Staring at the illustrations on the costume box and admiring the mask through the clear cellophane just before I pulled out what I would wear for Halloween was a ritual that I remember with so much happiness. These memories come from the late 1970s and very early 1980s, yet I can still feel the fiber of the thin cardboard box against my small hands and I can still smell the vinyl as I would first pull the costume out of the box.
And the Magic-Glo - there was nothing like the soft green glow coming from kid's costumes as the smell of caramel, chocolate, licorice, Blow Pops, and pop culture would come wafting from the plastic pumpkin shaped buckets or the super hero pillow cases little Gen Xers would use to hold their candy.
At the time I never noticed the Ben Cooper brand on these costumes, though now that name is the perfect search term for looking up pictures of Gen Xers in Halloween costumes through the years as we grew up. Considering how easily these types of costumes would fall apart if you tried to wear them more than just on Halloween night, I guess this company saw a market for "sturdy" costumes you could wear over and over, like when you just can't wait for Halloween, and maybe even when it's already Thanksgiving. I have a vague memory of seeing this cardboard box in a fellow Gen Xer's toy box when I was very small:
Collegeville was the other main competing company to Ben Cooper at the time. This is another good search term for looking up pictures of Gen Xers dressed as all the cartoon characters we used to watch.
My favorite Ben Cooper costume that I wore was Casper the Friendly Ghost. Apparently both Ben Cooper and Collegeville had the commercial rights to Casper...here's what was going on behind the scenes for retailers who were thinking of selling the costumes in their stores that we bought and took home as little kids:
Happy Halloween, Generation X.