Jerry Seinfeld has a great Halloween bit about his costume when he was a kid. He jokes about how the mask he wore had no visibility, the elastic quickly snapped, but it didn’t matter because he was out to “get candy get candy get candy.”
Not all Halloween costumes from back in the day, however, were as cheap or disposable.
Seriously, the things made in the 50s, 60s, and 70s, were infinitely of higher quality than they are today. Today we throw things out when they’re broken. Back in the day, someone would darn socks to make them last longer. So part of the process back then, was to build things that actually lasted longer.
We had sturdier furniture, sturdier tools, Halloween costumes that lasted generations. Seriously.
While we’ve easily dismissed the quick costumes we’ve bought at Old Navy, or costume shops, instantly re-selling them on Kijiji each year, one costume has been saved in a tickle trunk for nearly half a century.
My grandmother made it for my aunt when she was 8 or 9 years old.
A decade or so later, when I reached that age, it became mine.
My brother and sister in the 5 yrs after that might have worn it too.
And, with the magical powers of hoarding that my parents seem to posses, it has laid in storage for 30+ years waiting to be worn again.
And here we are, a mid-late 1960s hand sewn costume is about to be trotted out for the 10th? 12th? 20th time around the block.
Apart from a small pull on the tail, and a zipper that is not as smooth as it once was, the leopard costume hand sewn by my grandmother when she was younger than I am today has lived on.
It’s nearly 50 years old.
After this year, it will go back into the orange Halloween storage bin waiting for Charlie to be big enough to wear it. After he’s done it will be shipped off to my sister for my two nieces to wear it a few times over the next decade.
And then it will come back to wait for my grandchildren to wear. By then, the leopard costume that my grandmother made for my aunt will be worn by 4 generations, and will be nearly 80 years old.