If your childhood was anything like mine, Halloween always involved heading down to Kmart or some other discount department store to select a boxed Ben Cooper costume. Manufactured from the nineteen-thirties through the nineteen-eighties, Ben Cooper costumes were little more than a plastic mask and a vinyl smock, but for just a few dollars, you could quickly transform into your favorite pop culture character. Superman. Wonder Woman. Darth Vader. Strawberry Shortcake. Over the years, there were hundreds of costumes to choose from, from Donald Duck to Farrah Fawcett.
There was a Ben Cooper costume for just about every popular movie and television character, and as a result, there were some pretty weird costumes. Did kids really dress up as Mr. Kotter from Welcome Back Kotter, Tattoo from Fantasy Island, Chachi from Happy Days, Shirley Feeney from Laverne and Shirley or The Beverly Hillbillies’ Granny Clampett? Some must have, because all of these costumes were on store shelves in the seventies and eighties. One could even go trick-or-treating dressed as an Atari Asteroid, a Rubik’s Cube, Colonel Sanders or one of the Village People.
A lot of folks assume that we nudists don’t like to dress up for Halloween, but nothing could be farther from the truth. I find that Halloween is one of our most popular holidays, perhaps because it’s the last big event of the season at many clubs. A few members attend their club’s Halloween party in full costume, but most opt to wear a single component of a costume, such as a cape, a wig or a crown.
I think I’ll celebrate Halloween old-school this year, and just wear one of my Ben Cooper masks, so don’t be surprised if you spot a nudist Cylon, a nudist Alf or a nudist Transformer at your club’s Halloween party. Or maybe I’ll stick with my Darth Vader mask. I think I still have the vinyl cape and a nudist Darth Vader sounds pretty cool, right?