I found the picture below floating around Facebook — it’s part of the selection of masks advertised in The Johnson Smith Company Catalog, probably sometime in the late 1970’s. (As I’ve mentioned a few times here at the blog, I cherished that catalog and anything I could afford to buy from it when I was a kid.)
If memory serves … these were more expensive by the time I got my hands on the catalog in the early 1980’s. Maybe the prices went up by then? (I thought the masks sold for $20 or $25. I desperately wanted several of them, but my spending range capped at maybe $10 when I was a second or third grader.)
It was the monster masks that excited me. (Characters like the “Dirty Old Man” or the presidents had their genesis in some kind of weird grownup humor that befuddled me as a kid.) That “Skull” mask was one that I desperately wished for. (I also remember some sort of screaming skull face with sharp teeth that I wanted even more badly. It had a protruding mouth and a black cloth over its head, maybe?) The “Werewolf ” also would have attracted my attention.
If you look closely, you can see that some of these masks aren’t all that impressive. The “Alien” is probably a little less menacing than its designer intended, and “Santa Claus” feels problematic. “Frankenstein” is just sad; he looks like Michael Myers fathered a child with Smurfette. Oh, well.