HNN Productions is sending viewers through Halloween past with the upcoming documentary, Halloween in a Box. Set for release on video on demand on October 1, 2019, Halloween in a Box explores the history of packaged costumes and all the drama that came with them.
Come October, stores like Party City and Halloween USA are pillaged by excited little hands still sticky from eating the bulk candy in aisle 4. Wands and masks are strewn across the floor, talking animatronic decorations are left in the middle of the aisle for a poor unsuspecting toddler, and don’t even get me started on the glitter that can’t be scrubbed from the burlap table cloth. If you have ever worked at Party City in October like I have, you know that Halloween is a powerful industry today, but the packaged costumes that we are so used to fighting over actually date back all the way to the 1930s.
The film, directed by Rob Caprilozzi, takes a look at the history of the first three big companies that made the costumes that decorated the night: Ben Cooper Inc, Halco, and Collegeville. The trailer mentions the heavy hitters that, “gave it star status,” like Star Wars because with licensing deals with companies like Hasbro and Disney, the industry boomed. Dressing as your favorite character became a staple of the American childhood. Especially when those characters were superheroes and jedis. And yet, in the 1980s all of it was threatened.
In 1982, at the height of the costume craze, one of the first cases of domestic terrorism hit the United States with the Tylenol scare. Seven people died in Chicago after taking Tylenol that had intentionally been laced with potassium cyanide. The original perpetrated of the mass murder was never caught and a string of copy-cat crimes followed. The tragic event sent people into a panic. So, as parents were afraid to gather candy from strangers, the booming Halloween business faced potential collapse.
“In an effort to save the holiday, the costume giants, although rivals in business, were forced to come together and unify or trick or treating would become extinct.”
Halloween in a Box centers around the history and evolution of these companies as it explores how they helped to create the holiday as we know it today. Halloween is the only holiday that gives children an excuse to wander around outside at night, teenagers an excuse to wear that outfit they’ve wanted to wear and adults to hire a babysitter and go see all of their college friends dressed like Game of Thrones characters.
Halloween in a Box is directed by Rob Caprilozzi. This will be his first feature length project. It is produced by HNN Productions and distributed by Indie Rights. The documentary will be available on select streaming services, including Amazon, on October 1, 2019.