Monday, October 31, 2016

1960 Woolworth’s and W. T. Grant Halloween Ads

Well, it’s Halloween – so it’s time for my annual look back at what costumes kids were wearing for trick-or-treat. This year we’ll take a look at 1960.

As you can see from the Woolworth’s ad above, which ran in the Lorain Journal about a week before Halloween, TV cartoons were now the big thing, although a few classics were still in the mix of “spooky and gay(!)” costumes.

Whoever illustrated the ad did a nice job of presenting the various costumes in a creative fashion. Besides popular favorites Huckleberry Hound and Yogi Bear, we see Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Felix the Cat, Heckle (or is it Jeckle?), and Dennis the Menace.

Speaking of Dennis, his mask makes him look like he has a bad case of the measles.

I like the way a few kids in the Woolworth's illustration have already taken off their masks, as if they were tired of wearing them. And the kid wearing the Felix costume seems to be channeling a real backyard cat.

Classic costumes shown include a witch and a devil. There’s a bat costume as well, which the ad helpfully identifies as Belfry.

W.T. Grant ran an ad in the Journal about the same time featuring many of the same costumes. The store’s line-up included Superman, Casper the Friendly Ghost, Porky Pig and my least favorite cartoon character, Tweetie Pie.
I feel sorry for any kid that had to go as that masked bunny.

But what I’d like to know is: what is that kid supposed to be that's wearing a helmet with two hoses attached to his nose? He seems to be wearing goggles, and the helmet might have an eagle on it.
I’ve Googled it to death and reviewed dozens of vintage masks, but I can’t come up with a match. Anybody got any ideas?

Anyway, Happy Halloween!

UPDATE (November 1, 2016)
As you can see by one of the comments below, an anonymous contributor identified my mystery costume as being pretty much the same one depicted as the generic "Spaceman Rocket Commander" in a 1958 Kresge ad that I posted last week (shown below).

In my defense, the 1960 rendering wasn't the best; the little boy in the W.T. Grant ad looked more like a space bulldog with jowls to me.
Here's a photo of a somewhat similar costume on an actual kid (courtesy of David Eppen's Library on the Photobucket website).  


Anonymous said...

Depressing, and funny!

Anonymous said...

The mask appears to be the "Spaceman Rocket Commander" in the Kresge ad you published on Wednesday

Anonymous said... There is your bunny

Dan Brady said...

That's the bunny all right! Thanks for finding that great vintage photo. I wonder if the kid wore it at Easter too?

And I can't believe I already posted the name of the very same space costume I was trying to identify---that's hilarious! Thanks for noticing that!