Tag Archives: Retro Halloween

Vintage Halloween Horrors: The Creepiest Ben Cooper Masks I’ve Ever Seen

It’s not an opinion- it’s science folks. The beloved Ben Cooper masks and costumes are a symbol of yesteryear’s Halloween. A time when making the neighborhood rounds in noisy plastic costumes while carrying your mom’s pillowcase for the candy haul, or if you were the cool kid, a McDonald’s McBoo Bucket, was the highlight of the year for many little horror-heads everywhere. Whether your Ben Cooper costume of choice was a Master of the Universe, or the doll of false dreams Barbie, I think we can all collectively agree that while we all thought we looked super cool, turns out we really were creeping the shit out of our parental units with what my Dad refers to as, “Plastic Heart-Attacks.”

I suppose he has a bit of a point…


Although completely unintentional I’m sure, there truly is no denying the subtle creep factor these costumes gave off looking back on them now with adult(ish) eyes. While of course, these collective images of plas-tastic nightmares are on top of my unsettling Ben Cooper masks list, I challenge anyone reading this to say that they could never picture a serial killer hiding underneath these simple, yet chilling stringed- facial huggers.

Happy the Clown

Ben Cooper Clown

Image via Etsy

Straight out of your worst nightmares, Happy the Clown surfaced from the company sometime in the ‘80s and in my humble opinion, is the damn creepiest of the many Cooper clown variants over the years. Possibly due to the fact it always reminded me of the heavier set of the trio of clowns from 1989’s Clownhouse. Just. NOPE.

Ghostbusters Egon

Egon Ben Cooper

Image via Etsy

This Egon mask take from The Real Ghostbusters Saturday morning splendor from the mid-‘80s is mildly creepy. My train of thought runs, the simpler the mask, the creepier it comes across. The mildly surprised expression from the Ghostbustin’ favorite makes for something quite eerie here. Give me the ghosts over this plastic nightmare any day.

Beatle Paul McCartney

paul BC

Image via Pinterest

This. Is just bizarre, and I can’t look away. Perhaps what is most perplexing, is how the hell this was deemed a normal mask in 1964. Vintage Halloween never seems to let me down as modern times don’t hold a candle to this kind of gem. As stated, my favorite part about this is that is not meant to come off as creepy. Beatlemania never looked so damn terrifying.

King Kong (1976)

kong BC

Image via Etsy

pasted image 0

Image via Ebay– Both are equally as horrifying.

Because 1976 Kong wasn’t quite scary enough, the fine folks at the Ben Cooper Company just had to release this little number. OK, I know you’re probably thinking, this isn’t so bad? I’ll admit, this is a more personal thing for me, as 1976 Kong traumatized the crap out of me when I was a kid. Aside from the freaky mask, the smock is wonderfully designed with Kong in battle atop the World Trade Center. This just reminds me of the gory-as-hell ending from the Dino De Laurentiis production. I got my big girl panties on. Bring on the jokes.

Hairy & Scary

hairy and scary

Image via Pinterest

The Hairy & Scary line of Cooper masks add a little extra edge and while all variants of the curly-headed mask are sufficiently frightening on their own, THIS gorilla mask races to the front of the line with the creep factor. Although if you’re asking me, the mask looks more like it’s channeling the Zuni doll from Trilogy of Terror. This is why I felt like I would be doing a disservice to readers if I didn’t mention this sucker.

The Chattermouth Cooper Variant


Image via Etsy

The highly recognizable Chattermouth Ben Cooper line disables those muffled voices inside the plastic masks, and steps up the game with a moveable jawline. Productive? Yes. Less horrifying? Not even a little bit.

Phantom of the Opera


Image via Pinterest

The 1964 Phantom Ben Cooper mask looks more like Leatherface than a Phantom, but maybe that’s why it’s so damn scary. The acidic burns on both sides of the face rather than just the one, gives this version of the Phantom in the Ben Cooper universe a slight edge, even if it’s not what we’re accustomed to seeing. I like that ballsy move. You have to respect that.

Hobo with a Bowtie


Image via Etsy

Clearly, the Ben Cooper Hobo is modeled after the infamous melancholy hobo clown Emmett Kelly. If I’m wrong, there’s a hell of a resemblance going on there. Either way, you can’t argue the unnerving facial structure.

Bozo the Clown

Vintage Halloween Horrors: The Creepiest Ben Cooper Masks I've Ever Seen
credit: Ebay

While the infamous 1963 Ben Cooper clown mask and costume is the most recognized, in my personal opinion, the 1966 Bozo uniform has it beat by a mile. If I saw this on my doorstep, I would give the kid wearing it a card to my therapist in lieu of candy.


Image: Antique Trader


The smell of colorful plastic under your nostrils and vinyl smocks ensured that the “High Priest of Halloween” company dominated the scene of Samhain in not just the ‘70s and ‘80s, but for over 50 glorious years until the company ultimately went bankrupt in 1992.  

