A huge part of the fun of Halloween is how the holiday allows you the opportunity to dress up as characters from your favorite movies or TV shows. In the 1970s, the most popular outfits on the market for kids to wear trick-or-treating were manufactured by the Ben Cooper and Collegeville Costume companies. These ubiquitous plastic mask and smock uniforms were all the rage as they were relatively affordable and, if they survived the night, could be reused on handed down the following year. (Much to the dismay of any kids who were saddled with having to go door-to-door asking for candy as a living representation of now-outdated popular culture). The majority of these outfits represented heroic characters for boys and girls to emulate. But every now and now, the aforementioned manufacturers liked to throw consumers a curve ball.
Enter Collegeville’s Jaws costume. Released in stores in 1975 as the country was still firmly caught in the, forgive me, jaws of Steven Spielberg‘s trail-blazing blockbuster, the costume let children dress as a Great White Shirt. Not Brody. Not Hooper. Certainly not Quint. But the damn villain of the piece.
This is a glorious thing.
As for the costume itself, it consisted of a mask that emulated the rising shark featured on the Jaws movie poster, a smock featuring a new version of the poster art, and, because it was the ’70s, tan pants. This stylish plastic ensemble wouldn’t get you into Studio 54, but it would earn you a few extra pieces of candy from impressed neighbors and make you a hero at recess. (And yes, I realize that the nightclub I just mentioned didn’t open for two years after this costume debuted, but work with me here).
In fact, this outfit was enough of a success that a new version was trotted out in 1978 just in time for Jaws 2. See for yourself:
Interestingly enough, this isn’t even the weirdest movie-based Halloween costume. That distinction goes to Ben Cooper’s Alien outfit. But that is a story for another time…
What TV or movie characters did you dress up as? Let us know below!
This article originally ran in 2018 and is being reprinted today as part of our Halloween celebrations.