Ten Halloween Costumes That Time Forgot

The sweaty, itchy masks. The teeny-tiny eye holes that were too far apart, too close together, or otherwise misaligned with your actual pupils. The flame-retarded, glow-in-the-dark pajama costumes with the flimsy tie-strings and the cheesy designs. The smart-aleck grown-ups who insisted you do a trick before handing over the treat.

Ah, the joys of Halloween! Remember returning home victorious, hoisting your bulging bag and dumping your stash of sweets on the table for the all-important inspection?  Immediately followed by three solid hours of glucose-induced gluttony. It was the emotional climax of the holiday.

But the process of choosing a Halloween costume came a close second. The annual pilgrimage  to the local five-and-dime store to pick out a costume required careful consideration. Would it be Batman? Space Ghost? GI Joe? Or, would we cave in when our mom suggested something hideously lame, like Casper the Friendly Ghost or Peter Rabbit?

The dilemma dominated lunch table conversation for weeks. Girls always seemed to have an easier time, because, let’s face it, their choices were limited: Cinderella, Snow White, or 37 variations of a witch (although the situation improved markedly with the arrival of Penelope Pitstop and Josie and the Pussycats.)

The three major costume companies, Ben Cooper, Collegeville and Halco, battled it out to snag the most popular licensed characters. Halco always seemed to draw the short straw for some reason, offering costumes that no self-respecting kid would be caught dead in, like Professor Potts from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang or the (uber politically incorrect) China Man. On the plus side, they did score the Lone Ranger and Matt Dillon from Gunsmoke.

Even with a solid stable of stars, predicting which costumes would strike gold was tough. Kids are a fickle lot. The popularity of any given TV character can disappear faster than a Snickers bar in the hands of a six year old. For every Captain America, there are countless Atom Ants, Fearless Flies and Milton the Monsters who enjoy a brief blip of fame and then flame out, never to be heard from again.

Which brings us to the 10 Halloween Costumes That Time Forgot. Originally launched with heady hype and high hopes for monster-size profits, these ill-fated costume characters quickly faded into oblivion, and now languish in their final resting place, in all their flame-retardant 100% rayon glory, on one of the spookier, dustier shelves in the Brand Museum:


1. The Red Skull


2. Bugalu


3. Funky Phantom


4. Spooky

5. Fleabag


6. Witchiepoo


7. Gone and Fred Gonk


8. Shazzan


9.Dr.  Solar

10. Peter Puck


Explore posts in the same categories: 1960s, Baby Boomers

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