|Written by Paul D. Race for and|
Who Makes Halloween Village Buildings? - You can, if you want to. Check out our Spook Hill™ building projects. That link is also good if you're just looking for ideas to "flesh out" the Halloween town you already have. On the other hand, if you're interested in shopping for Halloween-themed buildings, this page contains notes on the major manufacturers.
A Note About Cheapies - We have left out the folks who make Halloween Village products for discount stores such as Big Lots®. Some of them are nicely made, but the quality is very uneven. And most of the "brand names" last only a season - it would take me longer to research and write about them than they'll be on the shelves this fall. I would recommend getting to know the quality of the brand name products - once you do it's not hard to figure out why discount stores can sell their versions so much cheaper. That said, I do check out the cheapie accessories if I'm happen to pass them in the store. Every year or so, I find a bench or lamp-post or something I can use.
Note about Hawthorne Village® Halloween Village Products: If you've reviewed our product pages, you've probably noticed that we provide many more links to Hawthorne Village® products than we do to other village collections. The truth is that we like many of the products from the other manufacturers on this page, but they come and go so fast that it's hard to keep links to them up to date. The Hathorne Village collections, on the other hand, usually remain available long enough to make it worthwhile to post descriptions, photographs, and links. In addition, Hawthorne Village makes far more Halloween village collections, buildings, and accessories than the other manufacturers, so there's, frankly, a bit more to say. Please feel free to contact us with questions about any Halloween town or train you come across; if we know the answer, we will try to help you.
Dept. 56®Dept. 56 popularized the modern ceramic holiday village, and their Halloween lines maintain their reputation for quality and cleverness. Most of the buildings use high-quality porcelain, although other materials, such as glass and resin, are added in when appropriate.
Most Dept. 56 Halloween-themed village products are part of the "Original Snow Village® Halloween Collection." Recent offerings include the "Rickety Railroad Station" and "Grimsly Manor," a classic "haunted" Victorian manse.
Interestingly, Dept. 56 had a series in the 1990s called "Sleepy Hollow," which emphasized the rural Dutch Colonial architecture of Washington Irving's famous setting. Attractive, but not exactly spooky. In December, 2008, they added a spookier version called the "Legends of Sleepy Hallow-een," including figures to let you reenact Ichabod Crane's famous encounter with Brom, er, the Headless Horseman.
Dept. 56 sells their collectible Halloween village buildings one building at a time. This means that you can just choose the few that you want, but you may miss a building if you're trying to get a whole series. It also means that I have trouble keeping links to these products updated, because individual retailers' stocks come and go quickly. As an example, I added links to several Dept. 56 Halloween products on one page in August, 2009, but those vendors' stocks were depleted by mid-September.
Dept. 56's preferred distribution method is to sell through approved retailers with legitimate "brick-and-mortar" store fronts (though a number of other providers always seem to have buildings to offer on the internet). If you ARE a Dept. 56 collector, try to buy through area storefronts if you can - that's what keeps their business model working.
For more information about Dept, 56® collectible villages in general, check out our Family Christmas Online™ article Notes on Dept. 56®.)
Lemax®'s "Spooky Town" CollectionThe Spooky Town buildings, figures, and accessories from Lemax® are available at craft, department, and even hardware stores starting about Labor Day and usually being closed out about Beggar's Night. In the past, Lemax accessories have had more quality issues than have Dept. 56 or Hawthorne Village. The quality of their buildings seems to be improving, though, as shown by the Dreadful Manor photo to the right.
One advantage of Lemax is that it is often sold at deep discounts after the holiday. This can help you get products to supplement your Halloween Village for next year, no matter who made most of your existing setup.
Hawthorne Village™ Halloween VillagesHawthorne Village makes more Halloween-themed villages and accessories than anybody, and they maintain high quality throughout their line. Unlike Dept. 56, you buy most Hawthorne Village Halloween villages by "subscribing" to a collection. You get and pay for each "issue" about every four weeks, although you can return and get a full refund for any issue you didn't really want (within 365 days), and you can cancel your subscription at any time. Folks who collect Hawthorne Village appreciate the fact that they don't have to worry about getting all but one piece of a desired collection.
In addition, while most brands of Halloween village products offer a relatively "generic" vision of Halloween, Hawthorne Villages' Halloween villages offer whole villages and trains inspired by specific shows such as Nightmare Before Christmas. So if you're a fan of movies or classic television, as well as a fan of Halloween, you may find a Halloween village and or train that is especially interesting to you.
Hawthorne Village also usually offers some Halloween villages that are completely family-friendly.
For more information about Hawthorne Village® in general, check out our Family Christmas Online™ article Notes on Hawthorne Village®.
For more information about specific Hawthorne Village towns or trains, check out our HalloweenTrains.com home page.
Related Articles and LinksAs you know, Halloween villages and trains are at least a century newer than Christmas villages. So to help you get the most enjoyment out of your Halloween village and railroad, we've provided references both to historical holiday village information and brand new Halloween projects you will enjoy. We usually have a couple more projects in the works at any given time, so Join our Mailing List to be notified when new articles are posted.
In addition, you can help by sending us project tips, article ideas, and photos of your railroads and villages. We want our pages to be as useful as possible to as many people as they can be. As the hobby grows, we all benefit.
For more information about the centuries-old tradition of setting up holiday villages, check out the Family Christmas Online™ article A Brief History of Christmas Villages
The following Spook Hill™ projects are currently available. We already have three more projects on the drawing board for 2009, but if you get started early, you can have a nice Halloween community by this Halloween.
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