Halloween Postcards

 
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Gate stealing was probably the most popular rural Halloween prank. Someone has even annotated this card with names above the two boys. Dated 1911. Another card that illustrates why Halloween was sometimes called "Gate Night".
This prankster's gotten himself a Keystone cop! Dated 1928. One of the few cards to use a turnip instead of an American pumpkin for a jack-o'-lantern.
This card celebrates the innocent side of Halloween pranks, before they led to widespread destruction during the Depression.. Here's a popular Halloween figure - a pixie - performing a divination involving hair. This eerie card is unusual for being a retouched photograph. Dated 1911.
Traditionally a questioner using this candle fortune-telling method was blindfolded - the number of candles blown out will indicate how many months or years until marriage. Halloween goblins on the loose!
Clapsaddle paints a Halloween candle and suggests its use in fortune-telling by painting faces in the smoke. Here's a Clapsaddle card illustrating the popularity of nuts in Halloween fortune-telling. A Clapsaddle classic. Dated 1911.
Bernhardt Wall was another popular Halloween postcard artist. Dated 1909. Another whimsical Bernhardt Wall card - was this intended to be a warning to pranksters? Dated 1908. A signed Ellen Clapsaddle classic from 1915 - two cherubic children practice palm-reading on Halloween.
Halloween pranksters strike at sunset. They're probably carrying peashooters. A fanciful Tuck's card, showing vegetable people made from pumpkins, corn husks and red peppers.
Bells do have some association with Halloween - this card probably shows a prankster intending to steal the clapper, but he's been beaten to it! One of the few cards to show a child using a noisemaker on Halloween - the boy has "rattletrap" or "horse fiddle" ratchet raised overhead.
A Tuck classic, combining perhaps the three most popular Halloween icons. This Thanksgiving card strangely employs Halloween symbols, including a black cat, a cauldron, and a strange smoky message.
This card is dated 1917, and shows a traditional candle-wax method of divination. The poem reads: "Let the candle grease drip and drop,/Into the water while it's hot; And the floating grease will form the name/Of your partner in the marriage game./Cupid's disguised as a witch Hallowe'en;/In all the games played his hand can be seen.". This intriguing photo postcard has "Halloween" written on the front, and the pencil notation "East Iowa" on the rear; it's likely that the buggies (and bathtub!) are the aftermath of a night of Halloween pranking, with the juvenile pranksters seated atop their spoils.

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