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.

This was my first and only Trick or Treat pail.  It was there for my first Trick or Treat and the disappointment of Ben Cooper's Spider-man costume.  It was there the year my mother dressed me as a girl. It was there the year of the bloody-nosed tramp.  It was there the year of my first real rubber mask (at $10, it was quite the investment). It was there the year I used that same mask again on a balloon and a coat pulled up over my head for the headless man look (hey, I had to get my money's worth out of that mask). And it was still there for my last Trick or Treat in 6th grade when I thought I'd turned too old.  My pail was small (I was never a pillow case Trick or Treater), but my route wasn't big. It held my Fun-sized Milky Way and 3 Musketeers bars.  It held my Wowe-e Whistle. It held my Wacky Packages. It held the apple my unprepared neighbor dug out of his refrigerator crisper. It must have even held the already-then 10-year-old Phantom comic book handed out by the neighbors down the street; I always wondered where that came from. I hung onto my pail that first Halloween when the overzealous "Frankenstein" choked me at his family's haunted house display.  I carried it over long driveways, deserted stretches of road and hours of walking. Being a rural area, my pumpkin pail never had to be that big.

It's spent almost 50 Halloweens with me now and its age shows, but so do I.  In this case, it was the years, not the mileage.

I've found lots of Halloween pails over the years. I can't pass them up. They're never priced more than 50 cents.  They come in all sizes and styles. The value of these runs up and down the board, particularly this time of year, with the basic Jack O' Lantern style fetching between $10 and $20 and other more exotic styles and brands fetching over $100.  Here are some I've picked up over the years.

General Foam 8" 1980.
Bayshore 8" 1972
5" Tico Toys 1960's

An alternate paint schemes of the above:

These smaller pails were originally candy holders (well, aren't they all), but these were meant to be given as gifts. A couple of mine still have the tag from a local defunct, but well-remembered confectionery named "Mavrakos". They had great mint patties.

4" Bayshore 1960's

3 1/2" Unknown

9 1/2" Giant Winking Pumpkin Bayshore 1960's

This one is actually a lamp. I haven't been able to find a manufacturer.

6" Pumpkin Bayshore 1960's

8" Pumpkin Bayshore 1960's

3" Unknown.  

6” Little Jack Pumpkin Pail General Foam

Empire 1980

Here are a couple pages from a vintage Bayshore sales catalog that shows some of these pails.

These pails aren't mine (sadly), but I thought I'd show some of the variety that was out there at the time.

These 4 from Topstone break the mold for standard Jack O' Lantern pails.

General Foam 1980's

Empire 1970's 

I love this one's pumpkin-seed tear.

The reverse side of "Trick", of course

 Left General Foam? Right Bayshore 1970's

These pails shows what happens when this orange blown plastic is left in the sun too long. The color bleaches out of them.

Other side of above right. Bayshore 1970's

General Foam 1970's

Despite being able to identify all of the above pails, I still haven't been able to identify the manufacturer of mine.  It bears a resemblance to General Foam pail that follows it above, but the mouth is slightly wider with a narrower grin.  I'm sure I bought it at Ben Franklin, perhaps the same day I bought the Ben Cooper Spider-man costume.

These pumpkin pails are still available today, though most of the old manufacturers have closed their doors including General Foam in 2017.  Today's pails come in a variety of characters and colors, but lack the charm of the originals.

Thanks to for the resource for dating and identifying these (and for a few images).

Now that you've been educated in blow molded pumpkin pails, grab yours and get out there Trick and/or Treating!

Thanks for joining me this season and don't forget to stop by and get some final treats from The Countdown to Halloween.

Happy Halloween!!!!


  1. You have a great collection. I have a few myself, mostly a few empires. I'm always on the lookout for a the vintage but hard to find. Happy Halloween!!!

    1. Hit the garage sales and estate sales. I see them fairly often. Look for the ones with the thicker riveted handles as opposed to the thin handles with plastic tabs holding in the holes.

  2. i love that you have your original pail -- it's an official family heirloom!

    i just checked to see what the two we have are -- they are American Made, and definitely new-ish. these would be a fun thing to collect, but where do you STORE them? they must take up a lot of space!

    1. And I only showed one of each style. I have numerous duplicates. I keep them in 2 huge tabs in our attic, but yes, I need to thin the collection. Maybe next year...

  3. Great post! Great collection, but the first will always be the best.

    Hope you have a 🎃 Happy Hallowe'en 👻 Thanks for helping to make this one fun!

    1. Thanks, Joe, you have a Happy Halloween too! Glad to have made it more festive for you.

  4. It didn't occur to me until I saw the pic of the General Foam 1980s one that we had those or ones similar. When I was trick-or-treating age my dad attached three of them to a wood frame with light bulbs in them, and on Halloween night he would open up the garage door and set up the frame and the lights and sit out on the driveway to give out candy. I remember seeing that setup tucked away in the garage long after we'd stopped giving out candy, but alas it eventually was tossed either before or during the big move out of my childhood home years ago.

    It's awesome that you've hung on to your original. I was really sensing the nostalgia when reading this post. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Too bad your dad's lights were thrown away. That would be a great thing to get out every year. Thanks for the comments, Brother Herbert.

  5. Hi Tom, love the collection! Do you know what brand your childhood candy pail is? It doesn’t look like the 1980 general foam you have listed below. I believe I have the same candy bucket as your childhood one but cannot find another one like it. Any info is appreciated, thx!

    1. My childhood pail dates from 1973. I still haven't confirmed the manufacturer. If I find out, I'll let you know. Thanks for stopping by!

  6. Hello loved the walk down memory lane....I still have my first bayshore pumpkin on black cat and my pail.....Just the other day while peruzing ebay I came across a wonderful 3 and a half inch lantern hard plastic bayshore I won the bid the owner said thanks for buying a piece of my childhood...all three sisters recieved one 1960 she was a cow girl her first halloween and her oldest sister held on to all 3 of them and I now own 2 of them so far and have new bulbs and shine on you! I love my collection

    1. Great to hear, Bryan! That Bayshore Pumpkin on Black Cat is my favorite Halloween blow mold. Thanks for stopping by!


    My first. Looks like your 6" Bayshore. The plastic broke long ago. I have a larger one from the 70's as well. I used to keep my rubber balls in this guy! Ones I've had since I was a kid too!

    1. Thanks for sharing, Unknown, and sharing your pail.


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