I’m really fortunate that I get to work on some pretty cool projects at my day job. One of my more recent projects included a Halloween themed mini recipe cookbook for Avocados From Mexico. While working on the layout for the interior pages of the booklet, I was struck by something the food stylist had incorporated in a photograph for ‘Bewitching Cheese Bites’…antique paper mache Jack-O-Lanterns!
These beautiful petite objects were made popular in America in the 1940’s and 1950’s. During the early 1940’s, sugar rationing was a big issue in the U.S. due to World War II and delayed the overall spread and popularity of trick-or-treating amongst children. Historians believe the mass popularity of trick-or-treating accumulated in the early 1950’s with cartoons such as Disney’s ‘Trick or Treat’ (1952) and Peanuts by Charles Schultz (1951).
Constructed out of egg crate molded pulp and finished with bright, festive Halloween colors, they came with a wire handle and a removable paper insert for the eyes and mouth. Due to their flammable construction, they were better used as party favors, containing nuts or candy, rather than for lanterns.
Whether these were accidentally broken or simply tossed in the trash after trick-or-treating, these funny faces are hard to come by. Average prices today range anywhere from $85 – $1,000.
This rare German paper mache jack-o-lantern sold for a cool $400 at auction:
And of course, as with any antique, the more folksy and funky the subject matter, the better!
Here’s a few lovelies that were featured in a photoshoot in Country Home:
Are you lucky enough to have one of these funky faces passed down to you from your family, like this gal:
No matter how funky or freaky your little jack-o-lantern may be, it’s all about how you display it:
If you are a collector of antique Halloween item or jack-o-lanterns…let me know!
Copyright 2012. The Savvy Seeker blog by Erin Hurley-Brown. All Rights Reserved.