The late 1800s marked the beginning of the “golden era” of postcards, which were the text messaging or social media of the day—people sent these greetings for any reason, particularly holidays. This trend lasted until around 1918.
Turn-of-the-century Halloween postcards were sometimes frightening, sometimes weird, sometimes cute. Some had fat jack o’ lanterns topped with equally adorable chubby-cheeked children. Others had evil witches. Black cats show up often and were sometimes cuddly, sometimes scary.
The Edwardian romanticism is obvious on these cards. Many almost seem like a combo of Valentine’s Day and Halloween with the professions of love, etc.
One particularly popular superstition for romantic Halloween cards shows a young woman looking into a mirror at the stroke of midnight to see the face of her true love, using the light of a jack o’ lantern.
Some cards might be instructional, saying things like, “On Halloween, take the seeds from a Pumpkin, place them in front of the sofa in the form of a cross – then the Witches won’t bother you.” Or, “On Halloween, Goblins have been known to fly away with Fair Maidens. Therefore ’tis best to have some one hold you and tightly, too, — because Goblins are strong.”
These cards are so much fun to collect but they are relatively rare. We do sometimes get them in the Midtown Mercantile Mall at 4443 E. Speedway in Tucson, AZ. Come on in to the mall. It’ll be fun to hunt down some of these charming postcards!
Carol Fenn 10-2017