Sunday, 28 October 2012

All Hallows’ Eve

Thanks to a sheltered middle class Anglican childhood I grew up with no awareness of the pagan festival of Halloween and when it finally impinged on my consciousness I assumed it was yet another cultural treasure that crossed the Atlantic from west to east to enrich our meagre existence. Not so – as this artwork by the dashingly named Clixby Watson confirms. Just a few months after the war a toothy pumpkin was bathing these juvenile survivors in its warm glow on the cover of Good Housekeeping. Today’s ever-expanding public appetite for the iconography of supernatural forces seems to march in step with the noisy intrusion of religion into public policy. Both have their roots intertwined deep in our collective past and every generation revives and cultivates them in its own way. These examples of mid-century advertising reveal the extent to which Halloween represented a commercial opportunity for the American confectionery industry. 

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