The Mask Makes It — Halloween Costumes of the 1980s

There was so much to love about Halloween in the 80s. The horror movies, the free range trick-or-treating, the candy (I’m looking at you, Mr. Bones), mild fears about razor blades in apples (never happened), and the costumes. The costumes were the best of all.

When I think back to one of my favorite Halloween costumes of my childhood it wasn’t the homemade costumes that my grandmother spent hours painstakingly putting together for me. Oh no, no, no. My favorites involved a trip to Woolworth’s with my mom to pick out a costume that came in a little box and included a flimsy mask and a plastic smock that tied in the back. I was Holly Hobbie, and, in case you had any question as to who I was, it stated it right there on the front of the costume.

80s Holly Hobbie costume with mask

These are the costumes children of the 70s/80s remember from their childhood. Who else went out trick or treating in a plastic mask that made it insanely difficult to breathe and see?

80s Kids in their Halloween platic mask costumes

Compared to the costumes of today, these costumes were a breeze for our parents; all-inclusive and reasonably priced, available at the grocery store or pharmacy.

80s Halloween costumes with plastic mask ad

Worn over your own shirt and dungarees, straight out of the box kids were transformed into the Bionic Woman (does she look a little sad?)!

Bionic Woman 80s Halloween costume with mask


Alf 80s Halloween costume with mask


Jem 80s Halloween costume with mask

Even legendary Pac Man had his own costume!

Pac-Man 80s Halloween costume with mask

No going on Pinterest to get ideas for costumes, no stressing out about making something from scratch or worrying about being original – so what if there were 20 other Strawberry Shortcakes at the Halloween party — that was great!

Strawberry Shortcake 80s Halloween costume with mask

The masks had that teeny-tiny string of weak elastic holding it onto your head; you were lucky to make it through a night of trick-or-treating without it snapping. But the smock would live in your closet for another year or so – when it was dress up time, you were good to go.

Today, our old plastic masks with the tiniest mouth hole for breathing have been replaced with much fancier, safer headpieces. And the smocks that stated exactly who you were on the front are now much more authentic.

I’ll forever remember the smell of that cheapo mask, along with the relief I felt when the mask came off at the end of the night, gasping for breath and wiping the sweat from my brow, ready to organize the loot.

Happy Halloween!

Star Wars Chewbacca and Yoda 80s Halloween costumes with masks

Author: Lori Ferraro

Lori is a writer and actor living in Portland, OR. Her website, Drawn to the 80s, is where her 5 year old draws the greatest music hits of the 1980s. She is a blogger for The Huffington Post and her own blog, Once Upon a Product, is where she writes about important things like beauty products, music, her obsession with Mick Jagger and of course...the 80s.

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  1. I had that He-Man costume. Those vinyl costumes just made you sweat.

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  2. Looking at these costumes not only takes me back to my youth (born in 61) but also to my two daughters…..My oldest (born in 1985) wore the majority of these….but i have been the creator of many costumes since the 80’s. The thing that you mentioned that made me have to say something about these is the smell of the masks and the sweat from breathing inside that mask. I was instantly taken back to my trick or treat years…that smell will be embedded forever in my memory. Thanx

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  3. I had the Strawberry Shortcake one

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