ANOKA, Minn., Sept. 29, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Let all ghosts and goblins beware. The U.S. Postal Service today kicked off the 2016 Halloween celebration by issuing the Jack-o'-lanterns Forever Stamps at Anoka City Hall Plaza. Anoka is known as the "Halloween Capital of the World."
The sheet of 20 stamps features four different photographs of jack-o'-lanterns. The jack-o'-lanterns were carved by Paul Montanari and photographed by Sally Andersen-Bruce. The stamps were designed by art director Derry Noyes.
"The Postal Service is proud to issue its first Halloween-themed stamps," said U.S. Postal Service Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President Joseph Corbett, who dedicated the stamps.
"It is my hope that these stamps will rekindle special memories for everyone mailing or receiving postcards, letters and packages with these stamps affixed," Corbett said.
Other participants at the dedication ceremony included Minnesota State Sen. Jim Abeler; Peter Turok, president, Anoka Area Chamber of Commerce; Rebecca Ebnet Mavencamp, executive director, Anoka County Historical Society; Samantha Jenson, student, St. Stephen's Catholic School; and, Sally Andersen-Bruce, photographer of the Jack'o'lanterns Forever stamps. Emily Engberg, reporter, "Twin Cities Live," KSTP-TV, served as master of ceremonies. The Anoka American Legion, Edward B. Cutter Post 102, and Anoka High School Ensemble Band delivered special performances.
With customs and traditions that vary widely by community, Halloween now inspires parades and revelry, corn mazes and haunted houses, neighborhood and school parties, jack-o'-lantern and pumpkin festivals and even pumpkin-catapulting. No matter how or where people observe this ever-changing holiday in the early 21st century, Halloween remains a much-anticipated celebration.
Brought to North America by immigrants from Ireland and Scotland, Halloween soon became a distinctively American celebration that transcended social boundaries and ethnic origin. A 2014 survey showed that nearly 67 percent of the American population celebrates Halloween in some way — and jack-o'-lanterns are always there to lend a festive glow.
In Europe, these ghoulish lanterns were originally carved out of turnips — but in North America, native pumpkins proved to be a more fitting medium. Now emblematic sights at autumn festivals and Halloween events, they grin and stare from windows and porches, ingeniously combining the eerie feel of the season with the uncanny pleasure of laughing at the darkness.
The Jack-o'-lanterns stamps are being issued as Forever stamps, which will always be equal in value to the current First-Class Mail one-ounce price.
Halloween fans are encouraged to share the news on social media using the hashtag #HalloweenStamps.
Customers may purchase the Jack-o'-lanterns Forever stamps at usps.com/stamps, at the Postal Store usps.com/shop, by calling 800-STAMP24 (800-782-6724) and at Post Offices nationwide. A variety of stamps and collectibles also is available at ebay.com/stamps.
Ordering First-Day-of-Issue Postmarks
Customers have 60 days to obtain first-day-of-issue postmarks by mail. They may purchase new stamps at local Post Offices, at the Postal Store usps.com/shop or by calling 800-STAMP-24. They should affix the stamps to envelopes of their choice, address the envelopes to themselves or others and place them in envelopes addressed to:
Stamp Fulfillment Services
8300 NE Underground Drive, Pillar 210
Kansas City, MO 64144-9998
After applying the first-day-of-issue postmark, the Postal Service will return the envelopes through the mail. There is no charge for postmarks up to a quantity of 50. For more than 50, customers are charged 5 cents each. All orders must be postmarked by Nov. 29, 2016.
Ordering First-Day Covers
The Postal Service also offers first-day covers for new stamps and stationery items postmarked with the official first-day-of-issue cancellation. Each item has an individual catalog number and is offered in the quarterly USA Philatelic catalog, online at usps.com/shop or by calling 800-782-6724. Customers may request a free catalog by calling 800-782-6724 or writing to:
U.S. Postal Service
PO Box 219014
Kansas City, MO 64121-9014
There are six philatelic products for this stamp issue:
- 681406, Press Sheet with Die-cut, $56.40.
- 681410, Digital Color Postmark Keepsake (Set of 4), $15.95.
- 681416, First-Day Cover (Set of 4), $3.64.
- 681421, Digital Color Postmark (Set of 4), $6.48.
- 681424, Framed Art, $29.95.
- 681430, Ceremony Program (Random Single), $6.95.
Many of this year's other stamps may be viewed on Facebook at facebook.com/USPSStamps or via Twitter @USPSstamps.
The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.
Please Note: For broadcast quality video and audio, photo stills and other media resources, visit the USPS Newsroom at about.usps.com/news/welcome.htm.
For reporters interested in speaking with a regional Postal Service public relations professional, please go to about.usps.com/news/media-contacts/usps-local-media-contacts.pdf. Follow us on Twitter (twitter.com/usps), Instagram (instagram.com/uspostalservice), Pinterest (pinterest.com/uspsstamps), LinkedIn (linkedin.com/company/usps), subscribe to our channel on YouTube (youtube.com/usps), like us on Facebook (facebook.com/usps) and view our Postal Postsblog (uspsblog.com).
For more information about the Postal Service, visit usps.com and usps.com/postalfacts.
A photo accompanying this release is available at: http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=41534