Dressing Up Halloween: The Story of Ben Cooper, Inc.


Dressing Up Halloween: The Story of Ben Cooper, Inc.

In the late 1930s, Halloween in the United States changed forever with the introduction of Ben Cooper Inc.’s costume-in-a-box. What started as a vaudeville and masquerade costume company in 1937 by Ben Cooper, would go on to become a phenomenon which would last through the early 90s and into today. Suddenly, any child could become their favorite cartoon and Pop culture characters for one candy-filled night—thus solidifying a lifelong love of Pop culture and Halloween for many. For one night, the streets of America were filled with little Bozo the Clowns, Raggedy Anns, Draculas, Spider-Mans, Luke Skywalkers, G.I. Joes, etc. You name it, there was a costume for it! Each costume-in-a-box featured a plastic mask held on the back of one’s head by a thin rubber band and with the essential ventilator holes. Also included was a colorful, plastic sweat-inducing costume.

But for Ben Cooper himself, his lifelong passion of costuming and Halloween, helped to grow a successful business for its time, while also helping to create an entire licensing industry that, even today, is thriving. And the collectability of Ben Cooper costumes has caused its secondary market to explode as collectors of Pop culture scramble to get their hands on them. While the Ben Cooper Inc. company closed its doors in early 1990s, Dressing Up Halloween: The Story of Ben Cooper Inc. tells the tale of the man behind the company, the ups-and-downs of the costume-in-a-box industry and the legacy it inspired in many Pop culture-loving adults today. Ben Cooper’s grandson reunites with former Ben Cooper Inc. employees at their old factory to talk about the lasting impact of the costumes and many of their top licenses, including Star Wars, Universal Monsters, Batman, Masters of the Universe, Sesame Street, Strawberry Shortcake and more. Dressing Up Halloween: The Story of Ben Cooper Inc. is filled with nostalgia and features loads of vintage videos in all their static-filled glory.





Rob Caprilozzi