that kids are missing out on the unique artistic experience that creating these vintage Halloween decorations entails. Remember the excitement of knowing that when mom picked you up at the school bus stop that the next stop would be the local farmer’s market where you would be allowed to choose what you believed to be the very best pumpkin in the whole wide world?

We considered ourselves to be so very grown up until we tried to pick up that giant pumpkin to take it home. The fear of dropping our prize was a wakeup call that we still needed assistance from time to time from the adults in our lives other than at the checkout counter.

If you were too cocky and insisted on carrying your purchase to the car and dropped it you were punished for your push for premature independence. Your porch was one of the few on the block that was dark and had no decorations whatsoever which shows another advantage to these vintage Halloween decorations. They helped to teach us a few of life’s lessons.

In those days, there were fewer overindulgent parents that might share the pain of their child’s loss and jump in to fix things and make it all better. Overcompensation due to budgetary constrictions was rare. We learned by experience that we had to be careful or pay the consequences. If you dropped the pumpkin, the best you could hope for would be to salvage the pumpkin seeds and the meat that would make a tasty pie. But, you can’t carve a broken gourd no matter how artistic and creative you might be.

This brings to mind other popular vintage Halloween decorations that were commonly seen: Homemade ghosts. These unearthly beings were nothing more than the white bed sheet that was drawn tightly over your basketball and hung from the ceiling of your porch. If you were lucky, the night was windy and the makeshift ghost would have the decency to float in the breeze. My mom let me borrow sheets from her linen closet with the promise no harm would come to them. No holes were cut out for the eyes, nose or the mouth. A piece of charcoal was used to carefully draw features while taking care not to snag the fabric. In fact, these vintage Halloween decorations worked fine as vintage Halloween costumes in a crisis.

All this might sound like a lot of work just to get a little bit of spooky atmosphere but it was fun. Is Martha Stewart the only one besides myself that gets the concept that these simple vintage Halloween decorations were so much more cool than manufactured plastic?

Return to Unique Baby Gifts Baskets, Kids Stuff and Party Ideas for more ideas for an old-fashioned Halloween.