The Greatest Halloween Packaging of All Time

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In the history of mass-produced Halloween decorations, there have been many remarkable boxes and packages that have housed decorations both stellar and less-than-stellar.  However, there is no artwork that matches this beautifully macabre scene.

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Behold the morbid and the macabre!  What sort of heinous decoration could be housed in such a gruesome box?  There are bats, skeletons, zombie hands, graves, mausoleums, and spider webs…  and this is only the bottom of the box!

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Gruesome Ghoul Artwork

Gah!  Look at that drooling ghoul in his eternal shroud!  And what is that, a toppled cross below him?  This must really be some sort of sick and demented decoration.  But wait!  There’s more!

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Gruesome Ghoul Artwork

This must be the grimmest of reapers!  Look at that snake protruding from his eye socket!   He’s even wearing another serpent as a scarf!  Could whatever is inside this box be as terrifying as this?  Could it ever live up to the utter fear that this image inspires?

Believe it or not, this packaging is from a company called Funny Toys.  Funny Toys.  There doesn’t seem to be anything funny about this box.  Perhaps they should’ve called themselves “Great Packaging” instead.  Okay.  Okay.  You have waited long enough.  Here’s the big reveal, the “funny toy” that was inside of this petrifying packaging…

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1990 Funny Toys “Spooky Coffin” Animated Figure

 

Behold the Spooky Coffin, released in 1990!  For 1990, this probably was a pretty gruesome Halloween decoration: a miniature coffin, a vampire rising from it, creepy creaking sounds, menacing music playing, and evil laughter.  Taking all that into consideration, it was pretty advanced for its time.  One thing is for certain, they don’t make ’em like they used to…  And that includes the packaging!

 

Halloween Highlights: Vintage Vampires

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There are few monsters more closely associated with Halloween than the Vampire.  Vampires have been haunting our nightmares even before Bram Stoker unleashed Dracula upon the world in 1897.  Since the first printing of the famous vampire novel, Dracula has been haunting our nightmares for over a century.  Most famously portrayed by Bela Lugosi in the 1931 screen adaptation, Dracula is the quintessential creature of the night.  Featured today are two vintage Halloween decorations featuring the undead count.

First is a vintage Halloween cutout of Bela Lugosi in his most famous role.  This Halloween decoration was released by the C.A. Reed Company in the early 1980s.

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Bela Lugosi Dracula Cardboard Cutout

 

Next up is a large, jointed Dracula from Eureka, originally marketed as “The Count – 55″ Jointed Halloween Decoration.”  This cutout was released in the late 1970s.

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Eureka “The Count” Jointed Cutout

 

Halloween Cardboard Die-Cut Gallery: Creatures of the Night

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The Big Scare is proud to announce the final installment of this year’s Halloween Cardboard Die-Cut Gallery.  We hope you have enjoyed all of the frightening images you have seen here.  We will be back with even more images next year.  Until then, take in the terror-ific sights of these Halloween frights.  We’ll be back in two days with another post.

 

Halloween Cardboard Die-Cut Gallery: Jack-O’-Lanterns

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Greetings, Boils and Ghouls!  Today we continue our series on The Big Scare featuring images that will bring the Halloweens of Yesteryear to electric life!  Today, we highlight the magic of the Jack-O’-Lantern.  Enjoy these boo-tiful creations.

Halloween Cardboard Die-Cut Gallery: Witches

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They call it the season of the witch, so what better Halloween character to feature in today’s gallery than that of the Wicked Witch!

Evil Green Witch

Today’s gallery features depictions of the craftiest old crones in the history of Halloween.  The images seen here were produced from the early 20th century through the 1980s by a variety of manufacturers.  There are certain traits that most of the witches share.  Green complexions, long noses, warts, and capes appear on several of the witches in the gallery, and nearly all of them are seen riding brooms.  (The association between witches and brooms stretches back the Dark Ages where the first images of witches riding brooms were depicted on elaborately illustrated manuscripts.)  And while the broom is but one of a series of similarities, there’s really only one thing that all of the images truly have in common: the tall, pointy hat.  That conical hat was first associated with witches in the early 18th century; it became popular in Victorian storybooks, was donned by the Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz, and, as such, has remained a staple of the witch’s wardrobe ever since.

Now that you have been educated on the origins of these witches’ outfits, feel free to delight in the devilment of the delightful die-cut art!

