What are Halloween Cards?

By Joyce Chepkemoi on January 4 2018 in Society

Pumpkins were commonly used on halloween cards.
Pumpkins were commonly used on halloween cards.

Halloween cards are the unique greeting cards exchanged during the Halloween holiday. The idea of sending Halloween cards originated from the United States in the 1890s, and they became even more popular during the early 1900s. Before the introduction of home telephones, Halloween cards played the same role as birthday and Christmas cards. In Germany, England and the United States, printing companies printed early Halloween cards between the 1890s and 1920s.

The History of Halloween Cards

Early Halloween cards used the same theme as Christmas and Easter cards since printers used similar images with a caption showing the specific festival. The United States experienced a unique Halloween postcard trend from 1900 to 1915, and this helped popularize the Halloween holiday. The Souvenir postcard company in New York printed the first Halloween themed cards in 1909. The company produced twelve card designs. These cards did not become popular until 1930 when home telephones were introduced, and people reduced the usage of greeting cards and started calling each other. Halloween cards were initially sold by numerous private printers who displayed them in their shops and the post offices. During this era, over 3,000 cards were printed in the United States, and many of them depicted unique themes which related to the Halloween traditions which included goblins, pumpkins, and witches.

Halloween Card Designs

Raphael Tuck and Sons and Winsch printed early Halloween cards. The two companies hired talented artists whose work was on collectibles which were sought by collectors. Among the artist employed by Raphael Tuck were Ellen Clapsaddle, Francis Brundage and the artists who created the Queen of postcard design. Winsch designs by Jason Freixas and Samuel Schmucker are highly valued.

Some of the most commonly used themes during this period included witches, goblins, fortune-telling, romance, and pumpkins. The designs created by the Rust-craft greeting cards firm from 1927 to 1959 reflected the racism which existed during that era. The most famous work by Wendy Morris, which appeared on over 42% of the Halloween cards printed during that period, was of an African American child.

As the holiday evolved over the last century, more themes developed themselves into the card design, decorations, and even costumes. Children began to wear masks to scare away all the evil ghost spirits which were believed to be roaming the streets on this night. Soon after, the trick-or-treating idea became customary, and children started going door-to-door collecting candies. Even some card printing companies added the phrase ‘’trick-or-treat’’ on the cards.

Halloween Cards Today

Today the earlier Halloween cards are considered classic and loved by many collectors. Some of the modern cards with the same themes are also popular. Currently, a majority of the cards portray a fall scene which shows the comparison between the holiday today and its roots. The act of surprising your friends and family members with a Halloween card has grown in popularity over the years among both children and adults with the United States exchanging over 30 million, which makes the holiday the 8th biggest card-sending event in the world.

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