Happy Silent Halloween!

Happy Halloween everyone!

While I was hoping very much to make a nice Nosferatu post for you all, sadly my schedule decided this was not to be. So I’ll simply save it for next year’s Halloween–because heck yes. (Besides, my head is so stuffed with German Expressionism right now that it’ll be tough to fit any more in.)

Instead, how about a fun collection of vintage Halloween-themed photos from old Hollywood?

Clara Bow seated carved pumpkin

Clara clearly is all for the idea.

Here’s some interesting tidbits about Halloween in the early 20th century: While Halloween–excuse me, Hallowe’en–costume parties and “balls” were popular with adults, for children Oct. 31st was more like National Vandal’s Day. Pranks ranging from the harmless (soaping shop windows) to destructive (throwing bricks through those shop windows) were common. Efforts were made as the years went by to calm down the holiday, and even the movie business put in a valiant effort by issuing free movie tickets to kids on Halloween night, hoping to keep them busy.

Halloween pledge cards mot pic news '25

For example (from Motion Picture News, 1925).

Handing out refreshments was a popular way to keep the youngsters occupied (there were already old customs of “begging” for treats in some places), and by the 1950s “trick-or-treating” was an integral part of Halloween. While some kids.still like to TP their teacher’s house the night has become more ubiquitous with candy and fun decorations than roving bands of tiny vandals.

Alright, without further ado:

If you went to the movies in the autumn of 1909 you may have considered seeing this one-reeler:

The Three Kisses 1909

And you might’ve spent a few pennies to see this if you were a kid in 1910:

The Fairie's Halloween mov pic world 1910

From Moving Picture World, 1910.

If you were lucky enough to live in Milwaukee, WI you could’ve gone to the Halloween celebration at the Alhambra theater accompanying the new Charles Ray picture, Peaceful Valley. Theaters used a variety of creative ways to promote their newest pictures back then, and the manager of the Alhambra went all out:

Charles Ray peaceful valley promo exh herald '20

Exhibitor’s Herald, 1920.

Including a festive stage show that ran before the picture!

Charles Ray peaceful valley prologue exh herald '20

Exhibitor’s Herald, 1920.

In movie magazines it seemed to be more common to see pictures of actresses posing in Halloween costumes in the late ’20s (they’re always actresses). In early ’20s there seemed to be only a few, like this one of Mary Miles Minter:

Halloween mary miles minter Exhibitor Herald '21

Exhibitor’s Herald, ’21.

And this cute one of Claire Windsor:

Claire Windsor mot pic classic '23

Motion Picture Classic, ’23.

By the late ’20s actresses in adorable Halloween-themed photo shoots were all over the place. Here’s Joan Crawford:

Joan Crawford mot pic news '28

Motion Picture News, ’28.

Madge Bellamy:


Madge Bellamy halloween mot pic classic '28

Motion Picture Classic, ’28.

Nancy Carroll:

Nancy Carroll halloween '27

Unknown photographer, 1927.

And Ms. Clara and a giant pumpkin:

Halloween Clara photoplay '27

Photoplay, 1927.

Here’s a spooky one of Alberta Vaughn:

Alberta Vaughn ex herald and mov pic world '28

Exhibitor’s Herald and Moving Picture World, ’28.

Gwen Lee and Anita Page getting spooked:

Gwen Lee Anita Page ex herald mov pic world '28

Exhibitor’s Herald and Moving Picture World, ’28.

And last but not least, here’s Clara one more time (she was a popular Halloween photo shoot subject) sitting on a pumpkin. Or rather, sitting on pumpkin.

Clara Bow sitting on canned pumpk

Unknown source, 1929.

A very merry Hallowe’en to you all, my friends, I hope you have a good time tonight! (But try not to soap any shop windows, please.)

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