Halloween Cardboard Die-Cut Gallery: Bats and Ghosts

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Welcome back, foolish mortals, to our haunted mansion of the macabre!  Today we continue with our series on vintage Halloween decorations!  Our ghastly line-up today features die-cut images of bats and ghosts!

 

Halloween cardboard cutouts reached peak popularity in the second half of the 20th century.  There are a few companies that were quite well-known for manufacturing these paper masterpieces.  The most renowned of these is The Beistle Company.  Beistle was founded in 1900 and, since then, has produced some of the most iconic images of the Halloween season.  Beistle is still in business today, and remains a giant in the party products industry, but the company’s current output pails in comparison to what was produced in the last century.  That being said, they offer a limited line of vintage reproduction products called “Vintage Beistle”.  The line-up is rather small and doesn’t delve too deeply into the massive catalog of products released from the 1920s through the 1980s.

Another manufacturer of macabre images is Eureka!  Eureka created dozens of die-cuts that defined October in the 1970s and 1980s.  Enjoy today’s images, many of which are of Beistle and Eureka products, and stay tuned for more devilishly delightful die-cut art!

Halloween Cardboard Die-Cut Gallery: Black Cats

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Greetings, Boils and Ghouls!  Today we begin a new series on The Big Scare featuring images that will bring the Halloweens of Yesteryear to electric life!

Beistle Jointed Black Cat

We have created several galleries of vintage Halloween cardboard die cut decorations for your booing pleasure.  In the 20th century, these paper cutouts adorned windows and walls in homes and schools during the month of October.  The earliest ones started appearing in the 1920s.  By the 1950s, they were staples of the season.  Nowadays, there aren’t that many being produced, and the ones that are being created are nearly all computer-generated.  Fortunately, we have nearly 100 years of cardboard die-cuts to draw from for our galleries.  What’s more, every die-cut that will be featured in our galleries is hand-illustrated, designed by an artist or team of artists who captured the spirit of the season with old-fashioned ink and paint.

We launch our Halloween die-cut gallery series with images of one of Halloween’s foremost icons: the black cat!  Enjoy!  And come back in two days for more devilishly delightful die-cut art!

The Best Halloween Candy of 2013

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If you have not already bought the candy for 2013’s batch of Treaters, you’re in luck.  Today, we are going to hand out 2013’s Best of Halloween awards, with this year’s emphasis on Treats.  The Big Scare is run by some very scrupulous candy connoisseurs, and we are proud to share with you our picks for the Best Halloween Treats of 2013.

First up, our pick for…

BEST ARTWORK

Our pick for best artwork goes to Nestle’s Ultimate Scream fun-size candy pack.  This 45-piece bag of goodies is filled with Nestle’s top sellers, like Crunch and Butterfinger.  But, as with our last post, it’s really what’s on the outside that counts for this award.  Clearly, this bag was created by a Monster-lover.  It’s true that this package has been around for a while, but it still has yet to be beat, except by Nestle’s now hard-to-find companion pack, Classic Scream.  The image of the Frankenstein Monster and the “scream queen” is simply iconic.  Too bad the Dracula bag is no longer widely available, as it would have easily tied for this award.  Better than any officially licensed food-product from Universal Studios, this bag scares up first place in the art department.

nestle ULTIMATE SCREAM

BEST ASSORTMENT

Our winner for the Best Halloween Assortment award is one that will be familiar to seasonal enthusiasts.  Anyone who has been reading the Big Scare since its launch will know that we are huge on themed-treats.  The bland, boring fun-sized candy like the treats in the bag above do very little for us.  It’s Halloween, and that means we have high-expectations for the fun-level of our candy.  In terms of fun, it’s hard to beat the Hershey’s Halloween Shapes Assortment.  This package of treats is the ultimate combination of taste and terror.  Between the York Peppermint Pumpkins, the Hershey’s tombstones, and the Reese’s pumpkins, the taste quality is hard to beat… and so are the shapes!

