Vintage Halloween finds and creepy collectibles in Happy Valley, PA

– by Lesley Kistner

Both works of art and pieces of nostalgia, vintage Halloween decorations are on trend. Whether you are looking for that perfect piece to add to your existing collection, just getting started as a collector, or just want to get in the Halloween spirit, you are in luck! Several antique shops in Happy Valley, PA offer a variety of the niche collectibles, along with otherwise creepy finds, so you can celebrate the spooky season in style.

Vintage halloween

- Vintage Halloween items remain popular collectibles (Apple Hill Antiques).

Apple Hill Antiques

According to Lee Carpenter of Apple Hill Antiques, 2221 E. College Ave. in State College, antique and vintage Halloween collectibles are among the most actively sought of holiday collectibles—perhaps second only to antique and vintage Christmas items.

Postcards, tin toys, lanterns, candy containers, masks and costumes, die cuts and cardboard figures with and without honeycomb, and candles are among the items popular with collectors.

“There are so many choices, mass-manufactured across many years, on several continents and by many companies, including the best known— Dennison and Beistle—and many regarded as highly collectible,” she said.

The dealers at Apple Hill Antiques offer many of these Halloween collectibles each year, with postcards among the most popular. These include highly collectible cards from American illustrator Ellen Clapsaddle, one of the most prolific souvenir postcard and greeting card artists of the late 19th and early 20th century.

I99 two

- Unique, quality antiques are always in season at I-99 antiques.

Other popular items include 1950s/1960s light-up blow-molds of pumpkins, witches, and black cats, and Beistle cardboard decorations, including large and small jointed skeletons, owls, and jack-o-lanterns.

Apple Hill Antiques also has a collection of little Halloween candles made by the Gurley Candle Factory, Buffalo, New York, into the 1960s. Gurley was known for making small, figurine-shaped candles for the main holidays, most notably Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Halloween.

A visit to Apple Hill will also reveal a nice collection of vintage noisemakers.

Carpenter said this year, there are several masks: plastic (Colonel Sanders and Philadelphia Phillies star Mike Schmidt) and cardboard (including Snow White, the Wicked Witch, and two of the seven dwarves from the classic Disney film).

With dealers bringing in new items each week, you never know what you will
find on any given day.

I-99 Antiques

Fortune telling playing cards; a black cat candy bucket...another shop to explore for vintage Halloween and fall collectibles is I-99 Antiques in nearby Tyrone, PA. The shop is full of quality antiques.

The Beaten Path

Jennifer Philippoff from The Beaten Path, 112 E. Church St. in Centre Hall, noted that vintage Halloween items are harder and harder to find. While the cozy, eclectic shop currently doesn’t have vintage Halloween items, they have a wonderfully creepy selection of some ghastly and gruesome cabinet cards. The cabinet card was a style of photograph that was widely used for photographic portraiture after 1870. They were large enough to easily view from across the room when typically displayed on a cabinet.

Along with some fantastic Halloween finds, local antique dealers also can provide advice and guidance for collectors, particularly in identifying old from new.

For example, Carpenter said that candy containers and lanterns are so popular with collectors that modern companies have made versions that look vintage but in fact are new. Aging processes that are part of the manufacturing process can make many of these items appear to be quite old, so it is best to consult with the experts.

Happy Halloween and happy antiquing in Happy Valley, PA!

The Happy Valley Adventure Bureau publishes up-to-date event information at