Thank This Man For Your Last-Minute Halloween Costume

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tags: Halloween, Trick or Treating, Halloween Costume



It's one of America's favorite holidays, but what's the real story behind the tricks and treats of Halloween?

What would Halloween be without store-bought costumes that reflect the year’s hottest movies and TV shows? For nearly a century, kids have been able to purchase Halloween costumes in stores. But that wasn’t always a given—and we have a bold impresario to thank for the tradition.

Back in the 1930s, Ben Cooper created the market for licensed Halloween costumes, and he revolutionized the way we see Halloween in the process. Pretty much anyone who remembers wearing a cheap mask and flimsy matching outfit to trick-or-treat when they were a kid owes Cooper a nod of acknowledgment.

It all started in the 1920s when Cooper, a theatrical costume designer, created looks for Broadway’s lavish Ziegfeld Follies variety shows and the Cotton Club in Harlem, where America’s top black performers played to white audiences during the heyday of American jazz music. But in the 1930s, when theatrical tastes shifted away from the stage to film and radio, Cooper was left struggling for revenue—until he hit on a brilliant idea.

At the time, Halloween—long considered a pagan holiday—was growing in popularity. During the 1920s and 1930s, schools and communities began to catch the All Hallows bug, and kids started to dress up to trick-or-treat. Cooper saw a hole in the market for mass-produced costumes. So he started selling cheap masks and outfits for the holiday.




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