Hangin’ with Ben Cooper

My wife has recently been obsessed by crappy Halloween costumes, and I figured that might be a decent subject for a post. Perhaps the most famous manufacturer of such costumes was Ben Cooper, Inc., a company that started out making theatrical costumes in the late 1920s. The decline in live theater correlated with the rise in the celebration of Halloween, so the company switched over to focusing on Halloween costumes. Many of them were licensed, which means it was probably the only official way to dress up as Mickey Mouse or Superman. The quality was quite low, though, with a costume typically consisting of a plastic mask and a sort of shirt that ripped really easily. The shirt often inexplicably featured the character’s name and/or a picture of the character, because your favorite superheroes and cartoon characters were always wearing clothing depicting themselves, right? Do you think Mickey would ever wear an outfit like this?

Yeah, I know Mickey didn’t really wear a shirt at all, but still. Actually, when I saw a picture of someone in one of these masks, I thought it was Mighty Mouse. And remember Fred Flintstone’s famous yellow shirt and tie with his own picture on it? Neither do I.

Here’s a favorite of mine, from a list of bad costumes. It’s an Asteroids costume. How does that even make sense?

At least Pac-Man was a character, although the costume wasn’t much better.

I have to wonder if the reason for the text and pictures is that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to tell what the costume was supposed to be. I never wore any of these costumes, but many other people did. Ben Cooper, Inc. went out of business in the early nineties, which means it had a really good run.

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1 Response to Hangin’ with Ben Cooper

  1. samuraifrog says:

    I remember wearing these for a few years as a kid. I think I was Snoopy one year, and Scooby-Doo another, but I don’t remember the others. Maybe Winnie the Pooh? When I was a kid it was sort of understood that those costumes were for very little kids. I remember when I was about 8 I got a mask of Mer-Man from Masters of the Universe and was very excited to wear a “real” mask that went over my whole head. (It was a sweat-drenched experience; sweaty rubber and plastic that Halloween).

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