Amidst my music work, my monster collecting and Hallowe'en prop/figure making, I don't often have time, money or space for 'new' collecting passions. But one of the aspects of Hallowe'en I've always loved is the vintage decoration (or toy or book or magazine or clothing, etc.).
I have been able to find little things over the years; mostly paper goods but sometimes I get lucky and find something quirky like I had growing up, such as this skull'n'crossbones cupcake topper I got from my friend HHWolfman last month:
Over the years I have also purchased books on the subject, notably Stuart Schneider's Halloween In America and Claire M. Lavin's Timeless Halloween Collectibles 1920 - 1949 (that's the era she covers, not her birth-death dates!).
But just recently I had the chance to snag a reference and price guide which really outshines the others while being a perfect companion to all of them:
Mark B. Ledenbach's Vintage Halloween Collectibles is an incredible treat. For the eyes, oh yes, but as a reference I think it's damn near unparalleled in the hobby.
256 pages, 1,1oo images covering over 1,600 unique vintage items from paper to plastic, Bakelight to Beistle, nutcups to cutouts... and of course, plenty of Skulls & Pumpkins!
Its layout is very easy to navigate, with color-coded borders denoting sections like Games, Candy Containers, Decorations, Noisemakers, etc.
Every page is full color, loaded with crisp, clear and very colorful images of the most beautiful (and some beautifully un-beautiful!) vintage Hallowe'en items you've ever seen, or for that matter, collected. A single page example:
It is invaluable now, as I embark upon a newfound need to find old All Hallowed's goodies.
So... where did I acquire such a fine tome?
Well you could get it at Amazon and so on, and pay some $28 plus shipping to get this book worth a dozen times that.
OR, you could do what I did, and go to Mark Ledenbach's marvelous website.
Mark is offering this book directly from his own store, signed, for (get this) $13.49!
I have no business (or even terribly personal!) connection with Mark; I asked his permission to post a review, so it's not like I've got anything riding on this.
I just want real Hallowe'en fanatics to know about this incredible book and this stupid-good price!
By the time I got mine (only took a few days from CA to MO) I'd dropped $15 and some change. Fifteen bucks. For THIS.
It's a bargain at triple the cover price. At $15 or $16, you'd be stupid not to.
And while you're there, do take a tour of the entire site. Mark's a respected voice in the vintage collectibles hobby (industry?!) for his books, his collection, his appearances on television and features in magazines. When Martha Stewart turns to you regarding decor, well... need I say more?