These vintage Halloween costumes based on ’70s TV shows were creepy for all the wrong reasons

Creepy 70s Halloween costumes based on TV shows

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The vintage Halloween costumes we show you here, made by companies like Collegeville and Ben Cooper, were all the rage in the ’70s.

The manufacturers based the designs on popular characters at the time — on this page, we’re talking TV stars like Lynda Carter’s Wonder Woman, Paul Michael Glaser and David Soul as Starsky and Hutch, cartoon characters like Bullwinkle — and even the canine star of stage and screen, the loveable mutt, Benji.

1977 costume - The Shadow

Seems like nice, wholesome fun, right? But the Shadow knows that when you see the make-believe next to their real-life inspiration, you’ll see why the kids dressed up as these ’70s TV stars were actually scary.

The costume makers clearly spent several whole minutes on the artistry, before mass-producing plastic clothing and masks that harried parents could pick up at the drugstore or supermarket. Because they knew that spending a few bucks was a lot easier than sewing a custom costume… and besides, kids thought the lousy store-bought versions were super cool. Especially the ones featuring superheroes.

The costume/mask combinations were considered to be so cool, in fact, that even Jerry Seinfeld wore ’em… and years later, worked them into one of his best-known standup shows:

“I was thinking that this is probably the same exact costume that Superman wears himself. When you put these things on, it’s not exactly the super-fit that you are hoping for. It looks more like Superman’s pajamas, that’s what it looks like.” – From Jerry Seinfeld Live on Broadway: I’m Telling You for the Last Time

If you aren’t too creeped out by these unintentionally terrible ’70s costumes, you can watch the whole Seinfeld clip at the end of this page.

Creepy 70s Halloween costumes

Vintage Halloween costumes & mask sets: Starsky & Hutch

In 1977, we imagine people around the country reported thousands of sightings of Starsky and Hutch, because these masks were so incredibly lifelike. I mean, can you say with certainty that’s not David Soul on the far right?

Vintage Halloween costumes Starsky and Hutch

See more of these guys here: Starsky and Hutch: The TV story & the classic theme music (1975-1979)

Benji the dog 70s Halloween costume

Benji? Is that really you? Can’t be. You’re so cute, and the Benji here is the stuff of nightmares. That’s ruff.
Awful Vintage 70s Halloween costumes and masks - Benji the dog

Vintage Halloween costume from The Blue Knight

Poor George Kennedy. In 1967, he played opposite Paul Newman in “Cool Hand Luke,” and won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. A decade later, he was starring in “The Blue Knight” as a guy with the unfortunate name of Bumper Morgan.

Lame Vintage 70s Halloween costumes and masks - Blue Knight TV show

As if that character name wasn’t bad enough, soon there was a Halloween mask being sold nationwide that was supposedly made in Kennedy’s image. The problem is that the mask looked less like him as a cop, and more like the face on one of your grandma’s creepy antique dolls. See?

Creepy old doll face

The original 'Wizard of Oz' Broadway musical pretty much looked like nightmare fuel

Vintage Halloween costumes from Charlie’s Angels

We’re not sure which gal from Charlie’s Angels is supposed to be represented here, so here are all three of the original angels as of 1976-1977.

Our best guess based on the blonde hair: This is supposed to be Farrah Fawcett’s character, Jill Munroe — though maybe it was supposed to be Fawcett’s replacement, Cheryl Ladd who played Kris Munroe (inset photo). Or, hey — maybe it’s supposed to be Bosley?

One thing for sure: the mask doesn’t look like any of them.

Vintage Halloween costumes from Charlie's Angels

Vintage Halloween costume with everyone’s favorite moose, Bullwinkle

And now, here’s something we hope you’ll really like!

Yes, we understand that it’s hard to translate a face that long — and antlers that wide — to a kids’ Halloween costume. And if there was ever any question as to the difficulty of such an endeavor, this outfit makes it very, very clear.

Bad Vintage 70s Halloween costumes and masks - Bullwinkle

Stitch or treat: Some vintage Halloween costume patterns that you could sew back in the seventies

Wonder Woman’s Halloween costume from the ’70s makes us wonder

There is no way that anyone actually believed this costume resembled Wonder Woman, as played by the phenomenally gorgeous Lynda Carter. Sure, the plastic T-shirt in place of the bustier was a clever touch, but the real dealbreaker was obvious: Wonder Woman didn’t wear pants like this. 

But that’s okay, because there’s no good reason for a little girl to have have been out in public (especially on a cold night) in the outfit Diana Prince’s alter ego wore.

Wonder Woman Halloween costumes from 1979

ALSO SEE: Sally Field’s starring role in The Flying Nun TV show got the actress in a wild habit

Vintage Halloween costumes & masks: Holmes & Yoyo

Holmes & Yoyo was a very short-lived police comedy TV show that ran in 1976-1977 for 13 episodes. This costume and mask depicted the android Yoyo, played by John Schuck. When it came to designing the show’s human/computer interface, looks like they decided to tape a couple calculators to his chest and call it good.

And on this old Halloween costume? Well, the calculators looked decent enough, and they got John’s eyebrows close. Bad Vintage 70s Halloween costumes and masks - Holmes and Yoyo

Eh, forget it. We’re just going to call this one a really strange Tony Curtis costume.

Tony Curtis

More vintage Halloween costumes based on old TV shows

If Angie Dickinson — the lead actress in the Police Woman TV series, who played Sergeant “Pepper” Anderson — actually looked like this mask, her TV career would have ended before it ever began. But the dress, though. They got that part totally right.

Terrible Vintage 70s Halloween costumes and masks - Police Woman

Old-school costumes you could buy

Years after his 76-episode run on Mission: Impossible, Martin Landau caught the role of Commander John Koenig in the sci-fi TV show Space: 1999.

The mask isn’t terrible — the helmet helps — but we doubt Landau’s character would have spent his time on the moon wearing this shirt with what looks like a photocopy of a photocopy of a photocopied picture of him with his co-star/wife Barbara Bain.

Terrible Vintage 70s Halloween costumes and masks - Space 1999

Halloween costumes from the classic sci-fi show Space 1999

This gorgeous woman — Maya from Space 1999, played by Catherine Schell — is so poorly portrayed by this vintage Halloween costume, she probably could have filed a defamation of character lawsuit. (Note: I’m not a lawyer, nor did she play one on TV. She was a science officer.)

Ugly Vintage 70s Halloween costumes and masks - Space 1999

Jerry Seinfeld on Halloween trick-or-treating (video)

“So I’m going out trick-or-treating, but the mask’s rubber band keeps breaking and keeps getting shorter. I’m fixing it, it’s getting tighter and tighter on my face. 

“You know, when it starts slicing into your eyeballs there and you’re trying to breathe through that little hole… getting all sweaty. ‘I can’t see, I can’t breathe, but we gotta keep going, we gotta get the candy.'”  – From Jerry Seinfeld Live on Broadway: I’m Telling You for the Last Time

YouTube video

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Comments on this story

3 Responses

  1. Too funny…I wish I could upload a pic…my little bro was Uncle Sam and I was Fred Flinstone in the late 70’s and holy cow…you’re right…the costumes were super creepy! Never thought of them that way. LOL

  2. I had the Wonder Woman one and the creepiest thing about it was the severe reaction my skin had to it. Were those things safe? I highly doubt it.

    1. If you had a reaction to the costumes, it was probably from the flame-retardant chemicals used to treat them (it’s also what gave those costumes their distinctive odor). The use of those chemicals has always been controversial, but if the costumes didn’t have them, the cheap fabric would have burst into flame the minute a spark or lit candle got too close.

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