How to Tell Vintage from Repro Halloween Decorations

Halloween in around the corner, and with it many people are shopping for Halloween decorations, including vintage lovers who do their shopping at antique malls. However in recent visits to antique malls I have noticed some dealers selling items that look old, but are in fact new! So, how are you to tell the difference? Here are some tips!

First off, I should mention I am by no means a vintage Halloween decor expert, and not all die-cut Halloween decorations are created equal. Today I just want to highlight the differences between most new and old flat die-cut pieces. I have decided to select items that I have both vintage and new versions of and showcase the differences between the two so you can tell the difference next time you’re out.

First let’s look at this rather dapper black cat. Can you tell which one is new?

If you guessed the one on the right, you’re good! So, how do you tell? Flip over any die cut, and you’ll automatically find out.

You’ll notice the one on the right is double sided, while the one on the left is not. You’ll also spy a price sticker on the back of the vintage one, and it reads 8 cents. Pretty sure you can’t buy anything new for 8 cents anymore. Double sided printing for paper/card stock decorations really didn’t start happening until the 80s or so. Additionally, you can see that the one on the left is embossed, while the new one is not. Take a look at an angle for a better look at the embossing.

Embossing was fairly popular and almost standard on holiday decor until around the 1960s. I have several pieces from 1960s and 70s that are single sided, but not embossed.

So, now that you know those tips, let’s take a look at another pair, shall we? Which one is new?

If you guessed right again, you’re correct!

Once again, you’ll notice the new one is doubled sided and flat, while the older one is single sided, and embossed.

I hope this was helpful, so the next time you’re out at an antique mall and spy a vintage looking piece of Halloween decor, you can tell if it is old or not. Of course there is nothing wrong with new or repro Halloween decor! Vintage Halloween decorations can be awfully expensive! And repro offers a much cheaper solution while still having a fun retro vibe. The best in the paper Halloween decoration business is Beistle, and they are still in business and making the classics, which you can buy on their website! Happy hunting and happy haunting this October!

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