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Collecting Vintage Halloween Paper Dolls: Where Halloween Connoisseurs and Paper Doll collectors intersect

The early 20th century women’s magazines offer dazzling Halloween lithographs including patterns for Halloween costumes, Halloween party favor ideas, Halloween menus and illustrations for Halloween-themed children’s stories, but perhaps the most impressive are the Halloween paper doll pages.

Victorian, Edwardian, and Deco-era Magazine Paper Dolls

The Delineator magazine Carolyn Chester Full-Base paper doll “Giving Dolly a Hallowe’en Party” from October 1912 offers an exuberant, three-dimensional witch paper doll/cut-out that strangely resembles the Wizard of Oz “Good Witch” Linda (see photo below). The Delineator also had intriguing, detailed, color-lithographed cut-outs like “A Halloween Carnival–A Page of Place Cards to Cut Out and Assemble” from the October 1918 issue.

The Ladies’ Home Journal magazine featured many richly lithographed Halloween-themed paper dolls. The WWI-era surprisingly creepy Betty Bonnet Halloween Party, by Sheila Young (photo included below) from 1917 is an impressive example. Also of interest are the ingenious Eleanor Colby cut-outs page of Halloween favors from October 1911 “A Three-Fold Halloween Party Idea”.

Grace Drayton’s Dolly Dingle Paper Dolls, appearing in Pictorial Review magazine from 1913-1932, has several Witch costumes for Dolly Dingle and her friends (one is pictured below), and great Halloween incarnations for her “naughty kitty”. The Dottie Darling paper dolls, by Corinne Pauli Waterall, (not to be confused with her Pictorial Review predecessor–Dolly Dingle), had a wonderful 2-sided Halloween cut-out page “Dottie Darling Goes to a Halloween Party” (also pictured below). Included are a two-sided paper doll, two-sided witch’s costume with glowing pumpkin, two sided bat, cat, and witch’s hat.

McCall’s magazine had several Betsy McCall Halloween-themed paper doll pages from 1951 to 1998, which feature a costume for Betsy, and often the Unicef Trick or Treat donation jar. The Victorian-era McCall‘s also had detailed Halloween-themed cut-out pages, for example the cut-out paper-toy page from October 1913: “Peter Pumpkin–Our Hallowe’en Visitor”.

Vintage Die-Cut, Commercial Paper Doll Books containing Halloween Themes

There are many wonderful commercial paper doll books from the 1940s and 1950s that have Halloween pages. For instance the 1941 Reuben H. Lilja & Company commercial book: Patsy–Furniture for Her Home, Clothes for Her Trunk, includes a wonderful Halloween page for her wardrobe, including a witch costume and an adorable black cat costume (pictured below).

Reuben J. Lilja also produced an unintentionally creepy Costume Party paper doll book in 1940 which included many Halloween costumes for a ghoulish-looking boy and his scary-looking little sister.

Halloween Character Paper Dolls

A natural fit in this category would be the Magic Wand Corporation’s Bewitched and Tabitha paper dolls, The Whitman Munsters Paper Dolls from 1966, and The Adams Family Golden Fun-Time Book. Also of interest in this category: the Mod-Era Whitman Publishing Sabrina the Teenage Witch Paper Dolls, the Dark Shadows cut-outs book, and the current Buffy the Vampire Slayer activity book with punch-out figures of the cast.

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