It’ll be at least another week or two before the usual bombardment of Christmas/holiday marketing kicks in, so let’s take a minute to enjoy some classic Halloween-themed advertisements. Not surprisingly, most of the ads you’ll find are very costume or candy-centric, as Halloween is most definitely seen as a children’s holiday. Of course it wasn’t always that way, and even today there are many visible vestiges of the holiday’s pagan roots. But I digress…
Now I don’t remember getting any Cracker Jack in my bag when I went panhandling for goodies (aka ‘trick or treat’). And even if I had I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have had the gall to stand there and eat it right there on the person’s front walk. (Cracker Jack, 1954)
Witchcraft? No, that’s just Procter & Gamble’s patented Flexinol system at work. (Hidden Magic hair spray, 1965)
Here we see an early incarnation of what later became the iconic Sugar Bear mascot. God I hope those dark things in the bowl are berries. (Sugar Crisp cereal, 1955)
“Psst! This is the house that has the Brach’s! OK Jimmy, you cut the phone line. Tommy, you pick the lock. Susie, you make sure those neighbors don’t come nosin’ around. And Ralph, you try not to suffocate yourself in that stupid goblin mask. OK, let’s move people!” (Brach’s Candy, 1959)
And speaking of stupid masks – if you grew up during my generation then you probably remember the ubiquitous and awesome mass-produced children’s costume combo sets. Turns out they weren’t always quite so cheap. (Sears Roebuck Christmas catalog, 1965)
By the late ’70s/early ’80s things had gotten much worse, and manufacturers such as Ben Cooper turned out those flimsy mask/smock costumes by the metric shit-ton.
Just what every dad wants this Hallowe’en season! (Ballantine Ale, 1955)
And finally, here’s one of my personal favorites from a time when commercials didn’t (or couldn’t) rely on fancy computer technology to sell something. Dammit, I want my McNugget puppets back! (McDonald’s, c. 1980s)
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