Halloween Collectibles

There is something about items from a bygone time that invoke feelings of nostalgia, whimsy, and a connection to those who came before.

Some people collect things that remind them of their childhood. Some collect items that catch their eye or represent something they love (like Halloween), while others feel a deep connection to certain time periods and they collect items from that era.

I love shopping for antiques, vintage and retro items. I love the connection to the past and revel at the history. It is awe inspiring to see how some things survived. I like to imagine who used to own and love the simple treasures.

The popularity of Halloween collectibles is growing. The colorful, whimsical, and sometimes frightening decorations make great display items.

Halloween decorations and collectibles are rarer than Christmas collectibles. Christmas items were usually packed away every year to be used again while Halloween items were often used once for parties then tossed in the trash.

Before purchasing any collectibles do your research. Today’s Halloween market is flooded with reproductions as nostalgia takes hold and people want décor that reminds them of Halloweens gone by.

You can learn how to date Halloween collectibles by studying imagery used during certain times periods and becoming familiar with maker marks, logos, and date stamps.

Americans began decorating for Halloween with pieces made in Germany until the German imports stopped during World War I.

Postcards from the Victorian and Late Art Nouveau eras showcased rosy cheeked children bobbing for apples and pretty young women using fortune telling and superstition to determine who they were going to marry.

The Art Deco era showcased flapper-style décor featuring elves and fairies from European Folklore.

1900-1918 was a very popular time period for postcards with 1910 being recognized as the height of the era. Millions of postcards were produced every year making them one of the easiest collectibles as many still exist today. Some of the rarest cards can be quite expensive but you can create a low cost collection of Halloween postcards if you don’t mind ones that were actually used, mailed, and show a little age.

You can see some of the most beautiful examples of Halloween postcard art in the book Halloween Romantic Art and Customs of Yesteryear by Diane C Arkins. The book is also filled with vintage party games and customs from the early twentieth century.

In the 30’s and 40’s American artists created an American style of Halloween decorating characterized by America’s love of movies and comic books.

The "Golden Years" of Halloween production are considered to be 1920-1949.

In the late 40’s and into the 50’s plastics became more popular. Items were being made of paper, metal and bisque less and less as plastic was cheaper and easier to produce.

The Golden Age of plastics, the Hard Plastic Era, began after World War II and ended in the early 1960’s when hard plastic gave way to vinyl.

Hard plastics were thought to be longer lasting than metal, but they aren’t and that’s why the older pieces are so highly collectible today. Halloween plastics from the Art Deco era are the most valuable plastic Halloween collectibles. Look for items made by these companies: Renwal, Knickerbocker, Ideal, Plasco, E. Rosen/Rosbro Plastics, Acme, Irwin Plastics, Tico Toys Inc., and Marx.

If you are considering collecting Halloween plastics a great reference guide is Halloween Favorites in Plastic by Charlene Pinkerton.

If you are considering collecting early Halloween ephemera made by the Beistle Company the book you want is Timeless Halloween Collectibles 1920-1949 by Claire M. Lavin.

Beistle is an American company that has been in business since 1900. They started making Halloween paper party goods and decorations in 1917. Lately they’ve been digging into their archives and pulling out some designs from the past to create gorgeous new Halloween decorations with vintage flair. The only problem with that is newbie collectors can mistake new reproductions for vintage pieces. Always do your research before investing. A true collectible piece can go for hundreds of dollars while a new reproduction piece retails for less than $10.

Another American company that produced Halloween products was the Dennison Paper Company. In addition to paper products and party decorations they issued a yearly Bogie Book which featured their decorations, tips for decorating, party ideas, costumes, recipes, and Halloween stories. The first Bogie Book came out in 1909 but officially began in 1912 as an annual publication. In 1927 the Bogie Book became Party Magazine.

Types of Collectibles


Paper Goods- Treat Bags, Tally Cards, Invitations, Etc.

Party Supplies- Napkins, Plates, Cups, Tableclothes


Lanterns, Lamp Shades, and Transparencies

Party Pennant Banners and Other Party Decorations



Plastic Blow Molds



Candy Containers

Bobble Heads, Nodders


Fortune Telling Games and Accessories

Folk Art


Books, Magazines, and Catalogs

Tips for Collecting

Halloween collecting became popular in the early to mid-1990’s when magazines dedicated to holiday collecting emerged.

Valuing collectibles can be difficult. Prices fluctuate constantly as markets change. The main pricing components are based on rarity, whether or not it has all its original parts and pieces, and condition but what it really boils down to is how much someone is willing to pay for it.

If a collector is searching for something specific then they’ll pay more for it than someone who is just browsing or someone who already owns a similar piece.

Rare pieces are usually going to fetch more money because there are not very many pieces still in existence, but there still has to be a demand for that item. If no one is collecting it doesn’t matter how rare something is.

Good condition collectibles should have original parts and pieces. If a piece is in mint condition it will fetch more. Highest dollar often goes to NIB (new in box pieces) and NOS (new old stock) pieces that have never been used or displayed. New in box and new old stock are often found in storage, closed down stores, warehouses, or in private collections.

Flea markets, yard sales, garage sales, and resale shops are excellent places to search for Halloween collectibles and not pay a fortune for them. These types of sales are often full of things people just want to get rid of and they are not priced at collectible value. I can’t tell you how many antiques and collectibles I have found for pennies over the years.

Antique stores and antique/collectible shows price items at retail collectible value and then some but you can usually be assured that the item is real and worth what you pay.

Collecting Halloween items is a great hobby but don’t use it as an investment tool. Collect what you love, not what is popular or valuable. Purchase the items that you personally connect with.

The Halloween Collector is a great blog for those serious about collecting vintage Halloween items. Mark B. Ledenbach is the author of Vintage Halloween Collectibles and runs the site Halloween Collector. You can find loads of info on both his site and in the book. And if you have any doubts be sure to check out his page of fakes that he finds for sale  online http://halloweencollector.com/fakes-etc/

Books About Halloween Collectibles

Halloween Favorites in Plastic by Charlene Pinkerton


  1. Halloween collectibles always feel so daunting, but your thorough list is so helpful and informative! I also love all the outside resources you included for each specific type of collectible for those of us who may have a more specific preference.

  2. It can be daunting but I just collect for fun. So I choose what resonates with me. I don't worry about "value" just that I enjoy it. However I do pay attention to prices because I don't want to overpay. Mostly I buy at yard sales where things sell for cheap because people don't know they're selling "collectibles".