Awful '70s Halloween Costumes: One Incredible Old Ad Reveals the Horror

Categories: Whatever

Horrors, indeed.
The blog Retrospace, an assiduous curator of all things kitsch, has a Tumblr page that recently gave us a Woolworth's Halloween-costume ad from the early '70s or so.

Costumes were $1.99 or $2.99, the candy was cheaper than today, but still a price was paid. This ad -- this one single ad -- is irrefutable proof how utterly lame Halloween was back in the day.

Kids of today, you have no idea how good you have it. Let's examine, via close-ups, the horror of trick-and-treating back in those dark days.

Here we have choices that amply demonstrate the rigid specifications of '70s Halloween costumes: For boys, you had a cheap-looking shirt emblazoned with some iron-on logo, and a featureless pair of very thin vinyl pants of whatever color the shirt was. These usually had to be worn over regular pants, if you wanted to survive the night without frostbite.

"Frankie Groovie" and "Baron Balthazar" were TV characters whose 15 minutes of fame apparently exactly coincided with this particular year's Halloween. Or, given the crazy low prices and Woolworth's reputation back then, the previous year's Halloween.

Why Superman is wearing a mask, we have no idea. Nor do we know why Mickey Mouse appears to be a wasted college freshman barfing up the Ripple wine at a mixer.

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Cheap Fancy Dress UK
Cheap Fancy Dress UK

I can't blame stuff that exists in 70's. Theyare from the past. Basically, they will definitely look awful compare to thecostumes of today.

T.E. Bell
T.E. Bell

Don't know how you could have gone through that entire list without mentioning that toxic colored glitter that was pasted all over those not-really-fireproof "store-bought" costumes. The vile glitter got all over everything, including the rancid candy apples the old lady on the corner inevitably palmed off on you.Praise my mom, who refused to allow us to wear those awful things. We either made our own costumes (with her enthusiastic help), or we went in mufti.

an old guy
an old guy

As someone who recalls firsthand a lot of '60s trick-or-treating, I can't dispute the cheapness of the store-bought costumes, not that it mattered a great deal to my seven year-old aesthetic sensibility.

You know one reason why Halloween was much better then than it is now, though? You could pretty much go to absolutely any stranger's house anywhere and get non-poisoned, razor blade-free candy without having to worry about anything worse than getting no answer when you knocked on the door.


The "name you can't read" is clearly Bozo the Clown. Typical lefty HP bias!


It's not as if they didn't have the technology to make better costumes back then. Kids knew they were bad even at the time. The problem was that the costume industry was dominated by companies like Ben Cooper, who thought a good costume meant a mask and a shirt depicting who you were supposed to be. (You sure couldn't tell from the costume!)

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