You might not be familiar with the name Ben Cooper but if you’re around or over thirty years of age, you are familiar with their product. For decades, the Ben Cooper company ruled Halloween. It was rare for a trick or treater to hit your door not wearing one of Ben Cooper’s plastic masks and Mylar costumes.
The costumes weren’t known for quality or, if we’re being honest, safety. The rubber band on the mask would snap if you had a deep thought and the early Ben Cooper plastic smocks were, well, really, really flammable, but these costumes that lined toy aisles and drug stores during Halloween are indelible parts of many an October memory. Ben Cooper held the license to just about any ’70s and ’80s license one can think of. From Star Wars to Disney to Hanna-Barbera to every superhero under the sun; Ben Cooper’s roster of characters was truly mind boggling.
One other thing about Ben Cooper costumes, some of them were, shall we say, freaky. So journey with us to those Halloweens of yesterday as we take a look at some of the more unsettling costumes produced by the kings of Halloweens past, Ben Cooper.
13. The Black Cat
Ok, what in the name of the twelfth level of Hell is going on here? Hey, let’s dress Junior up like a snarling, rabid nightmarish beast. Look at the teeth on that thing, you can get rabies just looking at them. Holy crap, that thing is Alf’s worst nightmare (Hey! Ben Cooper made an Alf costume,too!) What is going on with those fiery eyes?
I guess it would be neat if some kid trick or treated as a black cat and his sister was a witch, but tell me those orange rimmed eyes don’t look like some kind of Lovecraftian gate to Hell. And that smock! The image of old puss puss here is even more frightening on the smock. If anyone was to run into this kitty, you can guarantee a corneal removal would follow. Back to the hell that spawned you, you litter box haunting monster!
12. The Clown
Hey look! The box says the costume is flame retardant and has a ventilated mask, so the wearer won’t catch fire or suffocate while going on a mass killing spree! This mask does not speak of fun days at the circus or sawdust covered midways, it speaks of being locked in a basement and slowly dismembered with a butter knife. There is no reason to wear this thing on Halloween unless you plan to add some faces to some milk cartons. Yeesh!
And it isn’t even the only Clown costume Ben Cooper mad. See this one?
Recognize it? Yeah, Michael Myers wore it in Rob Zombie’s version of Halloween. I rest my case.
11. Chuck Norris
Nothing is scarier in this world than Chuck Norris. If a child comes to your door in a Ben Cooper Chuck Norris costume, particularly one celebrating the Karate Kommandos, you best give the child all of the candies or risk a spin kick the likes of which the ancients wrote about. Karate Kommandos was a thing for like five minutes, but that version of Chuck, the man that brought Walker, Texas Ranger to life, was immortalized by Ben Cooper. There have been scientific studies, wearing a plastic Chuck Norris mask and Mylar Snuggie makes any kid 80% more bad ass.
Yes, somewhere in America, some kid that wanted to be something really cool for Halloween was forced to go trick or treating as Cop-Tur from the Go Bots. Now, I’m sure, when dad hastily purchased this mort of a costume at the wee hours of the morning of October 31st, there was a copious amount of peppermint Schnapps consumed the day before. Who the hell would dress as Cop-Tur…or any Go Bot for that matter? Cop-Tur stinks. This costume reeks of disappointment and regret.
What the hell am I even looking at? This little soul stealer is not cute at all; it looks like something that would nibble your toes off during the night. Look at the mug on the smock; imagine that leering into your bedroom window Halloween Eve. Gahhh!
8. Dracula: Hairy Scary
What can make Dracula scarier? Clearly Ben Cooper thought it was a Mike Brady perm. Look at that costume. It has spider webs and it has a picture of a green faced Dracula that looks nothing like the mask. The little drip of blood on the mouth really makes this one but it’s the hair that makes it terrifying. Nothing says undead like Ronnie James Dio hair. That was one fugly vampire but I’d still take it over those glittery turds from Twilight.
