Trick or treating in the ’70s and ’80s consisted of a gang of kids roaming the “rich” neighborhood with an empty pillowcase, a flashlight and an orange UNICEF box, in search of full sized candy bars. We loved the freedom of being on our own for the evening, which was only mildly dampened by the sweat pouring down our faces behind a “ventilated” plastic mask, with a thick wool coat restricting our movement under our coveted Ben Cooper plastic costume. Here’s a look back at some of the best (and most pathetic) costumes from the 1970s and 1980s. Which one did you have?

Princess Leia

The force was strong with this costume, though the cinnamon bun hairdo wasn’t included.

Pound Puppy

Who could resist those (pound) puppy dog eyes?

Cabbage Patch Kid

So that’s where cabbage patch kids come from!


By the power of Greyskull! Now that we’re older, we definitely appreciate this costume’s built-in abs.

Glo Worm

Unfortunately, the costume didn’t come with that special inner glow.

Strawberry Shortcake

It was flame retardant, so that’s a relief.


Isn’t this costume smurfy?

Luke Skywalker

Luke, you sound just like your father.

The Real Ghostbusters

Animated TV series, not the Billy Murray film


Max Headroom 

This is MMMMMMMMaaaaaxxxxx.


Six Million Dollar Man

We can rebuild him.


Planet of the Apes

Cornelius or Zira? Who knows, we could never tell them apart …


The Fonz

Frequently mistaken for Richard Nixon or Ronald Reagan by those answering the door.


Scooby Doo 

The irony was, you couldn’t fit ANY sandwiches in your mouth through that mask.

Morticia Adams

Were you Team Munsters or Team Addams Family?

The Hulk 

Based on the Marvel comic, not to be confused with the Lou Ferrigno/Bill Bixby TV series.

If this post makes you feel all warm and fuzzy and nostalgic, we’re happy to report there is a cult following for vintage Ben Cooper costumes on eBay, so have at it. When your kid complains about how “itchy” their $90 Plush Minions costume is, you can break into a righteous “When I was a kid …” speech with the goods to back it up.

— Jacqui Boland




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