Everyone has been linking to the various Halloween goodies at Wonderful Wonderblog and the pictures of old Ben Cooper kids Halloween costumes from the 70s and 80s.

It’s a pretty remarkable sign of the progress in human evolution that we have gone from a holiday based around molded plastic masks of various characters accessorized with garish nylon jumpsuits to a holiday based around Sexy Nurse.

Seriously, why did you have to wear a MASK when these things were in vogue? I guess it had to do with secrecy and not letting the identity of the children taking your candy. I had a Ben Cooper costume or two in my childhood. I’m pretty sure one of them was a skeleton — I’d been terrorized by a Marcel Camus film as an even younger child — and I may have even worn it two years in a row. I realized that this wasn’t a good idea because the second year the mask was really stinky, like rotten eggs. After that experience I got with the program and started dressing like a pirate, just like everyone else.

People now may wear masks for Halloween but they are the full-on Rick Baker rubberized things. I can’t imagine those smell too good inside either.


  1. My favorite, for multiple outings, was The Thing of the FF — with a great relief orange-rock mask — that of course I could barely breathe through. Didn’t matter.

    But the Cooper costumes were one of the first places you could look to as far as merchandising and see TONS of cool comics characters before any of the action figures, etc. And everybody I knew had that Spidey one.

  2. I visited Halloween Adventure during my lunch break (for a simple domino mask), and the first thing I noticed was the smell of plastic.

    The plastic in these childhood costumes was much different, and every time I smell it, it transports me back to Halloween. I had a Scooby-Doo costume when I was five, which was quite good…my mother had a furry cap which kept my head warm, and the loose tunic allowed for multiple layers underneath to ward off the early winter chill of Nebraska (always a misty chilly evening, except for that one blizzard which cancelled the holiday).


    Collegeville was the other costume company (best known in comics circles for their Alfred E. Neuman costume).

    Ah… the graveyard of forgotten characters… Kid Power, Wacky Witch…

    Oh wow… Ultra Man! And “The Bat” which is such a blatant copy…his chest logo even says “The Bat”!

    In 1979, they had Kiss and Battlestar Galactica (I pity the kid dressed as “Muffey”…)! Lord of the Rings! (Oh man, what is that Ringwraith costume worth now?), Ziggy (he’ll be in therapy longer than the kid wearing the Muffey outfit)! The Wiz! The Electric Company! Marie Osmond!

    Oh, and 1983 gets even better (in not a good way)… Asteroids (a great serial killer mask) and Rubik’s Cube!

    Hmmm… is anyone manufacturing new versions of this style of costume?