Hershey's Halloween Candy

BEST HALLOWEEN CANDY

The award for Best Halloween Candy is not given lightly.  A lot has to be considered before the award is bestowed upon a creepy candy-maker.  That being said, this year’s winner is Palmer and its 3-pound bag of Monster Munch chocolate candy.  For decades, Palmer has been one of the staunchest supporters of themed Halloween candy.  From the old-time Witch Pops to the classic Monster Munny (Money), Palmer has been the mastermind behind many a child’s Halloween memories.  So, it seems only fitting that a giant bag of Palmer monster-shaped candy should be the winner of 2013’s Best Halloween Candy award.  In this massive package, you will find 3-pounds of chocolate treats — all appropriately themed and decorated.  First is the Monster Munny (Money), an item which has been around for decades.  Featuring the cartoon likenesses of Dracula, the Wolf Man, Frankenstein’s Monster, the Witch, and a Great Pumpkin, the Monster Munny (Money) is a very special treat.  Split up into demonic denominations and made of Palmer’s fantastic double-crisp, it could only be beat if the chocolate were molded to look like the tinfoil wrappers…  Also included in the Monster Munch are two-tone Peanut Butter Pumpkins, which do come shaped like jack-o’-lanterns, yummy, soft fudge-filled Boos, and the most creative of the lot: milk-chocolate zombies (white chocolate corpses in chocolate coffins).  This set can simply not be beat.  Not only is it tasty, but it has all of the heart that Halloween candy should have.  Congratulations to Palmer and its Monster Munch!

Palmer Chocolate Monster Munch Mix

Telco Halloween Motion-ettes Price Guide

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All Fair Market Value ranges are based upon the final selling 
prices of Motion-ette figures on the secondary market for a 
ten-year time period (2003 - 2013).  Prices reflect average 
ranges for figures sold, online and offline, in excellent 
condition with original boxes. 

No official guide has ever been created for Fair Market 
Values. So, during the ten years we researched the Halloween 
Motion-ettes, we kept a log of final selling prices for 
various figures in the Telco line.  We created a range using 
our recorded statistics.  These prices are based on our 
collected data and should only be used as one resource when 
determining a fair price for a particular animated figure.  

Please note that the following list is not a complete price guide.
Certain figures and variations are not included.  It is intended for
information purposes only.  For more information on the  Telco 
Motion-ettes, please visit our Collector's Guide and FAQ. 

Fair Market Values for the 18" Line of Halloween Motion-ettes

Most of the 18" battery-operated Motionettes, in excellent
condition with original box, sell anywhere between $15.00 and 
$35.00 with the exception of the Universal Studios Mummy, the 
rarest figure in the 18" line.  The Beastman also sells for more.

Fair Market Values for the 24" Line of Halloween Motion-ettes

Witch:
Original Witch with jack-o'-lantern: $35.00 - $65.00
Glow-Head Witch: $35.00 - $75.00
Witch Casting Spell: $175.00 - $300.00
Flying Wicked Witch:  $150.00 - $250.00

Vampire:
Original Vampire with skull: $35.00 - $65.00
Vampire with bat: $100.00 - $150.00
Glow-Head Vampire: $100.00 - $125.00

Monster:
Original Monster with metal lantern: $100.00 - $175.00
Monster with plastic lantern: $40.00 - $75.00
Glow-Head Monster: $100.00 - $125.00

Ghosts and Phantoms:
Original Ghost: $300.00 - $500.00
Pumpkin Ghost: $150.00 - $250.00
Phantom of the Opera: $150.00 - $250.00

Skeletons and Death:
Skeleton with top hat and varying accessory: $350.00 - $700.00
Glow-Head Grim Reaper (Mr. Bones): $125.00 - $250.00
Masque of the Red Death: $150.00 - $250.00
Haunting Skeleton: * - **

Scarecrow:
Original Cloth Scarecrow:  $300.00 - $600.00
1988 Plastic Scarecrow:  $400.00 - $600.00

Creatures:
Devil with glowing eyes: $500.00 - $750.00
Bat with glowing eyes:  $75.00 - $150.00
Bat with bug eyes:  $150.00 - $250.00
Werewolf with glowing eyes:  $550.00 - $850.00
Werewolf with bug eyes:  $800 - **
Green Werewolf (Beast Man):  $75.00 - $150.00
Gorilla - $800 - **

Universal Studios Monsters:
Universal Monsters Frankenstein: $100.00 - $150.00
Universal Monsters Dracula: $100.00 - $150.00
Universal Monsters Wolf Man: $100.00 - $150.00
Universal Monsters Creature from the Black Lagoon: $500.00 - **
Universal Monsters Bride of Frankenstein: $450.00 - $650.00
Universal Monsters Mummy: $1500.00 - **

*Indicates a lack of data for an accurate low-end price 
** Indicates a lack of data for an accurate high-end price

Telco Halloween Motion-ettes FAQ

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Editor’s Note:  Below are some of the most common questions we have received about the Halloween Motion-ettes.  This article is a sub-article of The Motion-ettes of Halloween Collector’s Guide.  Please review the Guide before reading the FAQ.
 

