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Spooky season is not far off, and soon it will be time to put up the orange décor and carve jack-o-lanterns. Although the observance of the date goes back about 2000 years, the fun tradition was brought to the US by Irish and Scottish immigrants in the 19th century. You can add an interesting twist this year by adding some history to your Halloween festivities. Take a trip down memory lane this year by adding a cute vintage image, as most are available to download for free.
- Although plenty of free Halloween images are available, always consider their size when choosing. Always select the highest available resolution of an image, so it looks sharp when printed or viewed on a screen.
- Not all vintage Halloween images may still be appropriate or suitable for modern audiences. Times have changed, and some are simply of historical value. If they are viewed out of historical context without any backstory, some are a little too gory and could be considered offensive.
When choosing a vintage Halloween image for a card or invitation, be sensitive to all audiences, particularly children who may be upset by some pictures.
- Some websites advertise images as ‘free’ but may only have limited images that can be downloaded free. Fortunately, there are lots of free vintage Halloween images available, so unless you need something particular, you will find plenty of 100% free images on our list.
- The copyright on most vintage images has expired, so they are freely available in the public domain.
Where To Get Free Vintage Halloween Images
Vintage Halloween images range from charming and cute to downright weird and a little freaky! Times have changed, and adding some old-fashioned innocence to your Halloween festivities this year will add a new twist to this fun annual tradition.
Many websites offer Halloween artwork to download, but some have copyright restrictions or are just downright expensive. Since Halloween is only once a year, it’s usually not worth spending a lot of money because you will also want to change your décor next year.
Thankfully, plenty of vintage Halloween images are available to download on the public domain if you know where to look. That is where we have done the legwork for you and created this list of sites where you can scroll through images to download.
Whether you want to create interesting and amusing Halloween cards or just want a charming vintage Halloween screensaver, these are the perfect websites to explore.
1. The Public Domain Review
If you’re after vintage Halloween postcards, look no further than this delightful collection of 12 charming and somewhat amusing postcards on The Public Domain Review. These postcards offer a variety of common Halloween themes but are classically old-school vintage.
From detailed artworks depicting witches riding the skies with their obligatory sidekick black cat to disappointed young ladies catching a glimpse of their future husbands in a magic mirror.
All these images were harvested from the New York Public library collection. If you need your postcard in a slightly higher resolution than offered on this site, follow the link and search for the image at its source.
2. The Graphics Fairy
The Graphics Fairy is gold for anyone looking for a specific theme or style when choosing their vintage Halloween images. The collection includes 400 images that are all neatly sorted and arranged with headings, like ‘creepy spiders and webs’ and ‘kids with pumpkins.’
Whether you need an image of apple bobbing or cranky-looking crows, the Graphics Fairy is the place to check out. Their collection of vintage drug and poison bottle labels which also fits in the Halloween genre, is fascinating. One warning, though, once you start scrolling through the images, make sure you have plenty of time as it is really entertaining!
Pixabay has a collection of 210 Halloween images available for free download, many of which are vintage. Users need to be aware that the site will tempt them with plenty of other images that fit the vintage search description, but unless they are under the free section, they will require payment to download.
Don’t let that put you off browsing through the free images, though. There is a lovely selection of pictures that can be downloaded in high resolution and are free of charge. Wishing someone a ‘Merry Halloween’ has never been easier or cuter!
4. Picture Box Blue
You can find the cutest selection of vintage Halloween postcards at Picture Box Blue. What I love about this collection is that besides just offering the image for free download, it also provides a bit of background information about the picture and its year of origin.
The collection includes all the seasonal favorites, apples, cats, plenty of witches, and even a scary pumpkin motorist! It is a real feel-good collection that has a bit of something for everyone, and the very best part is that you can download the images free of charge.
5. Free Vintage Illustrations
If you are interested in the history embedded in the vintage Halloween images you use, look no further than Free Vintage Illustrations. Most images are clearly labeled with the original date they appeared, as well as if they had some specific purpose. There is a charming image of young ladies in graduation gowns carrying jack-o-lanterns labeled, ‘Ladies Home Journal 1905’.
Something you must take note of is that the images are all different sizes, and not all of them would be suitable to enlarge since the available resolution required may not be available. The collection includes a really bizarre image of a suited, jack-o-lantern-headed person eating a pie with a knife and fork! Go take a look – it’s pretty strange and quite freaky in a fun way.
6. Art & Home
Art & Home offers 144 total free Halloween pintables and clip art, although not all of the images are vintage. There is, however, a really nice selection to choose from. Just scroll through the thumbnail images, click on the one you want, and download. They have made the process very user-friendly and simple.
