Costumes and masks have been used for thousands of years to disguise or to frighten. The idea of dressing up in costumes and masks came to America with the Irish during the immigration waves of the 1840s. In the 1890s, popular magazines ran articles with advice on making costumes and masks and by 1900 catalogs of printed patterns were available. During the last 50 years, Halloween costumes and masks for trick-or-treaters have been heavily influenced by movies and television shows and politics. Boxed costumes were made by companies such as Ben Cooper and Collegeville. Hunt for vintage costumes and you'll surely find some of the costumes you wore during your childhood.
This Mousketeer costume was made by Ben Cooper Co. in the 1950s. It has a vinyl Mickey Mouse mask, a Mousketeer hat, a cloth skirt and blouse with the "Mickey Mouse Club Mousketeers" logo decals on the front, and a vinyl belt with metal buckle. The costume also has an iron-on alphabet to let you add your name. In its original box, it sold for $144 at a Hake's auction.
The top ten Halloween costume searches on Kovels.com are:
- Pee Wee Herman
- Smokey and the Bandit
- Davy Crockett
- Burt Reynolds
- Planters Mr. Peanut
- Moth (from "The Tick" Comics?)
- Howdy Doody
- Boss Hogg (from "Dukes of Hazzard")
- Captain Kirk (from Star Trek)
Find more costume prices here or in Kovels' Antiques and Collectibles Price Guide 2009, now available at book stores or Kovels.com.