Monday, October 19, 2020

A Vintage Halloween Potpourri (1960s & 1970s)


I thought for Halloween this year, I would share a selection of Halloween photos and "spooky" items from my childhood.  We'll start with some Halloween costumes.

This 1965 photo of my brother, shows him wearing his "scary" Halloween costume.  I say "scary," because doesn't that description apply to pretty much ALL clowns?  I wasn't even one year old yet at this point, so I'm pretty sure that I did not have a costume that year.

For 1966, my brother was the Hanna-Barbera character, Peter Potamus, and I was a "teddy bear."  Both of our costumes had huge rolled up cuffs on the pant legs.  There is a photo of us in our costumes from that year, but it is a little blurry.  Since we both wore the exact same costumes the following year, I'm only including this pic from 1967.  I'm assuming that my mom saved the costumes, because they were so big on us the previous year.  Why not get two years use out of them, right?  That was the only year that we ever reused a Halloween costume.

By the way, I still have those plastic pumpkins that each of us is holding.  And, I still have my childhood teddy bear, which I am also holding in the photo.  Those Halloween costumes however, did not get saved.

For the following year (1968), my brother was a "devil," and I was a "tiger."  These costumes were made of a flannel material and were similar to pajamas.   My teddy bear costume from the year before, was made of the same type of material.  Because of this, my mom let us wear these costumes as pajamas, after Halloween.

I also still have that large plastic pumpkin, which was new for me that year.  I remember my mom buying it at Gemco, which was similar to a Walmart or Target store.

For the next year (1969), both of our costumes came from Gemco.  Mine was a "skeleton," and I believe my brother's was "Igor."

I saved my mask from that year.  I remember that it was bothering my nose, so I cut a triangle shape out of it, for my nose to go through.  I thought I still had the costume that went with the mask, but I wasn't able to locate it.

For 1970, my brother was a "skeleton" and apparently, I wanted to be a "tiger" again.


Both my mask and my costume, managed to survive all of these years.

In 1971, I was "Dracula" and my brother was "Frankenstein's Monster."  Unfortunately, I don't have any photos of us from this year, but I saved my mask and costume.  The teeth on my Dracula mask, glowed in the dark!

My brother's costume did not survive, but I was able to find his mask on ebay.

Now we will switch gears a bit, here.  This book of "Spooky Tricks," belonged to my brother.  It was published by Scholastic Book Services, and was one of those books that was ordered through school.  Once a year (or maybe it was twice a year), the teachers would pass out order forms which included a list of books and their prices.  We would take those home to our parents, and check off the books we wanted to order.  After giving the forms back to the teacher, along with our money, we'd wait a few weeks and then our books would arrive.

There isn't a copyright date in this book, but I know it goes back to at least to 1968, because I have a picture of my brother from that year, and he is holding this book in the photo.

I've only scanned a few of the pages inside:

The back cover:

This is another childhood book from Scholastic Book Services.

This one has a copyright date, of 1972.

Again, I only scanned a few pages.  Some....okay, ALL of these jokes are real "groaners."

The back cover of the book:

We will end this post today, with some vintage Halloween Cards from the 1970s.  All of these cards were from my aunt and uncle.  They sent my brother and me Halloween cards every year throughout our childhood, and even beyond that.


This card is my favorite, out of all of them.  
The inside is "three-dimensional," but I pressed it flat to scan it.  When you lift the lid of the wooden crate, the ghoul and black cat "pop up" out of the tub.

This card even had graphics printed on it's backside.

I hope everyone has a very safe and happy Halloween!


Last week, Elvira released a new Halloween video.  Just by coincidence, it includes both my brother's Frankenstein and Igor masks, and also my Skeleton and Teddy Bear masks.  Below, are a couple screen grabs showing these masks, along with the full video.

 ****Update - 10-11-22****

To see more vintage Halloween greeting cards, costumes, and "scary" themed children's books, click here for "Part 2" to this post:  A Vintage Halloween Potpourri - Part 2


K. Martinez said...

Oh man! I'm blown away by the Spooky Tricks book. I had that book as a child and had completely forgot about it until reading this post. I especially remember the "Hole in the Hand" trick and the art work in general. It's amazing how the brain stores memories which can be dormant for decades and then a blog post will bring back those memories in an instant.

Seeing that photo of your brother in his clown costume reminds me of John Carpenter's "Halloween" All that's missing is the knife in hand. SCARY!

Your Teddy Bear and Tiger costumes are cute, but the most humorous is you and your brother as Igor and the Skeleton. That's a really cool pic.

Black cats and Jack-O-Lantern's are my favorite Halloween theme decor.

Woodstock as a ghost is super cute.

