Last weekend I went to one of those pop-up Halloween superstores where you can buy an entire costume set (outfit, mask, props, makeup) for, like, $15. It's almost too easy. Why, back in my day, the only affordable "costume sets" were like this one:
I can't remember exactly where I bought this, but it wasn't a vintage store or a Goodwill. I think it was an old, fading discount store, like a Caldor or Bradlees. It was sometime in the mid to late 90s, and seeing as this thing was manufactured in 1982, it wasn't all that old to begin with. It just looks like it was designed in the 60's. And probably was.
If you're unfamiliar with this genre of costume, it's quite simple. You get a plastic mask, and a plastic shirt/smock with an image of the thing you were supposed to be — not an image of the clothes your character would wear, but a picture of the entire character. So, so disappointing.
I think the mask is great, from a design and graphics standpoint. But, come on: Would a witch wear a shirt with a witch on it? It doesn't make sense. The witch on the shirt is wearing a red robe, just make the smock out of red plastic! I'd even be ok with it if you threw the owl on there.
I actually wore this one Halloween back in my 20's, when irony was at its apex. Wearing this tight plasticky smock thing and some leggings was the closest to a "sexy" costume as I ever wanted to get.
For more drug-store costumes of this sort, check out Plaid Stallion's Collegeville Costumes catalog from 1983. It is a delight.
I'm Debbie Way, an artist and writer who enjoys making things.