Happy Halloween! We hope that you get lots of treats today and no tricks. Well, maybe a few…
Halloween is my favorite holiday, not just for the candy, but for the long and twisted road of tradition wending it’s way into the distant past, through history, pagan cultural artifacts and religious rites, harvest festivals and communal celebration as what we know now as Halloween is based on festivals such as Samhain traditionally marked the beginning of the increasing darkness that becomes a long winter.
So let’s get started with some vintage postcard finds! Anyone can imagine an iconic witch, as above, riding on her broomstick with her Familiars. And not that it’s not a beauty, but I tend to really love the more offbeat vintage postcards. Especially the ones where the narrative and the symbolism seems pretty obscure and stranger than normal. (All postcards in this roundup are clickable and will take you right to the sites where I found them too.)
For example, this fine bat adorning a pumpkin with a candle running horizontally and lit at both ends. The poem on the postcard shares a little folk magic.
If you light a candle at the ends / Twirl it that the air it rend / Should the right end stay lit / All will be gay./ If the left stay lit, the witches stay / If both stay lit, you will be it. / If both go out, you have routed them out.
Good to know! If such home magic was once more readily known, I’d bet this below scene with a pretty young witch would also be of use, with many a candle a-lit.
And while on the topic of witches, I loved these two below that sort of speak to a White Magic type of crafting more than Black Magic:
These two symmetrical, twin witches are wearing unusually light colors, and even their twin black cat familiars sport white collars. Look, all they are trying to do here is hook you up with the love of your life. So what if a little incantation is needed?
The same goes for the above lovely matchmaker. Her face radiates like the woman on Contadina tins, just happily cooking away with her white owls and black bat motifs. Perhaps the young miss below is one of their clients, hoping to find true love among the many pumpkin bachelors in her class.
But let’s move on to less beautiful witches, as they are much more fun. The below has something of a goblin mixed with a Cardinal going on, which is just fantastic.
Now clearly we have meandered over to Pumpkinheadville. In the below postcard, I am sure that Asian robed lady once was beautiful, but in this scene? She scares the hell out of me. And that is what All Hallows Eve is all about!
A little flight into the surreal, with a false reflection of a giant owl? Or is the creepily white sheeted man a terrifying reflection of the owl? We may never know.
‘O! Charming little punks:
Now I present, two examples of a sub genre I love, where the Devil is being totally awesome at parties. Here he helps himself to carefully laid bounty of goodies with his (fruit? Veggie?) buddies:
And best, here he is planning the menu! With living anthropomorphized fruits, wine and a lamp looking on, and completely stoked.
Supernatural Mischief Chefs!
I’m also a big fan of the more spooky / supernatural themed postcards as well. Lots of Victorian “mirror gazing” and other small spells play out in scenes where the participants are hoping to peer into the future and see their One True Love to come. This one is especially beautiful with the young, fairly innocent looking girl’s shadow casting against the wall as a dark witch and her one-day partner in crime appearing only in the mirror. Truly classic horror movie stuff.
Nope, not scary or spooky at all.
This one is just gorgeous. How many times have I stayed up too late reading a scary book only to be regret it at the slightest sights sounds? Many, many.
Honestly? I just have no clue what is happening here. And that is awesome.