If Hallowe’en’s a starry night
You’ll see the Gobelins in flight
Perched on their black Bat aeroplanes
They flit about the weather vanes!
I’m not sure if this vintage postcard includes a typo, or an antiquated spelling of “goblin.” In modern English, a “goblin” is an evil and mischievous, somewhat gnome-like, creature. A “Gobelin” is a type of tapestry named for a family of French dyers who produced the artful textile.
The gal in the postcard looks pretty comfortable with the creatures, so maybe she’s one of the Gobelin family…she does have a nicely dyed sash.
I find this vintage Halloween postcard very melancholy. The witch doesn’t look menacing. She doesn’t seem to be plotting against the young girls inside. She looks lonely. An outsider. She looks like she wants to ring the bell, have the girls invite her inside, and bob for apples like one of the gang.
But despite her inclination, she decides against making herself known. She’s been burned too many times before. Shunned once too often. So misunderstood. So she remains an outsider with only her friends Mr. Cat and Mr. Owl to console her…and the full moon mocking her unfortunate station in life.
Be kind to the outsiders this Halloween. And if you see a “wicked” witch looking in, invite her inside to enjoy your own brand of festivities.
Ya know, when I was a kid I was really fearful of the “witching hour.” I wasn’t quite sure what it was, but my assumption was that it involved the inside of my closet coming to life with horrors in the middle of the night, which is why I always triple-checked that my closet door was tightly shut before I went to sleep.
But if I had been familiar with this vintage Halloween postcard, I might not have been so worried. Observe the rather pleasant, or at least non-gruesome, elements: Jolly full moon/jack-o-lantern; cheerful rosy-cheeked old woman (presumably a witch) riding a hobby horse/broom (or is it a hobby kangaroo?); bundles of hay; and a playful white cat. These images seem like the antitheses of traditional Halloween icons.
The only aspect that remains somewhat true to the holiday’s horrific heritage are the black bats, but even they seem far from menacing. So enjoy this postcard. Absorb it into your psyche. And sleep better knowing the closet is filled with not-so-bad things after all.