Here's an evocative Halloween 1946 paper advert for Dessart Brothers. Note the quaint spelling of "Hallowe'en." Note also this ad is from the March 1946 issue of Playthings, the trade magazine. I repeat, March. So...some may complain Halloween shows up too early in the stores now, but maybe not early enough? Playthings magazine is still published.
Imagine trying to put some of these cut-out masks on the backs of cereal boxes now. Or even wearing one for Halloween. There'd be hell to pay, that's for sure. I can see the bitter tweets and Facebook posts now. And still, we haven't come that far socially, have we, that we pretend to?
First off, who dresses like a clown for Halloween anymore? Unless, of course, it's a zombie or homicidal clown. Second, note the attentive gas station attendant with the smile and bow tie. You won't see a person dressed up like that anymore, even on Halloween. Unless he's a real ghost.
You may find this hard to believe, but there was a time when gas stations had attendants, dressed in snappy uniforms, eager to wash your windows, check your oil, and pump your gas. I know, I know. Sounds like a fantasy, right?
10/19/62 -- Detroit: When station attendent Walt Sifford painted a Halloween scene, complete with cornstalk, on his gas station window, he never thought his work was realistic enough to become a pheasant trap. But it wasn't long before a pheasant came crashing into the window. Sifford is shown with the pheasant, who was only stunned. Sifford plans to free the bird in a real cornfield when the bird fully recovers.
Here's a shot from 1956 showing store window painting for Halloween in Chicago. I remember seeing store windows painted up on Avenue U in Bensonhurst Brooklyn every October, when I was growing up. Funny the things you remember as a kid, but I noticed how the artistic talents on display grew worse over the years as students from the local high schools participated in the yearly contest. For the truly inspiring artwork, I always felt sad to see it washed away after the holiday.
Here's a Tribune press photo showing the Anoka, Minnesota, Halloween parade marching along Main Street, October 31st, 1949. I love the sign that reads "the house that Jack built." Definitely a monsterkid in the skeleton costume.
UPI Telephoto, October 26th, 1960, Pacific Palisades, California: "A steaming calderon painted on a barber shop window, part of a community Halloween window painting contest for children, has David Goldman seemingly simmering while "chef" with shears, Vince Mangio, prepares bill of fare. Artist was Cathy Toland. Cooking time was one haircut."