Monday, October 26, 2009

Halloween Memories- Costumes In A Box

Hail all! I know I've been slacking off of late, as real (and unreal) life has been intruding on my blogging. This is inexcusable during this month of my favorite holiday. I'm going to try to make up for it from now on, that is if anyone gives a shit. Anyway, on with the show!
Halloween was always my favorite time of year, even as a child. I looked forward to Fall, with it's changing colors and cooler temperatures (in Michigan, where there is more than one season, anyway). Apples went on to become cider and pies, and the stores started to carry Halloween decorations and costumes. I loved going to get my Halloween costume...when I was little, the aisles seemed huge, with hundreds of reality, there were probably only dozens, but it seemed bigger than that back then.

Readers of a certain age will remember those costumes...made more often than not by either Ben Cooper or Collegeville, the costumes came in thin cardboard boxes with a cellophane window on the front, the mask inside peering out at the world and its potential owners. These costumes consisted of a thin plastic mask which covered the front of one's face, with an elastic band to hold it in place . The other main element was the costume, as it were, a sort of jumpsuit that tied in the back that usually has a picture of the character you were supposed to be on the front, instead of , say, a picture of the character's costume printed on it. Looking back at these costumes, they weren't all that great...but back then, especially when you're only , say, 4 or 5 years old, they were pretty damn cool. I remember going to the department store, like a K-Mart or a local store like G.L. Perry's , and searching for my yearly never had the same costume for more than one year because they were so cheaply made they wouldn't last any longer than one Halloween and a few wearings afterwards.I would try to find something cool, and hope they had it in my size. Among the costumes I remember having were The Spider, an obvious Spider-Man ripoff ( Steve Miller is wearing the mask for this character on the cover of his album 'The Joker'), and a guy from a line called the Creature People that was either named Bat-Man or The Bat....he was sort of a were-bat. My cousin had the Cheetah -Man outfit that year from the same line.

As I write this, I can recall the plasticy smell of the masks and costumes. I remember all the kids in elementary school marching around to the other classrooms to show off their costumes, eyes peering out of eyeholes in their masks. I remember being pissed when it was cold out and our Mom making us wear our jackets over our costumes, which , of course, ruined the whole look...Mom valued warmth over Halloween asthetics, obviously. I remember going over our hard-earned Trick-or-Treat loot when we got home, and putting candy in one of my dresser drawers like pirate treasure. I remember wearing my costume after Halloween, until it fell apart...which , as I stated earlier, wasn't very long.

As I got older, Trick-or-Treating gave way to parties, and the pursuit of candy gave way to other pursuits (girls, if I have to spell it out for you), and those cheaply-made boxed costumed faded into the past, and eventually from the store shelves as well. Now costumes are in bags and on hangers, and though they're , for the most part, still of less-than-stellar quality, they're quite a bit better than those allegedly flame-retardant , elastic-banded ones I grew up with. Still, when October rolls around, I always think of those store aisles full of those boxes, plastic faces peering out, and it makes me smile.

Steve Miller as The Spider!


Charles Gramlich said...

I always had a mask but never really had a costume as a kid. we could buy masks in town, usually at a local store, but you had to drive into Fort Smith 30 miles away to get a whole costume.

Heff said...

I had SEVERAL of those "costumes in a box". Sadly, I looked like an extreme DICKHEAD in ALL of them, lol!

Brian Murphy said...

I remember those costumes very well... and also the thrill of picking one out. Thanks for the memories!

Even then I knew they were cheap, and I'd often supplement them (I was a stormtrooper one year, and, unsatisfied with just the face mask, added a back piece to the helmet, and also fashioned a gun).

Lana Gramlich said...

Dang, did THAT bring back memories!
I hope we get some trick or treaters this year. When I was little, it seemed like EVERYONE was doing it. As soon as I grew up, it was like Halloween was banished.

Michelle's Spell said...

This makes me ever so nostalgic. I love costumes of any kind, even and maybe especially in a box. Oh, the happy times!