The Big Scare BG_alt Q: What’s the big deal about Telco?  Why not create a guide for Topstone or early Gemmy Halloween figures?

A: The Big Scare has plans to produce, at least, one article focusing on the other brands of tabletop animation.  The reason we started with Telco is because, as a company, its offerings were extremely expansive, yet incredibly underdocumented. Twenty-five years later, there is a lot of confusion about the line and very little information.  This has led to misunderstandings in the worlds of collectors and Halloween enthusiasts alike.  While the folks behind The Big Scare own relatively few Motion-ettes, we love their charms and the fact that they represent a simpler time in the world of Halloween.  We have spent the past decade gathering information, comparing photos, and assembling a cohesive history of the line.  To us, it was an endeavor worth the while.

Q: My Telco Halloween Motion-ette is dated 1987 (or 1986).  That’s all I need to know about the year oskeleton glowf its release, right?

A: Unfortunately, no.  Simply because your Motion-ette is dated 1987 (or 1986) doesn’t mean it is from that year.  Telco was notorious for stamping misleading dates on Motion-ette heads, hands, and boxes.  1986 refers to the creation of the Halloween line, while 1987 simply refers to the (true) national launch of the Halloween figures and the introduction of a particular body type.  All Motion-ettes of Halloween are somehow tied to 1986 or 1987.  If your figure has a 1986 or 1987 date, it most likely isn’t from that year… especially if it’s a bug-eyed Devil or a Green Werewolf (Beastman).  Neither was released until years later.  But that’s why we created the Motion-ettes guide!

Q:  I found a Motion-ette that has a very different costume from the ones I see pictured on this site.  Did I stumble upon a rare figure?

A: All  images in our guide are photographs of archival catalog and stock images, intended to educate Halloween enthusiasts on what the actual original products looked like.  So, chances are, if your figure has a different costume from what is outlined in the guide, you probably stumbled upon an imposter, at least a partial imposter.  Motion-ettes were released at a time when crafting was still at its height. Crafters and hobbyists found Motion-ettes to be quite enchanting — not for their factory-born charms, but for the possibilities of modification and re-sale.  Many times, Motion-ette figures were given new costumes, new accessories, or additional lighting features after they were purchased.  They were then re-sold at craft fairs for higher prices.  So, yes, your Motion-ette find is indeed rare.  It’s one of a kind!  But don’t go thinking that makes it better than an original Motion-ette.  In fact, that probably would appeal less to most collectors.  But the only thing that really matters is that you like it!  Many of the Motion-ettes altered by hobbyists are very well done.

Q: I have a figure that has a nearly identical color scheme to the Motion-ettes in the guide, but the face is sculpted a bit differently, and the accessory is one I didn’t see pictured or mentioned in the collector’s guide.  Is it a Telco?

A: Probably n1987 skullot.  It could very well be an EPI animated figure.  In fact, we here at The Big Scare are still trying to pinpoint the make of certain lookalikes, especially the ones that really look like they could be Telco Motion-ettes but don’t have any of the standard accessories.  The accessories make for one of the best ways to determine the brand of your animated monster.  If your figure has the regular skull, the rectangular lantern, or this blow mold pumpkin, it’s probably a Telco, although the pumpkin was also used by lookalike companies.  The cobra, crazy bat, and threatening cat blow mold accessories are also extremely indicative that yours is indeed a Telco Motion-ette.

 Q:  I see a lot of these Motion-ettes listed for high prices on [a popular online auction site].  These prices seem a bit excessive to me.  Is there a conclusive list of fair market values for the Halloween Motion-ettes?

A:  No official guide has ever been created, but, during our ten years of research, we kept a log of final selling prices for various figures in the Telco line.  We created a range using our recorded statistics.  You can find the average price ranges for popular figures in our Telco Halloween Motion-ettes Price Guide.  Please note that these prices are based on our collected data and should only be used as one resource when determining a fair price for a particular animated figure.

Have a question?  Ask it in the comments section, and it could appear above in our official (and ever-growing) Q&A.