"Halloween in a Box" tells the story of plastic costumes of yore

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/10/03/halloween-in-a-box-tells-t.html

3 Likes

Ah, a 1970s and early 80s chilhood. I can still remember the sweaty condensation and unique plastic-y smell that I experienced wearing one of those shoddy masks. I think that the longest I went was 20 minutes before taking it off (leaving on the equally crappy smock “costume”). A few times the stapled-on elastic just snapped off, sparing me the trouble.

Crappy and corporate though they were, though, I didn’t know the role of the manufacturers in fighting against the hand-wringing panic-mongers (and I assume the Xtianists) who took advantage of the Tylenol scare to try to shut down Halloween.

7 Likes

I like that sexy PeeWee Herman costume in the article header.

2 Likes

A holiday in a box, have you. God I miss the '80s

11 Likes

Yeah, what I remember that was more connected to these costumes for decades before the Tylenol scare was the flammability hazard. Was it Nader who was spearheading that crusade?

5 Likes

Usually with a little mouth slit that you could cut your tongue on.

9 Likes

Came here for this; was not disappointed.

I’ll assume that they were made out of PCBs or some such.

5 Likes

Ah, those masks! I remember them well. The joys of dashing across the streets in the late-fall gloaming with an obstructed field of vision while high on sugar and distracted by other children…no wonder my mom made my big brother (who was a teenager) go with us to supervise.

3 Likes

I thought it was PJs that Nader went after?

4 Likes

tenor

5 Likes

Ah, yes. I remember now.
Still, the plastic Halloween costumes predated the Tylenol scare for years. I think I remember we had both Batman and Casper costumes in our household in the late 60s.

Bonus: We also had a Sleestak costume during the heyday of Land of the Lost. My brother looked more like a rotten banana than a Sleestak.

5 Likes

The only one I remember doing was Wonder Woman. For whatever reason, I really don’t remember what I wore for Halloween for most of my childhood.

3 Likes

What I remember of childhood Halloween is manufacturing weapons and going out and breaking shit.
Well, not very much shit.

Well, one thing anyway.

A couple classics:
image

image

11 Likes

I’m another kid who got home-made costumes.

Later, I made my own. A couple of times, I won a silver dollar from the Rotary Club guys who judged costumes at the Boys’ Club Halloween party.

And BOTH TIMES I lost the coin in the strobe-lit “spook alley” run by the older kids.

8 Likes

I was a Hollywood film classic devotee of horror as a grade-schooler. I remember the year my stepmom spent two hours helping me apply fake hair with spirit gum to my face, and the rest of the day explaining to people I was a werewolf, not a dog.

5 Likes

when I was a kid, many commercial haloween costumes could be described as

mask + shirt pants with a logo.

so, if you wanted the bottom half of a darth vader costume to go with that plastic mask, your mom would have to sew something together. Maybe it’s supposed to answer that age old question-- “and what are you supposed to be dearie?”

4 Likes

This topic was automatically closed after 5 days. New replies are no longer allowed.