Nothing says Halloween like Elvira. Good eye spotting you and your brother's Halloween masks. The mask I can't figure out is the mask on the lower left.

Thanks for a great Halloween post, TM! Hope you have a safe and Happy Halloween too!

K. Martinez said...

Forgot to mention, but as always, I'm amazed by all of your childhood stuff you still have and how it is in such great condition.

TokyoMagic! said...

Ken, I'm glad that I was able to "trigger" that memory for you, about the book! Did you also order yours through your school?

I think that mask in the bottom left corner of the "Elvira" screen grab, is Fred Flintstone, but I don't know why they gave him a polka dot bow tie.

As for all the childhood stuff I've saved, I guess I owe that to my mom for not making me toss things out as I got older. I do remember her having us get one batch of stuff together, just one time, to give to the Goodwill, but then we never did that again. I think I've mentioned this before, but we never moved, so that also helped me to be able to hang onto things. I have a lot of friends who say when they moved, their parents made them get rid of a lot of things. As a young adult, I stupidly got rid of some items from my childhood, but not too much.

Then there are things which I know that I saved, but I can't find. I know I have the box that my "Ben Cooper" Dracula costume originally came in, but for the life of me, I couldn't find it. I remember folding it down flat, so that it would take up less room, but now because it is flat, it could be anywhere! If I do find it, I will take a pic and add it to the post.

"Lou and Sue" said...

TokyoMagic! I love your photos - you and your brother are adorable!

I remember that Monster Jokes and Riddles book - either I had it or my girlfriend did. It does bring back fun memories.

Is your house packed solid? If you made it into a museum, I'd be one of the first in line to see everything.

Thank you for sharing!


K. Martinez said...

TM!, I did order it through my school like you did. I loved ordering the Scholastic books as a child in elementary school. Always looked forward to them arriving in class. Great memories.

TokyoMagic! said...

Sue, thank you! Believe it or not, my house is not packed solid. However, if you look in closets and cupboards, they are a little "full." I only have two display cases/curio cabinets, so unfortunately, everything that does not fit in them, is all stored away out of sight. I kind of look at some of my blog posts, as "online museum displays" of my childhood!

TokyoMagic! said...

Ken, I always looked forward to those book ordering times, and of course, the arrival of the books themselves!


TokyoMagic: my first costume was a Ben Cooper or Collegeville CASPER ( the friendly ghost) I remember really wanting a skeleton costume - possibly like yours - but I distinctly remember my mom “convincing” me to get Casper...... she loved Casper as a kid. My next door neighbor Scott was the Frankenstein you show......this would have been 1972. I remember those masks were very uncomfortable- your face would sweat ..... the elastic was alway tight and hurt my ears and it was difficult to see through them. And of course I remember kids always sticking their tongues against the masks mouth slit!!

Have you ever seen the Ben Cooper Disney costume MR. SPOOKY?? It’s the Haunted Mansion Hatbox Ghost!! Obviously based on the renderings in the Haunted Mansion record album.

Cool post - I love Halloween!

DrGoat said...

Wow Tokyo. I'm blown away. I sure wish my parents had saved stuff from back then but it was not to be. I can't remember one store bought costume. All of ours were home made, but looking back, with 2 artists in the family they were pretty cool. The plastic pumpkins were wonderful things to have kept. And in such great shape. Your family must have had copious storage space.
I slightly remember the Monster Jokes book, but I was already in my late teens by then so other matters took precedence.
Love your aunt and uncle's cards. Do you remember the date you got that last card? Pretty special.
Thanks Tokyo, always enjoy seeing stuff from people's past. I probably spend too much time there, in my head.

TokyoMagic! said...

Mike, I remember seeing that Casper costume, back in the day. And everything you described about the plastic masks, just now came back to me, vividly! Ha, ha! I had forgotten about the tightness and how much they made our faces sweat....and also the sticking of our tongues through the mouth slit! I do remember the masks being uncomfortable. That is why I cut that hole in my Skeleton mask, for my nose to go through!

I don't remember seeing the Ben Cooper "Mr. Spooky" costume. Gee, I wonder what that one is worth today? I imagine, a lot!

TokyoMagic! said...

DrGoat, after the Dracula costume, I wore just one more store-bought costume....I'll include that one in a future post. But after age seven, up until the time I stopped "trick or treating," I created my own look.

Growing up, we lived in just a modest-sized house, but it did have a lot of closets and cupboards for storage. Also, we had tons of space outside of the house. The previous owner had added on a large "workshop" and a separate "darkroom" (he was an amateur photographer) to the garage, so usually when we outgrew a toy, game, etc., it got boxed up and moved out to the garage.

As for that last card, it is the oldest of the bunch. I think I can narrow the date down to at least a two or three year period. It is probably from 1970 or 1971. I guess there is a chance that it could even be from 1969.

