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October 31, 2014 / Posted by:

Ben Cooper, Inc. – The masters of Halloween who ruled October 31st for decades!

For years and years and years, October 31st was practically National Ben Cooper Day, because trillions of children wore the company’s cheap, janky, ugly costumes. They didn’t cost much. You could buy one absolutely anywhere and they were easy to wear. Ben Cooper himself was a costume designer and in the 1930s he started his company when Halloween started to become a thing thing. Ben Cooper, Inc. bought licenses to produce costumes based on popular characters (Mickey Mouse, Snow White, etc…) and as the years went on, they continued to buy licenses and pretty much had a costume for hundreds of TV, movie and cartoon characters. Their presidential masks were apparently a huge seller, because nothing is scarier than that.

Ben Cooper continued to be the King of Halloween until the early 1980s when hysteria hit after people in the Chicago area began dying from taking cyanide-laced Tylenol.  An evil doer or evil doers added lethal doses of potassium cyanide to capsules of Extra-Strength Tylenol. People bought the Tylenol not knowing that shit was death pills. The entire country freaked out thinking that the deranged murderers were going to start poisoning everything including Halloween candy. Some towns banned trick or treating. So instead of taking their kids out to collect potential death candy from strangers, parents threw Halloween parties. Ben Cooper’s flimsy ass apron and mask costumes didn’t cut it at the Halloween party. Costumes became a little more elaborate.

Ben Cooper still kept on, kept on and continued to sell costume stuff through the 1980s, but in 1988 they declared bankruptcy and a year later their factory burned to the ground. They were eventually bought out in 1992.

The 60s, 70s and really early 80s were the time to be a parent on Halloween. You could spend a few dollars on a Ben Cooper costume and call it a day. Who cares if that costume was highly flammable and if your kid got near a candle they’d turn into a human torch. Who cares if that Ben Cooper mask made your kid look like a serial killer and distributor of nightmares. Who cares about any of that! You didn’t have to spend your nights making them some dumb stupid costume so they could win some dumb stupid prize at a dumb stupid costume contest.

I never had a Ben Cooper costume as a kid (I know, I should turn my mom into CPS for depriving me of a classic), but I may get one now. I’ve got my eye on that She-Ra one in the gallery. I’ll just wear it with sweats while I lounge around the house. Or if I’m ever in the mood to rob a bank, I’ll have the perfect mask for it.

Happy National Ben Cooper Day, everyone!

Pics: Google, DoG, eBay, Flickr

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