Halloween Pretty Much Sucks and I Think I Know Why

Hey, nice costumes you little creeps!

Welcome to Halloween. It’s without a doubt my least favorite time of year.

Why? Because dressing up for Halloween is my least favorite thing to do. (I’m also not a fan of candy but that’s a conversation we’ll save for another time.) So why the hang up? Yeah, I’ve wondered that as well from time to time. And you know what, I’m pretty sure I’ve finally got it nailed. It comes down to these two words: Ben Cooper.

Even Mickey looks discernibly unhappy with this arrangement.

Ben Cooper is one of several companies that, beginning in the 1930s, succeeded in commercializing the Halloween costume. Licensing popular characters and then producing an inexpensive boxed set of just a thin plastic mask and a silk-screened smock, Ben Cooper outfitted kids across the U.S. by the millions.

Doesn’t sound so bad right?


Basically everything about the Ben Cooper costume phenomenon was sinister with extreme bias. I knew it in my heart as a 4-year-old kid and I know it today.

Let’s count the ways:

1. The Ben Cooper product was the very definition of cheap crap.

OK, they didn’t cost very much so no one could accuse Cooper of ripping off his customers. But I really don’t understand why anyone would want to actually spend the better part of a day being seen in public wearing a guerrishly printed plastic bag.

2. Ben Cooper costumes were horribly uncomfortable to wear.

Ben Cooper’s Luke Skywalker. Hard to imagine Star Wars feeling any more morose than this.

Yep, as far as breathable/wearable materials go I’d put vinyl on the low end. And oh the stamped plastic mask. Ever tried one on? Go to your refrigerator, empty out that clear plastic clamshell of grapes, and then tie the clamshell to your face. Gets old after about 30 seconds, right? After 2 hours you’d be a walking psychotic episode.

3. Wearing a Ben Cooper costume encouraged hospitalization.

As far back as I can recall, teachers and parents that barked warnings at me were barking warnings about the dangers of wearing masks at Halloween. Alright, this might not be uniquely a Ben Cooper issue, but the Ben Cooper mask design was unique in its total disregard for the user’s safety. Eyeholes positioned away from the eye gave the user a tunneled racehorse view of his surroundings. And, since the mask covered the whole front half of the kid’s skull, it offered absolutely zero peripheral vision. Hey Kid, watch out for that car! If you can!!!

4. Ben Cooper costumes were far worse than scary. They were creepy.

For the love of all that is holy, make it stop!

To look upon a Ben Cooper mask is like gazing into a petrified, soulless abyss. There is no emotion, there is no connection. Just a cold, plastic void. And that’s bad enough if the mask is purporting to resemble a scary ghost or witch. But when you combine that chilling effect with the face of say Woody Woodpecker or (god forbid) a clown, the results are unforgettable. I’ll swear to you right now: I will never knowingly subject a child to this horror (unless of course they’ve got it coming).

5. The boxed costume killed the most exciting opportunity within a calendar year for a child to express creativity.

You know… “Hey mom, hey dad, I’m really feeling the Godzilla thing this year. Maybe we can come up with home-made costumes for the whole family… monsters that hunt for candy as an alternative fuel source instead of beating on each other!” That’s a wonderful and touching scenario, unfortunately one that rarely existed under the supervision of ol’ man Cooper.