Anonymous said...

Wow, Tokyo, so much fun here!

I had the same plastic pumpkin bucket in the first set of photos.

Also, like Ken, I had the Spooky Tricks book, and had forgotten it until this instant. So weird a thing the memory is... Mine was a school purchase, I'm sure.

I seem to remember having a plastic mask only most years and old clothes for the costume. I think maybe by 6th grade I had a full-head rubber mask that smelled awful inside. I don't think I did any trick-or-treating much after that. We lived so far from town that it was a long time to drive out and back. One year, there was a church party which was fun.

Thank you for spurring these memories, so much fun.


TokyoMagic! said...

JG, I guess that Spooky Tricks book was fairly common!

My brother switched from the hard plastic masks and matching costumes, to wearing rubber masks, once he got to a certain age. I can also recall that rubbery smell that those masks had. And of course, those were even more sweaty, than just having the hard plastic mask up against your face. I seem to remember maybe borrowing some of his rubber masks, once I was a bit older. I know that my last "Ben Cooper" type of costume was when I was 7 years old, but I believe I went trick-or-treating until I was in the 8th grade. That was probably about two years too long!

Chuck said...

TM!, loving this post.

I had the same tiger costume you had in 1968 the first time I remember trick-or-treating in 1971. I was almost 3, and like you, I wore them as pajamas afterwards. They were my favorite pajamas ever. That was also the only year I ever had one of those hard plastic masks. Never wore a mask again for Hallowe'en.

I trick-or-treated through sixth grade, then got asked to escort a kid I babysitted in eighth grade. I had so much fun I talked a group of my friends into going out again in ninth grade. Nobody gave us a hard time about our age, and several people remarked how polite we were for kids our age.

I remember we had an opportunity to buy Scholastic books several times a year, and their arrival was always a special time. I still have quite a few from childhood, including the novelizations of the first four Herbie films, Hot Lead and Cold Feet, The Black Hole, and others that I'm just not remembering off the top of my head.

Note that Monster Jokes and Riddles was written and illustrated by Norman Bridwell, the creative force behind Clifford the Big Red Dog.

TokyoMagic! said...

Chuck, I loved wearing that costume as pajamas, too. In the photos of my brother and me opening our presents on Christmas morning of that same year, we are wearing those costumes/pajamas!

We only had one person who ever said something to us, about being too old to go trick or treating. And that was when I was in fourth or fifth grade! It was just one curmudgeonly man, who lived up the street from us. He said to us, "You should be ashamed, trick or treating at YOUR age. I wasn't the least bit ashamed at THAT age! I thought to myself, "You're just a grouchy old man!"

I think the only Disney Scholastic books that I had, were "The Shaggy D.A." and "Mystery In Dracula's Castle." The latter title was a made for TV movie, shown on the "Wonderful World of Disney" in the seventies.

I didn't realize that the author/artist for the Monster joke book, was the same one who created "Clifford the Big Red Dog." Thanks for pointing that out!

Dan Alexander said...

Oh my gosh, I love all this!! Especially the Dracula costume! I'm pretty sure we had that plastic pumpkin with the mask.

Melissa said...

So cool that you still have so many of these things! I love that they eyes of the tiger mask are above the eye holes. It gives it a more realistic effect.

TokyoMagic! said...

Dan, sorry...I'm just now seeing your comment! I'm not sure why, but I never got an email notice from Blogger, after you wrote it. I loved my Dracula costume! When I was taking pics of it for this post, I noticed that the image on the costume is a little different than the mask. On the costume, he has a thin, wiry mustache. He almost looks more like the villain from an old-fashioned melodrama, than Dracula.

TokyoMagic! said...

Melissa, I also like the fact that the tiger has his own "eyes." I don't remember seeing too many of the plastic masks, with the eye-holes positioned lower than the character's eyes. If I stare at that mask long enough, it almost looks like the tiger is wearing little half-spectacles/reading glasses, down low on the bridge of his nose!

Freed Hearts said...

Love this post! Great photos and memories of 60s/70s. :) Please tell me what those costumes are made of! Not the flannel but the Dracula, that weird synthetic fabric that you would never wear on real clothes (I guess!). All I can think is poly-something! I really want to know:)

TokyoMagic! said...

Freed Hearts, that is a good question. And I think you are right, the material is poly-something. Maybe just a cheap form of polyester? They didn't list what the material was on the boxes, just that they were "fire retardant." I wonder if they were treated with a fire retardant chemical, or if the material itself was fire retardant?

I'm glad that you liked this post. Thanks for commenting! There is a "Part 2" to this "Halloween" post (with more vintage costume pics). Maybe that is how you found this post. If not, here is the link to "Part 2":