Thursday, October 29

Mama Kat Thursday: The Halloween's of Yesteryear

The Mama Kat blog writing prompt for today is: "Share a memorable Halloween costume."

An example of a 1960's boxed costume
For me to reminisce on a memorable Halloween costume means I have to time travel back to the 1960's when costumes weren't sold on a rack, but in a box.  Each costume consisted of a character mask and a satiny polyester knee-length one-piece outfit with short sleeves, legs and an open back that you stepped into, then tied at the back of the neck.
Usually it said the character name on front--just in case the mask wasn't identification enough.

I remember seeing row upon row of these boxed costumes at the five-and-dime store in town all through October. I remember looking at them longingly. They were exotic, sparkly things. But they cost $5. Far too expensive.
(In the 60's, that was roughly equivalent to $25 nowadays.)
Besides our Mother frequently sewed us costumes for free or we put together something from whatever we could find in the closets.

Despite that, I remember one year having one of those fancy boxed costumes to wear out trick or treating. It was a Casper the Ghost costume. I'm not sure how I came to have it--perhaps it was a used costume someone gave us. Or perhaps there was a spurge and we all 3 had a new boxed costumes--I can't remember. I do remember that Casper costume was blue on the bottom and  white with glittery silver decoration on top and had the word "Casper" across the front.
The mask was round and white with high arched Casper brows, a smiling Casper mouth, large round eye-holes to see through and tiny little nostril holes. It only covered the face and was held on by a rather tight elastic across the back of the head.
But it was very hot to wear and a nightmare to breathe in.
 So I would only put the mask on as I got out of the car to walk to a door, then would slip it off on the walk back to the car, usually wearing under my chin till the next stop.
(I probably should mention we did all our trick or treating by car, since we lived way, way out in the country and houses were pretty far apart.)

After that experience with the store-bought costume and breathing like Darth Vader in that mask, I think those box costumes lost their appeal.
That Casper costume was memorable because it was a novelty, but the best costumes I ever had were the leopard and tiger costumes  Mother made from a costume pattern. The leopard was when I was really young and the tiger was when I was in either 5th or 6th grade. 
In the 60's, when I was in grade school, Halloween was a huge deal! It was a festival of fun! Everyone brought their costumes to school, then during the last couple hours of the day, there was a school wide party! Everyone would put on their costume, then classes would take turns parading through every other classroom, so everyone would see all the costumes, then we'd have refreshments that numerous volunteer Mom's provided. The Mom's would stay for the party, of course, and that always meant not having to ride the bus.
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So, what's your favorite Halloween costume memory?



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9 comments:

Trudy said...

Oh my goodness! What a trip down memory lane. I had completely forgotten how the costumes and masks came in a box, not hanging on a rack. Now, I remember the stacks of boxes!

TMW Hickman said...

Wow, sounds like you had a fun time on Halloween!

JBean said...

Haha I grew up in the 80s and remember wearing the old boxed costumes with the plastic mask too! So hot under that thing and you couldn't breathe! But most of the time my aunt would make our costumes and I loved those so much better.

Jenn said...

Wow, I had forgotten about the boxes they came in, but I remember coveting the plastic masks. Why? Because we ALWAYS had homemade costumes.

Lisa Frederick said...

I was born in 70, but I, too, had the Casper costume at some point. I think I was 5. And yes. The breathing (hot, sticky, sweaty...) and the fact I couldn't see through the tiny slits was enough for me to beg for a homemade costume. Great memories. Thank you for sharing. Coming at ya from Mama's Losin' It!

Mamarific said...

I was also born in 70, and I too had the Casper costume from the box from the dime store. Wonderful memory!

Oddyssey said...

LOL I had totally forgotten (or purposely blocked) about those hot sticky masks! I was born in 1970, so I was right behind you with those cheesy costumes that, at the time, were so special! I also remember driving to each house because we lived in the middle of nowhere and "neighbors" were at least a half mile from each other, if not, farther!

Thanks for sharing some of the memories that I had forgotten! Glad I stopped by from Mama's Losin' it!

Mama Kat said...

Store bought costumes have come a long way! But they're still ridiculously expensive. Bought my Anna from Frozen costume for 50 bucks! I wonder how much Casper would run these days...

Mary Johnson said...

I miss the days of dressing in school for the big parade. They don't allow the kids to dress up anymore :(

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