For inspiring Halloween decorations, look no further than the past! The accessories used to adorn houses in the 1940s and 50s didn’t have the grizzle and gore that are de rigeur these days. They did, however, have their own creepy charm and character. The childlike quality to them does give a really spine-chilling element – like antique dolls. You can buy reproduction decorations or splash out on actual antique ones.
‘All Hallows Day’ or ‘All Saints Day’ is celebrated worldwide on 31st October and carries many different traditions with it. It mixes secular and pagan rituals and customs. Here we look at the most recognisable Halloween decorations as they were in ‘ye olden days’.
In America and the UK, black and orange streamers would adorn the porches of any self-respecting neighbourhood house to invite trick or treaters to the door. These pretty and inexpensive trimmings have been around for yonks, as our picture, from 1924 shows!
An old dolls house could be easily converted into a spooky haunted house (ask your sister first!). The dark gables, the rotting roof tiles and the requisite witch silhouette to make it even scarier. You could make one from scratch with Papier-mâché?
Paper Wall Decorations
An immediate lift to any parts of the house that need the spook factor, old card decorations can simply be stuck on the wall. You can make your own at home by using card and templates from the internet.
Jack o Lantern
Jack o Lanterns weren’t quite as scary in the 1950s, in so much as they didn’t have evil eyes or sharp teeth, but there’s something quite demonic about their piercing eyes and leery smile that will frighten trick or treaters nonetheless. This example comes from Germany.
Making noise on Halloween is a very old tradition. The custom has its roots in Celtic history. The idea being that the ghouls that roamed the world that night wouldn’t take up residence in your house – also the reason that fires were extinguished in homes for the night. German toy exporters took these shaker toys to America as early as 1900.
These skull and bones drink stirrers would be the talking point of any Halloween party. The tagline on the logo for these is particularly grizzly, “Name your poison”!
This metal scene is perfect for the mantelpiece or by the fire (which you shouldn’t really have going anyway as it’s Halloween). Fireproof, they can be used near Jack o Lanterns without fear of being a fire hazard!
The poor old scarecrow, not only does he have to stand in a field come rain or shine, he is then vilified as a scary character at Halloween. Oh well, here is a lovely, though slightly creepy, scarecrow decoration from yesteryear.
Friend of vampires and witches alike, the humble little bat is a must-have on Halloween. Whether hanging from the ceiling or streamed across walls, these cute little bats have a sinister side too.
Black Cat Lanterns
An alternative to the pumpkin, these black cat heads are (presumably and rather squeamishly) scooped out to hold a candle inside. Lucky they’re not real…
This vintage witch looks eerily like the witch from Disney’s 1937 animation ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarves’. Which is enough to scare any small child!
Halloween gives you a great excuse to adorn the house with the biggest ornithological design trend right now – Owls!
Author: This article was written by Alfie Davenport, who works for British Antique Replicas.
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