The collection is delightful and, besides all the usual characters, also includes a pair of festive, costumed dancers, a couple of full moons, and a grumpy-looking owl. All the images are classically vintage, innocent, and very colorful.
7. Vintage Fan Girl
Vintage Fan Girl offers a new twist on the vintage Halloween theme. It not only includes classic vintage Halloween postcard images but also includes a more sinister, creepy image of a demon from an 1800s Occult Book called the Dictionnaire Infernal.
What we really love about this site is that it offers vintage Halloween images from different perspectives. There are vintage skeleton diagrams from old medical books and vintage Halloween costume illustrations from the 1920s. These downloads are perfect for anyone who would like an interesting and unusual take on their Halloween décor.
Most creative people are familiar with Pinterest. Users contribute, and everyone learns and benefits from each other. Many gorgeous and popular vintage Halloween images have been shared by users and are available for download for free. If you need unusual sizes like banners or even a few vintage Halloween recipes, this is the place to go.
Pinterest isn’t only a great place to find vintage images to use this Halloween; it is also an excellent site to find unique ideas for your festivities. Everything from creative ways to make Trick-or-Treating even more memorable to vintage Halloween costumes that are both impressive and suitably scary!
Rawpixel is a website that provides free images, backgrounds, PNGs, wallpapers, etc. All the items are high quality, and there is a small selection of vintage Halloween images to choose from. They are particularly useful if you want to print someone in a large format and need a high-resolution image.
The only delay is that a once-off sign-up is required to allow you to download the free stock that they have available. Once you have signed up, Rawpixel will email you an unlock code, and you will be able to use their free images. There is also a premium option that does have a fee.
Remodelaholic has a collection of 30 vintage Halloween images that they have collected from other sources. Click on the image thumbnail that you have chosen, and you will be directed to its source and be able to download the image.
The great thing about this collection is that it is a little different from many others. The images are bold and sometimes downright bizarre – which is perfect if you have a slightly off-beat sense of humor. They are all classically vintage, making the weird rhymes, pictures, and messages charming and funny.
Why Is Halloween So Popular In America?
The USA is a cultural melting pot of different cultures, and each added a little bit of something to the annual Halloween festivities. According to History.com, the ancient beginnings of the festival were Celtic, and people lit bonfires and wore disguises to ward off ghosts. It took place at the end of summer, marking the end of the growing season and the start of cold winter.
The tradition twisted, turned, and evolved over time while retaining some common elements associated with dressing up, fires, and death. Halloween made its way to United States shores with the early settlers but wasn’t a major festival.
When the custom made landfall in America, it naturally became intertwined with American Indian beliefs, and a new and truly American version of Halloween gradually emerged. Halloween festivities back then included events celebrating the harvest, fortune telling, dancing, and singing.
With the flood of Irish immigrants in the second half of the 19th century, Halloween, as we know it today, took off. Halloween continues to evolve in America and has become a fun-filled, annual dress-up celebration that is also starting to catch on in many other parts of the world.
How Can I Get Free Images Without Copyright?
It is possible to find free images without copyright as many websites offer limited numbers of copyright-free images. Many of them, like Rawpixel, use the lure of free images to attract traffic to their sites, which also include images that must be purchased. However, these sites are relatively common, so finding free images without copyright is pretty straightforward if you are patient.
If you are looking for free Halloween images without copyright, one of the safest things to do is use vintage ones. According to the US Copyright Office, copyrights usually last for the artist’s lifetime plus 70 years. Many charming vintage images were created more than 100 years ago, so the copyright has expired, so they are freely available in the public domain.
Why Are Vintage Halloween Cards So Creepy?
Halloween has always been a season with a bit of boo and the odd scary mask, but if you want to be really terrified, check out some vintage cards from the early 20th century!
By modern standards, they are the stuff of nightmares. Check out this example which depicts two young children running away from ‘The Bogie Man.’ If terrified infants aren’t enough, how about this one of a weeping pumpkin being cold-bloodedly butchered with a butter knife while his fellow pumpkins watch from over the fence!
Vintage cards had no filter and were deeply rooted in the Pagan traditions associated with the end of the bountiful harvest season and warding off evil spirits and death that may come lurking during winter. Halloween postcards with hallmark images containing rampaging witches, snarling cats, and terrifying ghouls became the order of the day. By today’s standards, many are bizarre and depict scenes of activities or games that are downright dangerous!