The Best of the Edward Gorey Envelope Art Contest

What a delight it must have been to have been one of Edward Gorey’s cor­re­spon­dents, or even a postal work­er charged with han­dling his out­go­ing mail.

The late author and illus­tra­tor had a pen­chant for embell­ish­ing envelopes with the hairy beasts, pok­er-faced chil­dren, and cats who are the main­stays of his dark­ly humor­ous aes­thet­ic.

(A num­ber of these envelopes and some 60 post­cards and sketch­es are includ­ed in Float­ing Worlds: The Let­ters of Edward Gorey and Peter F. Neumey­erwhich doc­u­ments the cor­re­spon­dence-based friend­ship between Gorey and the author with whom he col­lab­o­rat­ed on three children’s books, includ­ing the delight­ful­ly macabre Don­ald Has a Dif­fi­cul­ty.)

The Edward Gorey House, a beloved Cape Cod res­i­dence turned muse­um, has been keep­ing the tra­di­tion alive with its annu­al Hal­loween Enve­lope Art Con­test.

Com­peti­tors of all ages vie for the oppor­tu­ni­ty to have their win­ning (and run­ners up and “very-close-to-being-run­ners-up”) Gorey-inspired entries dis­played in the Gorey House and its dig­i­tal exten­sions.

2019’s theme is the high­ly evoca­tive “Uncom­fort­able Crea­tures” … and depend­ing on the speed with which you can exe­cute a bril­liant idea and deliv­er it to the post office, you may still have a shot—entries must be post­marked by Mon­day, Octo­ber 21, with win­ners to be announced on Hal­loween.

In addi­tion to Stef Kiihn Aschenbrenner’s win­ning enve­lope from the 2018 contest’s over-18 cat­e­go­ry (top), some of our favorites from past years are repro­duced here. Our inky-black hearts are espe­cial­ly warmed to see the spir­it of the mas­ter kin­dling the imag­i­na­tions of the youngest entrants—special shout out to Daniel Miley, aged 4.

View five years’ worth of notable Hal­loween Enve­lope Con­test entries on the Edward Gorey House web­site (20182017201620152014) or down­load the offi­cial entry form and race to the post office with your bid for 2019 glo­ry.

Entries must be post­marked by Mon­day, Octo­ber 21 and addressed to Edward Gorey House, 8 Straw­ber­ry Lane, Yarmouth Port, MA 02675 USA.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Lemo­ny Snick­et Reveals His Edward Gorey Obses­sion in an Upcom­ing Ani­mat­ed Doc­u­men­tary

Edward Gorey Talks About His Love Cats & More in the Ani­mat­ed Series, “Goreytelling”

Edward Gorey Illus­trates H.G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds in His Inim­itable Goth­ic Style (1960)

Ayun Hal­l­i­day is an author, illus­tra­tor, the­ater mak­er and Chief Pri­ma­tol­o­gist of the East Vil­lage Inky zine.  Join her in NYC on Mon­day, Novem­ber 4 when her month­ly book-based vari­ety show, Necro­mancers of the Pub­lic Domain cel­e­brates Louise Jor­dan Miln’s “Woo­ings and Wed­dings in Many Climes (1900). Fol­low her @AyunHalliday.

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  • A Nonnymouse says:

    One of those, a child on the shore and Cthul­hu out in the ocean, is a direct copy of a John Kenn Mortensen draw­ing. Very well done, con­sid­er­ing the age, but copied from anoth­er artist who is influ­enced by Gorey.

  • JR says:

    That stinks.And it stinks that the judges did­n’t think — WHOA! I hope you told, or will tell, Edward Gorey House to watch for this.

    As it is the con­test does­n’t dif­fer­en­ti­ate between pro­fes­sion­al artists and ama­teurs. It should­n’t eral­ly mat­ter, but it gets daunt­ing to always be com­pet­ing with such, and with “influ­encers,” and and and.. it gets increas­ing­ly dif­fi­cult to do some­thing for fun — and I always used to be able to do so.

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