Ben Cooper masks may be off the modern market, but they will forever live in our Halloween hearts as a nostalgic memory of how simplistic, yet terrifying a mere Halloween mask once was.  As we’re strolling down vinyl Halloween memory lane, check out this really cool video put together by YouTuber Alanna Grace that showcases an array of costumes, of which the bulk is of course, Ben Cooper. Enjoy Nostalgic Nuggets!

Is there a particular Cooper mask or costume that you feel should be included? Let’s discuss some creep-tastic retro Halloween fuzzies below!

Halloween 4 Is The GOAT For Halloween Nostalgia

I’m slightly obsessed with Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers as this is the Halloween film I probably watched most as a kid on VHS. Growing up with a father who saw the original in theaters and is just as obsessed with the series, fate would have it that this love for the franchise would trickle down the gene pool as well. Hell, I even find a bit of charm in Dangertainment for fuck’s sake. That’s commitment, and I’ll fight you to the death if you utter any slight against Season of the Witch. However, as much as I love all the films and the original is an untouched classic that will forever hold the top spot as Halloween cinema champion, Halloween 4 is the GOAT for retro Halloween fuzzies and the best film in the series to put you into that spooky season feeling.

The opening credits

I’d be hard-pressed not to say this might be the BEST opening in the entire franchise. Had Loomis not screamed, “You don’t know what death is,” and had a skull pumpkin intro in Halloween II, well then shit there would be no contenders. The opening sequence here to the long-awaited return of the Shape after fans booed Halloween III into the pits of cinematic hell (only to be resurrected beautifully later), is the perfect stage of sinister Autumn ambiance set in the silent, yet spooky Midwest. The simplicity of this adds an uneasiness to the air, that something evil is lurking and foreshadowing the chaos to come. And that’s something the 80s’ is infamous for via the Halloween holiday. The simplicity of it all with janky homemade decor strung about that adds a slight edge over any animatronic you might find at any Halloween superstore. It’s eerie as fuck and captures the setting of a 1988 Halloween small Midwestern town perfectly. As a matter of fact, this opening alone needs all the awards. Can we make that happen already?

Jamie’s School

The scenes’ in Jamie’s school are both frustrating and beautifully nostalgic. While you want to punch the shit out of these kids for saying these awful things to this poor kid, the scenic atmosphere that rings all the nostalgic bells in my Spidey Senses goes off at a flashgun rate. From the noisy plastic costumes with the Ben Cooper masks to the die-cut Halloween décor plastering the halls of the school, it makes for one HELL of a nostalgia-fest; including the bullying aspect. We’ve all been there- hopefully not to this extent, but we all know kids can be ruthless bastards.

Vincent’s Drug Store

Aside from the opener, Vincent’s Drug store scene is my absolute favorite part of this movie. My Goddess, it’s like a wave of childhood memories drowning me in my own nostalgic mojo goo. Aside from all that, it’s a fairly crucial scene as this is where Michael picks up his mask for the movie. Dwight H. Little did an excellent job here much like with the rest of the film, capturing the ambiance of a 1980s Mom and Pop shop during the Halloween holiday season. I’ve studied this scene dozens of times. it’s a fun little activity if you’re bored, and there is a TREASURE TROVE of Halloween memories found within Vincent’s Drug. Apart from the cool wall of masks, I’m sure most fans of the film have seen what I’m talking about it here, but in case you need a refresher…

Like a Garbage Pail Kids plastic costume!

Halloween Blow-Molds! *Upper right corner*

And of course the infamous dangly spider we all had along with a Nightmare Makeup Kit!

And finally, the 80s’ ambiance of trick or treating

Aside from Halloween III, the Halloween films don’t really focus on this all-important aspect of the holiday. In H4 however, we got a whole part of the movie dedicated to it as a set-up for the looming evil that is following Jamie and Rachel. Something about the gloomy blue and black hues scored with a bunch of kids running around in their garbage bag costumes just gets me feeling fuzzy about the whole thing. Also, the Halloween decorations (again) give into that nostalgic feeling of happiness. Numerous jointed skeletons are found in this movie. And I can’t seem to get enough of them.

So there it is. The GOAT for Halloween movie nostalgia. I SAID IT. If you don’t own it, pick it up for yourself; I highly suggest the new 4K version here from Amazon!

Halloween In The 80s’ Ruled- And Why It Remains Unmatched To Today’s Standards

Chances are you’re opening up this article and saying, ” Yeah, yeah… nostalgia and shit, blah, blah, blah…” And while yes nostalgia does have some weight to this, I’m here to make my case as to why this is more than sweet, childhood memories. Halloween in the 80s’ were a magical time that doesn’t seem to hit home by today’s standards. The simplicity of it has been lost by flashy, cheap décor, over-the-top while underwhelming haunted houses, and what little treats given on Halloween night that are simply pathetic in comparison to yesteryear. Maybe it’s the town I live in that leaves me longing for Halloweens’ of the past, but I have an inkling I’m not alone on this sentiment.