7. Give Up the Ghost
I’m not sure if Ben Cooper couldn’t get the Casper license or if Harvey Tunes’ lawyers were on a Halloween bender, but here you go, the Give Up the Ghost Ghost whatever the heck that is. It might be Casper, but the look on this restless spirit’s face is kind of insidious. The expression on the ghost’s face on the smock looks like he is about to do something decidedly not family friendly to innocent children and pets.
What was this ghost when he was alive, someone who hung out in basements doing unspeakable things to squirrels? And what’s with those lips? Nothing about this ghost sits right with us. It’s like Ben Cooper wanted innocent children to think this was a Casper mask and then boom, Halloween III: Season of the Witch.
Nothing says Halloween like a cryptozoologic nightmare come to life. This particular piece of Halloween schlock was inspired by the old Sid and Marty Krofft forgotten gem, Bigfoot and Wildboy. The Bigfoot in that Saturday morning series was a hero, but this costume just reeks of potential cannibalism. It looks like this bad boy should come with some mysterious spoor to track this mythological beast. I wonder if they did a Wildboy, because what kid wouldn’t want to be Wildboy? It’s just a good thing that the body piece was orange to avoid hunting accidents while your kid went off searching for human flesh instead of candy.
5. Tattoo, Fantasy Island
Can you imagine the poor kid forced to wear this on Halloween, forced to say “Boss, boss da plane, da plane,” over and over again? One would imagine that poor kid didn’t hold on to his pillow case full of candy for long. I’m sure some hipster will find this costume on etsy and ironically wear it to his ironic Halloween party. Stupid hipsters.
4. Raggedy Ann
Look at those round eyes. They hold the secrets to all the dark secrets of the unknown. They have seen what exists behind the void.
Raggedy Ann is unsettling under normal circumstances, but this is a Raggedy Ann who has peered beneath the veneer of sanity and saw the unthinkable, the Great Old Ones, the End Times. Raggedy Ann knows what should not be known and she wants to share it with anyone who dons this horrifically disturbing costume. Seriously, that mask would keep Squeaky Fromm awake.
3. The Devil
“Aw look, doesn’t little Billy look cute as the physical embodiment of evil?”
Yeah, you probably shouldn’t dress your kid up as the Antichrist, the Fallen One, the Morningstar. This costume is like Satan at Mardi Gras, a flamboyant version of Old Scratch with a jaunty earring waiting to just rip souls and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups from the living. But listen, I’m not religious, but even I know that this is Satan and if you don the mask of he who must not be named, isn’t that just asking for trouble? Although you better give a treat to this lil’ piece of evil made flesh, or else the trick could be the loss of your eternal soul.
There’s a caveat on this one. If this Rambo costume is supposed to be the John Rambo from the era of the third film or the animated series, okay, I buy it. But if this is the First Blood Rambo? How screwed up is that?
I like how the Ben Cooper artists went out of their way in making Rambo’s gun completely sci-fi looking but they gave him accurately rendered grenades on his belt. Well, I guess if you want to hide in a bog and jump out at unsuspecting trick or treaters and slit their throats for candy, here’s your costume. Yikes.
Before we get to number one, take a gander at the Ben Cooper Aquaman costume:
Some designer in the Ben Cooper Company had an image of Aquaman, silkscreened it on the cheap ass Mylar body piece and still fucked up the mask. I guess this judgmental designer felt that Aquaman just wasn’t exciting looking enough so he gave the King of the Seven Seas a domino mask. How the hell would a mask stay on underwater? Whoever insulted Aquaman in such a manner, Jason Momoa would have words with you.
Wait, is this supposed to be Aquaman on Halloween? Like Aquaman wearing his own Halloween costume? Whoa, how meta!
1. Sleestak from Land of the Lost
The Sleestaks were the most creepy creatures on Saturday morning television and this mask doesn’t quite capture the yikes factor of the Sid and Marty Krofft creation, but the body suit certainly does. That Sleestak silk screened onto the chest piece is huge! And it looks like he’s about to devour a family of tiny little cave dwellers. That’s so tragic and very Darwinian. Imagine a group of these little Sleestaks at your door, demanding Baby Ruths and Good and Plenty. Ugh, I can’t look at it any more. Those poor cave people!
This article originally ran on October 27th, 2014. It has returned from the grave to traumatize you once again.