From 1927 to 1996 Collegeville Costumes created inexpensive children's costumes to celebrate Halloween night. In the beginning, the line-up consisted mostly of more generic "playsuits" such as gypsies, clowns, cowboys and Indians. The 1950s saw the company turn to licensed character costumes featuring the likenesses of many characters and personalities of the day who graced the screens of television shows and cartoons alike. For most of the life of the company, Ben Cooper served as their sole competition, and Collegeville Costumes seemed as though they'd be there forever. Many employees had worked for the company for decades. Sadly, the combination of a series of bad decisions and bad luck meant that the long term future of Collegeville began to dim and they closed their doors in 1996.
Being a contracted employee during those last days, I had learned that there were rooms in the factory that housed some archived costumes and prototypes that had been spared the dumpster-toss fate that befell most of the company's historic archives shortly before my employment there. I wanted to save what was left from a similar fate because I really loved the stuff and I knew it had some value. I struck a deal with the president of the company and made an offer for everything I could find of interest to me, and to history. I am now making the bulk of my collection available to loving homes in this and upcoming auctions through Hake's Auctions.