The Costumes

Yep. That is indeed a six-year-old Patti Paultertgeist in a plastic Minnie Mouse costume that was all the rage in 1988. Going to our local Sav-On drugstore for the very latest, and greatest in noisy plastic wear was part of the Halloween tradition right along with grabbing a fun horror flick next door from Action Video, (my Mom and Pop rental store growing up). Of course the Ben Cooper costumes were the heavyweight when it came to Halloween; but even the knockoff brands were just as good- well, I mean if they held up until the end of the night, you were in good shape- and most of the time they did. However, while they may look ridiculous, they are FAR more menacing than any kiddie costume you’ll see at the big chain stores today during the October sales season. There is a reason why film and TV use vintage masks for scary-story telling, (look at Trick R Treat as a great example). Would you be more terrified of this Minnie Mouse mask coming at you in a dimly lit street, or something like this…

Credit: Party City

Sure, the quality is better. It most likely won’t rip by you merely looking at it. But what’s the fun in that!?

School Parties and Community Carnivals


Kids waited 364 days for their annual Halloween class party and parade and goddamn it was the coolest part of the year. The entire day was dedicated to educational in some form, Halloween activities with brief intermissions with a game of Heads-Up, Seven-Up. And let’s not forget that tiny sliver piece of cardboard tasting pizza that no matter how bad it was, tasted a lot better than a math quiz. Also, parents would chip in bake homemade treats for the party, giving the teacher a bit of a break in the finance department and we would be drowning in rice-crispy treats along with festively decorated sugar cookies until we would sugar crash an hour later. Now a days, kids are lucky to even get that tiny sliver of pizza, and home-baked goods? Forget about it. The schools have implemented such a strict diet code now that even bringing in Yoplait yogurt might be questionable.

On top of school parties, Community Halloween carnivals were THEE TITS growing up. They were usually held a few days prior to Halloween and were filled with cake-walks, bake-sales, tons of games with candy and pumpkin prizes, and of course, THE COMMUNITY HAUNTED HOUSE. The pic above of a cheesy-smiled me along with my younger ninja brother marked the occasion of us right before my little bro got scarred for life at one such carnival held at the Mirabelli Community Center.

I’m well aware Community “Fall Festivals” do exist, as this is what they’re normally referred to as now. But I can guarantee they didn’t have a haunted house that had a Mad Scientist tour guide walking you through it only to be murdered at the end of the house by Michael Myers jumping out behind a few boxes with a knife and pummeling him into the ground scaring the ever loving shit out of everyone inside. As we had to walk gently over the tour guide’s limp body now drenched in red corn syrup, my mother was holding my brother going out as he was absolutely terrified at what had occurred. Good ol’ Michael though; he made sure to go right up to my bro and give him a little tickle on the chin- sending my brother into a full-blown panic attack, traumatizing the kid for life. I sound like a dick, but eh, you had to be there to see how funny it all kind of was. Nowadays, if you can get a few hay stacks and throw them into a grassy field, that will suffice as a haunted maze for the kiddies. Less traumatizing? Yes, but way less fun.

Halloween Decorations

The fact that today’s most popular Halloween decorations are throwbacks to vintage decor, says it all. My parents had a nice selection of paper cutouts that seemed to last for somehow a decade, along with blow-mold wall decor and figures. When they were brought in from the garage, the smell of stale garage dust with the colorful witch cut-outs got me high on life. Sure, DIY crafts are fun and making the most beautiful Pinterest worthy centerpiece of pinecones and leaves is nice and all; but sometimes a giant orange garbage bag full of leaves and a .99 cent jointed skeleton is all that’s needed to get the true feel of spooky season going.

The Great Trick Or Treating Olympic Candy Event

Alright, the night has finally arrived. We pulled on those noisy garbage bag costumes, grabbed our pillowcases and plastic Empire buckets and headed out for five straight hours of trick or treating. We left as soon as the first hint of orange hue hit the sky and didn’t come back until our bags and buckets were about to break. From festive candy like Mr. Bones and Wax Lips, to popcorn balls and homemade cookies, the great candy swap event with friends was the Olympic event of the year. Dumping our bags onto the selected friends’ living room floor sorting, and trying to trade those Bit ‘O’ Honeys’ for a mini Snickers was the Halloween was definitely the perfect end to a solid evening.

These days, you’re LUCKY to get half a buckets’ worth no matter how far you travel in the neighborhood. Halloween scrooges are abound more than ever, pissing on the holiday and unwilling to spare a Tootsie Pop to save their life. Not to mention the cheap buckets chain stores try to pawn off on the kids for candy hauls with such a flimsy handle, it’ll break at the mere glance of a full-size candy bar. Trick or Treating hours are usually over by at the very least, 8 PM with an occasional strangler bunch of teens that normally get the bulk of any of the ONE candy bag I buy for the occasion. Not sure what happened along the way that made this holiday less magical and with scarce participation, but it sure wasn’t what it used to be.

I’ve made my case. And I’m sticking by it. So I’ll just leave you with this photo of me sucking on a candy box in my sweet homemade witch costume from 1986.