Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Let's Go Halloween Costume Shopping!

October's here, and it's time to start shopping for your Halloween costume! There's plenty to choose from hanging in this old Haunted Closet. Let's get started.

Look through the latest costume catalogs and advertisements to get ideas before going to the store. The selection can be quite overwhelming if you haven't planned ahead!

Look for something scary! Halloween is a time for fun frights. This one, called simply Skeleton (1974), was the first costume I remember ever wearing. It also turned up on a Halloween episode of 70s cop-show CHiPs.

Next up we have a rare appearance by the Hat Box Ghost, of Disneyland's Haunted Mansion.

The Wolfman (1970s)

Vampire (1963)

Phantom of the Opera (1964)

The Mummy (1965)

Monstro (1963)

Monster (1963)

Lady Frankenstein (1963)

King Kong (1976) For my generation, King Kong was defined by this mostly lousy 1976 remake that still managed to bring a tear to my eye...

Frankenstein (1973)

Dracula (1960s)

Drac (1971) from the Groovie Goolies cartoon.

And Napolean Bones-A-Part (1971) from the same cartoon.

Look beyond traditional Halloween frights. Look to the stars! From across the galaxy come aliens and robots... these are the costumes of the future.

If you're dressing Star Wars this year, villains are a safe bet. Here's Darth Vader (1977), Lord of the Sith.

And merciless bounty hunter Boba Fett giving the "Fett Power" sign on the smock.

I frown upon it, but if you'd rather be a hero than a villain, this Luke Skywalker costume is here to rescue you.

Chewbacca, a monster for all intents and purposes, is an even better choice, but older folks might mistake you for a werewolf.

When it comes to robots, evil and rampaging are preferred. But this See-Threepio and Artoo-Detoo (1977) duo will do in a pinch.

Yoda (1980)

Star Wars isn't the only game in town. Here comes E.T.(1982), Yoda's intergalactic neighbor.

If you sent Mom to get you that R2-D2 costume, and she came back with this V.I.N.CENT. (1979) from Disney's The Black Hole, don't be too hard on her. (The Black Hole was one of the few Disney movies to depict Hell, so it's still kind of scary!)

Look quicky, it's Twiki (1979) from TV's Buck Rogers!

Finally an evil robot! Cylon (1979)

The strange alien from Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1978).

Kick it old school with the alien from the sci-fi classic This Island Earth, the Mutant (1980).

Force younger children to wear a scary costume if they'd rather dress as something cute and familiar.

Snoopy (1982)
Lucy (1982)

Charlie Brown (1965)

Wendy the Witch (1977)

Underdog (1969)

Tweety Bird (1982)

Smurf (1982)

Sabrina, the Teenage Witch (1971)

Road Runner (1982)

Trouble at the old mill? It's Lassie (1953)!

H.R. Puff'n'Stuff (1970s)

Captain Kangaroo (1959)

Bert (1975)

Tra-la-la, its Bingo of The Banana Splits Show (1968)!

Up and atom, it's Atom Ant (1965).

Coil Man, of The Impossibles (1967)

Huckleberry Hound (1967)

Secret Squirrel (1965)

Enjoy this special aisle I've reserved for especially cool costumes...

The Visible Man (1960s) let's you gross people out with science!
I like how this Jaws (1975) mask mimics the killer shark's image from the one-sheet.

Not to be confused with this Jaws (1979), the James Bond villian from Moonraker.

Shogun Warrior (1977)

Skeletor (1982) from He-Man and the Masters of the Universe.

Rosie The Robot (1963), the maid from The Jetsons.

I sympathize with the buffoon that doesn't like this Mr. T (1983) costume.

Beware, Sleestak (1975)!

Iron Man (1966)

Indiana Jones (1981)

The Fonz (1976) is still cool, right?

Hey hey hey, wear this Fat Albert (1977) costume, and if you're not careful, you might just learn something.

There's nothing evil about being Evel Knievel (1974) for your evening candy retrieval. (sorry)

From the Electric Company, its Easy Reader (1970s). That's his name. Mmm, mmm, mmm.

Vote Dr. Doom (1984). You know it makes sense.

War Duke (1983) was a character from a Dungeons & Dragons toy line.

Even think about wearing any of the costumes in this last section. They are the awful and the ill-conceived, which is why I keep them way in the back with the dust bunnies and spider eggs.

Dressing up like one of the Brady Bunch (1969) for Halloween already sounds kind of lame, but this costume, with its generic mask and mission statement printed on the front, is worse than I could have imagined.

This Village People (1975) costume probably wasn't intended to be scary, and yet...

Popular puzzle Rubik's Cube (1982) as a Halloween costume? I don't think so.

Richie Rich (1982) is a lame character and an equally lame costume. Hey look everybody, I'm stinking rich! Pass.

Pac-Man (1980) as a Halloween costume, could work in theory, but this mask, modeled on the cabinet art representation of Pac-Man, with its big red eyes and a pair of feet, looks nothing like the character in the actual game.

Whose idea was it to make a costume for a videogame, Missile Command (1982) that is made up entirely of abstract lines and dots representing ICBMs?

This Muhammad Ali (1977) mask looks more like Webster than the champ.

This Shirley (1977) mask from Laverne & Shirley sort of resembles actress Cindy Williams. But it could be anybody, really. It could be the lunch lady. Or your Mom.

I could see Kwai Chang Caine of Kung Fu (1973) humbly ask if he could drink some water from your garden hose as he drifts through town, but go door-to-door asking for candy? Time for you to leave.

Inspector Clouseau (1970) as he appeared on the animated Pink Panther series. The face looks like Ziggy might look after an all-night bender.

No free-love from this "hippie", who looks more like a sad hobo. Is that a cigar in his mouth? Squaresville!

If you really wanted to go trick or treating in bare feet, this Hee Haw (1976) costume might give you the excuse.

The husky wilderness man Grizzly Adams (1977), friend to bear and elk, but not to a clean, close shave.

Joannie loves Chachi (1982). I don't.

Why does this Charlie's Angels (1970s) costume remind me of those creepy Fembots from The Bionic Woman ?

It's Halloween. Shouldn't Farrah Fawcett (1977) be wearing a costume?

What kid out there is clamoring to be the height-challenged Tattoo (1978) from Fantasy Island? Hmm, I wonder what kind of M&Ms he prefers?

I know that on The Dukes of Hazzard (1979), the Duke boys' car, the General Lee, had the Confederate Flag painted on its top, but I don't recall either of them walking around with it draped to their person.

"Honey, they were all out of Bo and Luke Duke costumes, so I got you this Boss Hogg (1979). It's basically the same thing, right?"

Bizarre host of The Gong Show, Chuck Barris (1978). ( ( (GONG) ) )

I don't care if you're a girl, or how young you may be, this is just wrong for Halloween...but feel free to wear it any other day of the year. Care Bears "Cheer Bear" (1982)

Willow (1988) Digging the brown slacks.

Was detective drama Baretta (1976) even a kids' show? I do like the cockatiel.

Store your costumes in their original boxes so they'll keep for next year.

In preparing this post, I was planning to accumulate a massive collection of vintage Halloween costumes spanning several generations, then spend several months arranging them one at a time on a display dummy to snap their pictures.

But then I found this book that did all that work for me. I haven't even scratched the surface of all the great old costumes featured in Halloween: Costumes and Other Treats (2001, Stuart Schneider and Bruce Zalkin). Treat yourself and pick up a copy.