Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Today's Halloween Pails in Comparison

You've probably noticed, these posts come with a heavy does of nostalgia; my own.  Having grown up in the '70's and early '80's, I sometimes feel like I closed out the years when being a kid was magical, particularly around Halloween. It was a time when parents let their children run out alone into the night, enter strangers' homes, eat their homemade treats, and explore unknown paths -- as long as they were home by the time the moon was overhead in the sky.  My memories of Halloween have followed me throughout the years. And it all started with this.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Reader's Digest Condensed - October 1975 - A Special Treat

I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, "He's already done a Reader's Digest Condensed this month".  Or maybe not. At any rate, this is indeed the second "Reader's Digest Condensed" this month, but it's here for a reason -- and a treat just for you.  But, you'll have to wade through ads first. Unless you want to cheat and just scroll on down to the bottom.

Monday, October 29, 2018

ESPecially Yours

I'm a sucker for paranormal shows. Ghosts, UFO's, Bigfoot, Chupacabras, you name it, I'm in, especially this time of year.  I'm sure it dates back to my childhood spent watching Leonard Nimoy's "In Search Of...", Jack Palance's "Believe It or Not!" and Robert Stack's "Unsolved Mysteries". Back then, I fell for everything hook, line and Gellar. I like to believe I'm a little more skeptical these days, but reality aside, it's just fun to believe something undiscovered still exists.

Gordon Hoener did too. So much so that he started St. Louis' first "Ghost Busters" group "Haunt Hunters" in 1965.  This brochure I found oddly blends his two passions: Investments and the paranormal; in this case ESP. 

Sunday, October 28, 2018

A Happy Time of Year

This book from 1958 doesn't tell us anything we didn't already know.  Halloween is a happy time of year.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Mr. Blinky

I found this Mr. Blinky glow lamp a few years ago. I don't believe I've posted on it before, but if I have, here's a refresher.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Movie Monster Memories

In the Second Grade, I stole a book.  Yes, my life of crime has been well documented.  I stole it from the classroom library.  I was the only person that ever checked it out and I couldn't find it anywhere else. At least, so I justified. So around the last day of school, I just swiped it.  I'm not proud of it.  But as karma will be, a few years later, another kid stole it from me. And I've been looking for it ever since.

So I was ecstatic when I found this beat up copy at a garage sale over the summer.

Thursday, October 25, 2018


I found these Rosbro candy containers on the back shelf in the basement of an estate sale.  They must have been hidden well, because no one had grabbed them earlier in the day.  Always dig, people!

Pete the Clown

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Ripley's True Ghost Stories

It's time once to again to expose explore a Ripley's Believe It or Not! comic book. Like last year, I'll discuss the validity of each story and link it to actual legends or events. Unlike last year's, this issue contains no ads. Sorry kids.

This 1966 issue has a cover featuring one of Ripley's most famous characters, Liu Ch'ung (despite not appearing anywhere in the book itself).

Tuesday, October 23, 2018


One stormy night, long ago, six people, dressed in masquerade costumes were coming home from a party. They took shelter in an old house and haven't been heard from since. Unfortunately, their ghosts are still haunting the place! Once upon a moonlight night Alfred Hitchcock saw the six Ghosts, still in costume, and some Weapons that probably were used to eliminate them.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Mystic Weather Forecaster

I found this "Mystic Weather Forecaster" in the basement of an estate sale recently, passed over by everyone else.  I thought it was cute and kitschy.  The pink screams 1950's, but it could be later.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Amscan Spider Honeycomb Die Cut

This honeycomb spider die cut is made by Amscan and is probably dates from the 1970's to '80's, given its "Made in Taiwan" marking.

Amscan's corporate site hasn't been updated much in the way of history since the last time I wrote about it, however, I found additional information on the company and its founder from other sites.

Despite the corporate site's "About Us" stating "Our founders were American and Scandinavian…hence AMSCAN", the only founder I was able to identify was Elvera Svenningsen who started the business with $1,000 out of the family garage.  Elvera was married to Anders Svenningsen, clearly a Scandinavian name. Maybe Elvera was "American", although no mention is made of Anders playing a role in the company.  Elvera was an importer of honeycomb party decorations and "expendable turkeys"; I'm assuming the paper kind.

Amscan was eventually taken over by Elvera's son John who operated it until his passing in 1996.  John's children were not interested in the company, so it was taken over by employees who took the company public.  It has since expanded and even purchased Party City in 2005, the company that was once it's biggest customer.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Disco, Disco Die Cut

I found these well-worn die cuts in the basement of an estate sale marked at 50 cents each.  

Friday, October 19, 2018

Halloween Straw Toppers

These 3 hollow plastic decorations had me scratching my head when I first found them.  I couldn't think of what they would be from. Posting them to a Halloween collector Facebook group I belong two identified them as "straw toppers".  These would have been the top of straws full of bead-like candy and given out as treats at Halloween.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Peck Skeleton Die Cut

It was hard finding an example of this flocked skeleton die cut by Peck.  The only way I was able to identify it as Peck was by the head which was available as a separate die cut.  I believe it dates from the 1980's, so I wouldn't expect it to be very scarce.

I found it at a garage sale for $1 which goes to show there's still some great stuff out there.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

The Sketch Book

Knowing I'm the fan of Halloween that I am, it should come as no surprise I'm also a fan of Washington Irving's "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow".  Growing up, I only knew the story through the Disney short (which is still a favorite of mine) and the various television adaptions such as the 1980 version starring Jeff Goldblum.  It wasn't until I was an adult that I read the actual story.  This recent-years collection features the headless horseman on its cover.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Scaring Up Some Sales

You may recall the debut of the grocery sale templates on this site last month. Or you may not. Either way, you're getting some more of them.  This time, it's Halloween-themed ads, of course.

