It’s time for a very spooky subject. And no... not the forthcoming election, but Halloween! Today post features a brief history of Halloween and the popular antiques and collectibles the holiday has spawned.
Rooted in an Early Celtic Celebration marking the end of the harvest season, historians believe Our Halloween, the traditional American holiday, began to grip the Nation in the mid to late 19th Century. The Irish are credited with its popularization here nationally. You see, the potato famine, a period of mass starvation and disease in Ireland from approx. 1845 to 1849 brought large waves of the Irish to our wonderful melting pot. All were in search of the American dream. Or just work and food. Well, it seems they brought some of their Celtic traditions and a few Jack-O-Lanterns. And here's a fun fact. Originally jack-o-lanterns were carved from anything and everything. Turnips, Potatoes, Beets, and I even have seen a few Egg Plants! Take that pumpkin latte...
As the Irish assimilated into American Life, their heathen holiday holdover first re-materialized as the classic Halloween party. Complete with costumes, candy.... sweet, sweet candy, and games. Here is where one can really begin to see all things Halloween appearing in American pop culture. It was just around the turn of the 20th Century and the early "pagan" party version became a bit more homogenized or a kind of a Great Gatsby civilized. It wasn't cool to be seen sacrificing goats anymore, and remember, America was busy industrializing. And as we emerged from the Victorian Era, which was a pretty darned uptight period, I am sure to many this holiday was seen as quite scandalous. Plus, it was brought here by the Irish, can you imagine. Probably the Kennedy's fault. Or the McClinton’s. Anyway, there is so much fascinating history here, I am just breezing over it all, cliff notes style, because I got to get to the goods.
So, you have these costume parties lasting for a few decades. Up and thru the roaring 20s. But then there was a great pause, for the most part. The great depression, followed by the 2nd World War, had an impact on most festive activities, as one can imagine. But it all came back with a vengeance in the 1950s. Mad Men Style. This is the period, were most of America now adopted the Norman Rockwell'esque trick-o-treating that we know and love. Parties, dress up and door to door free candy. So, we I guess we have the 50s to thank for those little costumed communist terrorists looking for a free hand out. Not in my neighborhood. You want the Big Snickers Bar. You are lucky you got the minis. Just kidding. I got to calm down. Must be the sugar rush. Anyway, as you know, these traditions have since raged on. Or raved...there have been raves. Okay not this year. Maybe next? Though there are most likely some Zoom Raves here in 2020, not that I would be invited. I have glow stick toxicity.
Okay, focus...Today, Halloween is a monster economy stimulator. Its reported to be a 9 billion dollar a year industry. Capitalism always knows how to fill your wants and needs...and you need Candy, right! And I know this leaves you all wondering, just how does over a century of a love for all things Halloween influence the secondary market...or your basic antique, collect