Sunday, October 11, 2009
The Scariest Halloween Costumes Ever Made
If you were a child during the 60s, 70s, 80s, or even the early 90s, you probably owned or remember other kids wearing a Ben Cooper or Collegeville Halloween costume. In the 70s, I can recall seeing colorful rows of these sorry excuses for disguises stacked way above my head at the town five and dime store. And yet I wanted some of them anyway. I remember I had the Charlie Brown and Lucy models, as well as Bozo the Clown and even Spider Man. There was no real reason that I can think of for me to want any of these costumes, as both my mother and one of my sisters wielded excellent costume making abilities and in future years, my costumes were always hand made. But there is something fascinating about the Ben Cooper/Collegeville phenomenon, and today the costumes and their original boxes are considered collector's items.
In case you don't know what they were, they basically consisted of a plastic painted mask (with two creepy holes cut out for your eyes) and a matching smock (usually displaying poor graphics) and that's pretty much it. Not to mention they weren't exactly safe - the holes barely afforded enough space to see and breathe, but what would a childhood growing up in the later half of the 20th century be without living a little vicariously? The best part of these costume manufacturers were that no pop culture character was considered too out there - there were actually ones for members of The Village People, Morgan Freeman's Easy Reader character from The Electric Company, the "Small Wonder" robot girl, Rubik's Cube, and Cha Chi from Happy Days. (Check out this post from Retrocrush to see these unusual examples and other outrageous versions.)
But the only thing scarier than the costumes themselves were the catalogs that went out to stores showing the season's selection. These scans came from the site PlaidStallions.com and highlight the costumes available for the 1980 season. I'm not so sure the artist who drew these spent much time around children; some of the body parts just look out of proportion and wrong.
Did you have one or more of these costumes growing up? If so, I'd love to hear which ones.