Johnny Pumpkin Head, USA, Beistle, (printed name), 1918-1919, 16.25″ h x 7.75″ w, non-embossed, easel back. The Johnny Pumpkin Head family of decorations was made by Beistle during a brief window of 1919-1922. Beistle issued the family in these formerly designated sizes, all non-embossed on flat stock, medium weight cardboard: five inch, eight inch, eleven inch, sixteen inch and twenty inch, although there are variations to size with nearly all of them. This indubitable first production run variant has the most divergent artwork of the myriad brethren. The pronounced, large-nostriled, nose conceivably pre-dates the established asymmetrical triangular nose. It is probable this early design, perhaps even inaugural representation, was likely tabled while reimagining its present modification. I suspect this decidedly rare ephemeral rendering was made for only a single season in 1918 before being discontinued altogether. A plausible explanation as to why this conspicuous, large-nostriled, nose iteration is so scarce.
This elaborate lithographed iconic scene depicting a children’s costumed Halloween party further corroborates a date of origin. A large-nostriled Johnny Pumpkin Head appears in the forefront with Miss Polka Dot in artwork illustrated on the reverse side of Beistle’s 8 Giant Silhouettes for Hallowe’en Decorations, 1918-1920, and repurposed on oodles of early Beistle enveloped sets. The festive illustration incorporated many of Beistle’s party hats, decorations, die cuts, silhouettes, banners, garland, candy boxes and favors of the period.