The TOP 13 Frank Romano BEN COOPER Costume Designs — RANKED

The legendary Ben Cooper artist has reportedly died at the age of 97…

UPDATED 11/22/21: Frank Romano, the artist who defined Ben Cooper’s kitschy look, has reportedly died at the age of 97. This ran in October but it seemed appropriate to share again. — Dan

I’m such a Halloween nut and my devotion to Ben Cooper has been well chronicled in these digital pages, as it were. I’m ecstatic that the company is making a return this year with retro-styled adult costumes (it’s now an offshoot of Rubies) and one of the best books I’ve read this year is An Old School Halloween, by Jason Young.

An Old School Halloween is a 200-page tribute to trick-or-treating in mid-20th century America, in particular Ben Cooper’s impact. It’s as close to a definitive history of the purveyor of inexpensive, kitschy costumes as you are likely to find. You can really lose yourself in it: There are pages and pages of colorful costumes, as well as an interview with Frank Romano, the artist who designed so many vinyl and nylon memories.

So with October here, I’ve invited Jason to stop by and provide us with the TOP 13 FRANK ROMANO BEN COOPER COSTUME DESIGNS — RANKED. (All pix are from his book. And you yourself can buy Romano’s recreations of his classic costume art.)

Trick or treat!


13. BUNNY. Nothing says Halloween like a well-dressed bunny. Umm… wrong holiday?

12. MR. SPOCK. In all his blue, red, yellow and black glory.

11. SPIDER-MAN. My personal favorite, which is why it’s featured on the cover of the book.

10. DARTH VADER. Frank’s personal favorite smock he designed (and one that’s being re-released)!

9. KLAATU from RETURN OF THE JEDI. Just to see if you’re paying attention. No one actually wanted this as a kid.

8. THE FLASH. This one is pretty accurate by Ben Cooper standards.

7. PLANET OF THE APES. Some very cool artwork on this one.

6. FRANKENSTEIN. Complete with knife in pocket and skull buttons.

5. HOWDY DOODY. Because… you know what time it is.

4. OSCAR THE GROUCH. For all those kids who like to dress trashy.

3. THE MUMMY. The mummy who doesn’t make you wear a hat and mittens.

2. WOLFMAN. This one really showcases Frank’s artistic ability and imagination.

1. CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON. In my opinion the most iconic smock art Frank Romano ever produced. I could stare at this all day.

An Old School Halloween, a 200-page, full-color retrospective is $30. Click here for more info and to order. You can also check out Jason on Facebook at Old Times Digest.


— VIVA BEN COOPER! You Need This Groovy New Halloween History Book. Click here.

— FINALLY! BEN COOPER Is Back With Costumes For Adults. Click here.

Author: Dan Greenfield

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  1. I had the Spider-Man one can’t remember which year but it was the mid 70s

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  2. The smell when you first open the box! It was the most distinctive smell ever! So nostalgic. I want to experience that smell again.

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  3. Before mom and dad would buy us store-bought masks, my brothers and I had to make our masks out of the giant paper Krogers bags, drawing monster faces on the front and cutting out the eyes so we could see. We walked around the neighborhood with paper bags over our heads.
    I remember cutting my eye holes up to high up on the bag and walking around all Halloween night not being able to see anything and walking into walls.

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  4. I had the Spiderman one also as a kid i loved it

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  5. I’m so sory to hear about Mr. Cooper’s passing. His body of work will forever live on in people’s hearts.

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  6. Great nostalgia all!! Any of the top three monster costumes are utterly captivating!

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