Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Beware! The Gatekeeper

Vintage Halloween collectible card by Hallmark 1920s features Jack O'Lantern trick or treater with smoking cat lantern

Has this scarecrow figure, like Hawthorne's Feathertop, been animated from the spell of some distant witch, to drop by your home for an innocent house call? How would you like to see this arriving at your gate on Halloween night for trick or treat? 

Early century Hallmark doesn't get much attention in the vintage Halloween category, but here's one invitation card that oozes elements of sweet and sinister rivaling some of the best in weirdness from Beistle, Gibson, or Dennison. First we've got branch-like arms, gnarled and twisted (with one hand reaching for the gate) on a body topped with the classic pumpkin-head. In the other hand is a black cat Halloween lantern (like an incense burner) that leers as pink smoke drifts upward into a purple sky. (And it's those weird color choices that help make this so alarmingly distinct in the usual vintage Halloween oeuvre of orange and black).   

This invitation has an early Hallmark insignia that dates it around the late 1920s; (you can see more about Hallmark brand identification on this website). It makes you wonder what other marvels might be out there. Have you seen forgotten Halloween items by Hallmark deserving of attention? 

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