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Halloween Costumes "Ben Cooper and Collegeville" By Euphrates
I was out for a walk on a late autumn night a few years ago, when suddenly
I was struck by the memory of the moisture that collects inside of a plastic
halloween mask and the way the rubber band that held it to your head would
pull the back of your hair. I am always looking for something goofy to
collect, especially if it was part of my childhood, so this seemed like an
omen to start accumulating some halloween costumes.
My initial research taught me that there were three major halloween costume makers: Ben Cooper, Collegeville and Halco. I also learned that they have been making costumes since at least the late '50s and that Ben Cooper was still making costumes as late as the early '90s. Most of the costumes are based on TV and movie stars but some are generic like a pirate, witch or a devil.
The great thing about collecting costumes is that they are affordable, often $15-$30 and they are a great representation of pop culture. The downside is that most of the vintage costumes that are available have been worn by children staggering up and down the street in the dark. While it is common to find the costumes with their original boxes (An interesting note: it is not uncommon for the costumes and the boxes to be mismatched. I believe that these are factory errors since I have seen many old store stock mismatched examples.), it is equally common to find them with the nose of the mask bashed in, the rubber band strap broken (ouch!) and the cello torn. This is because you can NEVER get the costume folded back in the box flat enough for the lid to fit on the box again. This is a great way to tell if the costume has ever been worn or not! They are as flat as notebook paper when you first buy them. They are like folding a wet tent after you remove them once.
Here is a partial list of some of the costumes that I have seen from the top three manufacturers. I add this not to show you everything ever made but rather to inspire. Surely you were one of these characters in your tender years, weren't you?