Q: My mother-in-law bought these metal pumpkins about 1950 for a Halloween party for her children. She gave them to me several years ago. She said you were supposed to put a candle in them to light them up. I tried, but the holes in the eyes and nose are too small. There are holes on top for a handle, but I never saw one. They are decorated on both sides but as you can see they don’t all line up properly. They are 5 inches high and are marked “U.S. Metal Toy Mfg. Co., Made in U.S.A.” I’d like any information you have on them and their worth.

A: The missing wire handle is the clue to what these jack-’o-lanterns were used for. They were meant for children to use to collect candy while trick or treating. The pumpkins can also be found with a plastic noisemaker that fits into the nose opening. Older versions of the jack-’o-lanterns were made with different decorations on the back. U.S. Metal Toy Mfg. Co. is best known for its tin noisemakers. The company was in business in New York City but not much else is known about it. The toys seem to have been made from the late 1930s or’40s until at least the late 1950s. The jack-’o-lanterns in good condition have sold from $60 to $80 in auctions.

jack o lantern halloween pumpkin decoration


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