First up, these "Monster Sale!" ads from October of 1968 feature some pretty neat art.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Witch Head Candy Container

I'm churning out these posts this month, so please forgive the unimaginative titles I've given them.  This is indeed a Witch Head Candy Container. I bought it in a bag lot of newer decorations, but I think this one is older. It measures 3" tall and has googly eyes.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Inkybod Pen

Avon may have been stretching a tie-in with this Inkybod of Spooky Hollow pen from the 1980's.

I would have thought "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" would have been in the public domain by now, but maybe Disney owns the rights. In any case, we all know "Spooky Hollow" is just a substitute for "Sleepy Hollow" and "Inkybod" is just a play on "Ichabod" of the Crane family. But why a tree? I guess because it was the most pen-friendly shape that could be used from the story?

"Every Hallow's Eve at the stroke of midnight, Inkybod lets out a shrill cry so loud he actually turns purple! No one knows why he does this..."  Possibly because he knows he'll be sealed in that suffocating bag the rest of his days which is the real reason he's turning purple.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Halloween Ads

These ads are the remainders from going through various October issues of vintage 1960's magazines such as Good Housekeeping, Ladies Home Journal, and Better Homes and Gardens.  As a bonus, I'm including "Halloween Party Shari Lewis Style".  You're welcome.

Friday, October 12, 2018

On the Twelfth Day of Halloween

Warning: This is a long one today. You might want to spread it out over several days or even the remainder of the month.  Or binge watch like the kids do.

Peanuts has always been a staple of my Halloween memories. I can't remember not knowing about Linus and his fascination with Halloween and its patron saint. First introduced in October of 1959, "The Great Pumpkin" is revealed through Linus' imagination and his firm beliefs in spite of all naysayers.

In this strip two days later, we find Linus dreaming at the window when he conceives an idea to spread Halloween spirit.

This book of "Pumpkin Carols" was published by Ambassador in 1968 and features familiar tunes set to new words to reflect the season.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Witch Blow Mold

I was surprised to find this witch blow mold at an estate sale this past summer. It was later in the day and only priced at $1.  Normally, Halloween items are snatched up in the first wave of estate sale pickers.

Based on the UPC sticker on the bottom, it's not that old, but still a nice addition to my blow mold collection, even if it does have an incredibly short cord.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Reader's Digest Condensed - October 1972

Welcome to one of my more sporadic features - Reader's Digest Condensed, or as I call it "Just the Ads".  Today's issue is the October 1972 edition.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Halloween Stamp of Approval

Much like beer can collecting, stamp collecting was once a thing in that great decade known as "the 1970's".  I was never a collector, but I felt compelled to pick up this album when I came across it this past year.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Marvel(ous) Treats Trading Cards

I found these Halloween trading cards, based on popular (as of 1991) Marvel Comics characters, some years back.  I forgot I had them until I started going through some old boxes recently. These were intended to be handed out in lieu of sweets.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Take Your Pick

Rounding (or pointing) out my cake decoration finds of the past year is this set of Halloween Cupcake picks.  I remember these being used in the cupcakes from grade school Halloween parties.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

K.T. Cat

Found with the witch scooter cake topper from yesterday was this cat and crescent moon cake topper.

This one is also marked "Hong Kong" and "K.T. No. 812".  So far, I've been unable to identify what company used the initials "K.T." There is a K.T. Plastics company, but it was formed in 1989 which would be at least a decade too late for this piece.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Witch Scootin' Boogie

So what does a witch do if her broom breaks down?  She jumps on her scooter.
This flat cake topper decoration is made in Hong Kong and probably dates from the 1970's to early '80's.  Manufacturer is unknown.  She doesn't appear in my Wilton catalog.

Today's post was a little short, so why don't you scoot on over to the Countdown to Halloween and park yourself there for a while.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Are You Yankin' My Chain?

This child's light-up Jack O' Lantern pin features a peeking mouse wearing a witch's hat (or perhaps the mouse is in fact a witch) and lights up with a pull of the attached cord.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Take Off to the Great Black & Orange North

Call me dumb, but I didn't know Canadians celebrated Halloween. Hey, you didn't have to call me dumb that quick. It's just that it seems Halloween isn't as widely (or as wildly) celebrated outside the U.S.

When I found this arch-backed black cat emblazoned with the Canadian Maple Leaf (not to mention the word "Canada" for those symbolically challenged), I wondered why our neighbors to the North would create what appears to be a tourist item using such a traditional American Halloween icon.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

American Greetings Witch Die Cut

This past year's sales have produced a few new additions to my die cut collection including this witch from the 1980's by American Greetings below. 

For the most part, the 1980's produced a lot of wide-eyed black kittens, sugary pumpkins and friendly ghost die cuts from Beistle, Peck and others.  This die cut provides a little more scare than those and while it lacks the embossing of older die cuts, it does come with some good detail.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Halloween 5: The Baggening

Welcome to Year 5 of my participation in the Countdown to Halloween. And let me be honest: I really questioned whether I would participate this year.

If you have kept up with this blog, I'm sure you've noted a dwindling of the number of posts this year. Only 15 so far this year compared to 87 by this same time in 2017. Aside from me losing that bloggin' feelin', there were medical issues in my family and general life dumps that just squashed the fun out of blogging. Not to mention, garage saling just ain't what it used to be. The treasures are few and far between these days. But enough about me, let's get to the first bag of the season.

While not terribly old, these grocery bags hearken back to the days before "paper or plastic" was an option.

"Dieberg's" is a local grocery store chain here in St. Louis.
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