Thursday, October 30, 2008


The Autumn Sketch Book
of Bess Stanhope
October 31, 1925
It's Halloween Day and I'm so excited. Irene Bitz and I are putting the finishing touches on the Mystic Revels party we are hosting at her home. We have been planning it for weeks! Fortunately, Irene is mad for Halloween and she bought most of the party supplies and decorations. We began our party planning by consulting several issues of Dennison's Bogie Book (above).

The Bogie Books give instructions galore for everything you need to host a successful Halloween party, midnight supper, card party, social, open house, dance, soiree or revels. I don't think there's a theme they haven't covered!

Every terrific Halloween party requires an intriguing invitation. Here's ours!

We've hung this crepe paper streamer all around her living room.

We're putting this crepe paper banner across the front of the buffet table.

We'll keep the lights low but have set out plenty of lanterns to set just the right spooky mood.

For our guests, there'll be horns, noisemakers and blowouts,

and hats for those who did not wear a costume.

Don't you just love this colorful coaster?

We've hung these colorful die cuts on the walls.

Some of these die cuts are older, having been made in Germany. Irene has been collecting them.

This crow is my favorite.
And one must have an owl at Halloween.

Tables will be set up with Halloween-themed board games, and there will be a small round table tucked into a corner, where I, Esmerelda the Gypsy, will be telling fortunes.

Later, we'll clear the table for card games, including whist and bridge.
We looked at several sample menus for our buffet:
Hot ham shortcakes with cheese sauce
Dill pickle sticks
Celery curls
Pumpkin-face tarts
Ice cold Coca Cola
Chicken corn
Caramel Apples.
Here's another menu:
Goblin-face meat pies
Julienne carrots
Orange ice
Chocolate cookies
Ginger ale
Irene's husband Ed, liked the idea of the meat pies, but he wasn't too keen on the other items on these menus. He wanted heartier fare.
We finally decided to go with heated pans of meat balls and chicken wings, plus finger sandwiches, salmon croquettes, cheese straws, deviled eggs, Waldorf salad, a carrot and celery tray, angel food and devil's food cakes, sweet cider, Coca-Cola, ginger ale, coffee, chicken corn, nuts, popcorn balls and caramel apples. We won't be serving liquor, but I am sure there will be a bottle or two of red eye passed around.

Today is very warm for Halloween Day - 70 degrees - so I'm certain the children will enjoy trick or treating. Once they are safely back at home, our revels can begin. Because it is a Saturday, we can stay up late without a care! And guess what, tonight the moon is full. A full moon on Halloween is a rare occurence. It won't happen again until 1944!

I wonder just what we will see under the full moon tonight?

NOTES: Chicken corn is an early name for candy corn, which was invented in 1898. Red eye is a homemade whiskey popular with the Germans From Russia settlers in North Dakota. Many of the best early Halloween decorations were made in Germany, but of course their importation stopped when WWI broke out. Halloween paper goods were quite inexpensive back in the day, but now are extremely collectible and terribly expensive. A copy of the 1925 Dennison's Bogie Book (Bess' year!) recently sold for $160.00! I have taken poetic license and mixed vintage decorations from the 1910s, 1920s and 1930s. Shh, don't tell. I didn't check the actual weather for Halloween 1925 in North Dakota, but it was a Saturday and there really was a full moon that evening.


If you enjoyed this glimpse of vintage Halloween, you might want to check out this post I wrote last October. You may also enjoy scrolling through my other October 2007 posts to see the entries about vintage Halloween postcards.


Kim Campbell said...

This is so cool!

Patty said...

Happy Halloween

Sometimes It's Good said...

Love the decorations! Sounds like a fun party!

JoAnn ( Scene Through My Eyes) said...

This sounds like a party everyone would want to go to.


smilnsigh said...

And a Happy Halloween to you, and to Bess!!! :-)

Miss Mari-Nanci

Bimbimbie said...

Boo's from afar to you Miss Bess Julie - wonderful vintage eye treats you have here *!*

Janet said...

This is great! I love all the images and your menu sounds delicious! Party on!!

Leanne said...

a blessed samhan to you julie
Leanne x

LW said...

Happy Halloween!

what a wonderful party,
the event of the year..


gma said...

Hope you enjoyed your party dear Bess. Such a wonderful array of Halloween ideas and decor.Your menu sounds delicious as well. Oh how I wish to attend one of your delightful parties in the future.

your friend,
November 1925

Anonymous said...

This is Wonderful! Just as charming as the other Bess journal entries. And I loved learning about "chicken corn" and the other old-time Halloween things. How did you know it was a full moon that night--and again in 1944?

Julie said...

Julie here,

I am not sure how I learned about the full moon on Halloween 1925. I think I googled Halloween 1925. I did a ton of research for this post - way more than I had time for! I googled vintage Halloween and 1925 Halloween and 1920s Halloween and 1920s menus and lord knows what all! I do know that I just googled October 1925 calendar to get the day of the week. You can enter any month and year and find out which day of the week it was.

Sandy said...

I love your banner. Forgot to tell you that! I just love stopping in to look at all your cool graphics!

Shopgirl said...

I just know you had a wonderful time. I love all the Halloween decorations and yummmmm, the food.
Today I am nerves about the elections...just can't seem to be still in my head.
I have been working on my house after a long time away from doing the big stuff. I made over 300 dollars for the Bazaar with the charms. I am working on some stuff for Christmas...but mostly cleaning.
I am looking forward to your Wed. Post.
Your, Mary

Sharon said...

I came upon your blog while blog surfing. I just love the vintage pics of hallowe'en stuff, especially the german paper one fo the cat. My grandmother used to have a black cat and moon, that was designed the same. How I wish I it was still in our family, but sadly it went in the garbage after years of being well-loved.
I'm curious..are your Bess journals real & true? Or do you take vintage pics and write the story? Either way, they are so enjoyable giving us an insight into past life.
(aka celticrafter)

Sharon said...

Hi Julie: Got your comment. My dog is a 6 year old Nova Scotia Duck Toller Retriever. Her registered name with the Canadian Kennel Club is CH Copper Penny. This is our second toller and they are lovely dogs, smaller than a standard retriever. I made some changes to my blog tonight...check it out.

Thanks again,