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A Victorian Old-Fashioned Halloween Poster

A Victorian Old-Fashioned Halloween Poster

A Victorian Old-Fashioned Halloween Poster

A Victorian Old-Fashioned Halloween Poster

Victorian Autumn Halloween Poster

The Celts celebrated Halloween as Samhain, 'All Hallowtide' - the 'Feast of the Dead', when the dead revisited the mortal world. The celebration marked the end of Summer and the start of Winter. In the 17th century, the Irish Catholic immigrants brought a variety of traditions, beliefs, customs, and superstitions to America.

It was on Halloween night when the living and the dead were at their closest and the Celtic Druids would dress up in elaborate costumes to disguise themselves as spirits and devils, just in case they encountered other devils and spirits during the night. By disguising they hoped that they would be able to avoid being carried away at the end of the night. This explains why witches, goblins and ghosts remain the most popular choices for the costumes.

In County Cork, Ireland, All Hallows was marked with a mummers' procession of young men claiming to be followers of "Muck Olla". Led by Lair Bhain who wore a horse's head and white robes, the group would go from house to house noisily beseeching householders to impart food, drink, or money in return for a promise of prosperity in the coming year.

The Irish also carved-out turnips in order to make cheap lanterns with which to light their way during the dark winter. The term "jack-o-lantern" first appeared in print in 1750, the name belonging to an Irish blacksmith named Jack who colluded with the Devil and was denied entry to Heaven. His soul damned, he was condemned to wander the earth and asked the Devil for a bit of coal in which he could light his way. The devil tossed Jack a burning ember which he tucked inside a carved out turnip and it was then that the tradition of the Jack O'Lantern was born.

Tradition was that a lighted lantern in a window would keep the wandering blacksmith away. When the Irish emigrated in millions to America there was not a great supply of turnips so pumpkins were used instead.

By the 1880s upper and middle class Victorian Americans thought of Halloween as a quaint holiday brought to America by genteel English and downplayed Irish Catholic connections. Parlor games and Halloween parties were intended for Victorian adults, not children.

This poster is 17 inches wide by 22 inches high, generous black, orange and green ink lushly printed on parchment stock.

Trick Or Treat

PLEASE NOTE: This poster image was hand-drawn by Madame Talbot using General's Cedar Pointe #333-2HB pencils on Crescent 201.6 Hot Press Medium Weight illustration board at original poster size. An antique Koh-i-Noor rapidograph pen and Dr. P. H. Martin's Bombay Black India ink were used for final inking.

After completion, the image was hand-delivered to Ryan Gwinner Press in Portland, Oregon and printed on an offset printing press.

Absolutely no computers were used in the creation of this poster - from start to finish.

The copyright notice is on the website image only and not on the printed poster.

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Madame Talbot's Victorian and Gothic Lowbrow