New Halloween Items
Every Halloween brings more reproductions of vintage pieces. Some of the more inventive pieces include cardboard wall pockets and hand-knitted treat bags. Modern designers are also turning to different vintage sources for their designs. The pumpkin and goat figure in Fig. 2, for example, was copied from an image originally printed on an early postcard. The printed image was copied to produce this three-dimensional figure.
Another new trend is to make the more intricate pieces from a plaster-like material. Although advertised and described as "paper mache," the new material is brittle and hard. Its weight and feel resemble ceramic pieces rather than the softer and lighter feel of true paper mache.
Some of the jack-o'-lanterns, like the one in Fig. 1, are also appearing painted black inside. One of the ways to detect the new better quality paper mache jack-o'-lanterns reproductions was to test the inside with black light. Almost all the new ones fluoresced brightly due to the new paper. Painting the inside black hides the paper and defeats the black light test.
Some unusual pieces are shown in Figs. 1 through 16.
Fig. 1 New 8-inch paper mache jack-o'-lantern, pumpkin man holding black cat. Scuffed and distressed surface imitates wear.
Fig. 2 New 6-inch by 8-inch pumpkin boy on goat, copied from a vintage postcard. A lightweight plaster casting with a thick top coat finished to imitate paper mâché.
Fig. 3 Detail of Fig. 2. Note the new crackled finish. This crackled surface rarely appears on vintage paper mache.
Fig. 4 Detail of cat's head in Fig. 5. Note dull "wear" spots on raised areas.
Fig. 5 New 12-inch double-sided hanging crescent moon and black cat. Hollow body cast in hard plaster-like material but finished to resemble paper mache.
Fig. 6 New 13-inch double-sided hanging crescent moon and witch. Made of the same material described in Fig. 4.
Fig. 7 Detail view of the thick crackled surface coating on Figs. 2, 5 and 6. This crackled surface is rarely if ever found on vintage paper mache.
Fig. 8 The one new piece that is actually paper mache, Fig. 1, also has the thick heavy crackled finish. This crackled surface is a warning sign found on many new Halloween items.
Figs. 9-11 Cone-shaped cardboard 6-inch hanging vase. Metal band around the top rim is embossed with cats and pumpkins. Printed pumpkins around sides. About 10 inches including wire hanging loop.
Figs. 12-13 Cardboard wall pocket, 6 inches by 8 inches, printed with pumpkins. Embossed metal pumpkin with conical hat attached with twine. About 14 inches including metal hanging loop.
Figs. 14-16 These new folk art-styled pieces are 5-inch treat bags. They are made of hooked, knitted and stitched designs backed with felt. Wire handles; back shown in Fig. 15.