Ben Cooper: The Man Behind Dressing Up Halloween

by Thomas Tuna

It’s Halloween. And odds are, at some point, you (or someone you know) wore a Ben Cooper costume.

Maybe the best part of this spooky day–apart from the long list of horror movies you’ll probably watch–is picking out the perfect costume. And Ben Cooper Inc. was there for decades offering a selection to die for.

Horror News Network founder Rob Caprilozzi recently interviewed Ben Cooper executives about the company’s legacy, and a trailer for the documentary he shot can be seen on this page.

As Caprilozzi learned, Halloween in America changed forever with the introduction of Ben Cooper Inc.’s costume-in-a-box–a phenomenon that Cooper began as a vaudeville and masquerade costume company in 1937.

Suddenly any child could become his or her favorite pop culture character–anyone from Bozo the Clown or Raggedy Ann to Dracula, Luke Skywalker or any of a myriad of super-heroes. Each costume box included a plastic mask held in place by a thin rubber band and a colorful, sweat-inducing costume.

While Ben Cooper Inc. closed its doors for good in the early 1990s, Caprilozzi’s captivating documentary–Dressing Up Halloween: The Story of Ben Cooper, Inc.–tells the compelling tale of the man behind the legendary company, the ups-and-downs of the costume-in-a-box industry and the legacy it inspired in today’s adults.

In the documentary, Ben Cooper’s grandson reunites with former employees at their old factory and delves into the lasting impact of their Halloween costumes and many of their top licenses–Universal Monsters, Star Wars, Batman, Masters of the Universe, Sesame Street and more.

“This film is loaded with nostalgia,” Caprilozzi said, “and features tons of vintage videos in all their static-filled glory.”

Halloween means many things to many people, but who can deny the impact of Ben Cooper costumes on this unique holiday? Trick or treat!

Dressing Up Halloween: The Story of Ben Cooper, Inc. is about to begin the process of seeking distribution.

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