Fun World's shrouded ghosts are undoubtedly their most iconic masks. They were first introduced as the #9206 Glow-in-Dark Ghost Mask with Shroud assortment in 1992 with black or white cotton shrouds and glow vinyl faces. Their minimalist form and black blocked-in features effectively render unique expressions and identities for each face. The initial four designs included the 'Silly', 'Weeping', 'Goofy', and 'Happy' ghosts. Over time new product varieties and designs were created to develop Fun World's mask and costume catalog. They retailed in seasonal shops, pharmacies, department stores, and big block chains.
Photo of Brigitte Sleiertin-Linden modeling for product photography of Fun World's witch hat.
The ghost masks were designed by Brigitte Sleiertin-Linden, an SVA graduate hired as the only in-house designer for the first seven years of her career at Fun World. As a result her work spans a wide variety of masks, decorations, and party supplies offered by the company in the 1990s and 2000s. "When this project was given to me, I was given a picture of something similar to what the finished masks would eventually look like. I was asked if I thought these could be made as masks and to do some drawings with a similar look and feel. I did a bunch of sketches of different faces with that same white, melty face with simplistic black facial feature shapes. The drawings were done to take the original concept and change them a bit to make it into a different enough item to call our own. Again, I did a few sketches of different faces or characters that would be chosen to make the assortment that would be sold" said Sleiertin-Linden in a 2011 interview by Zachary Cook for Screamers.
Samples of the Ghost Maker Kit product, original property of the Alterian Ghost Factory c. 1991
Once a point of controversy, the picture she was asked to adapt may have been identified by collectors as the Ghost Maker Kit by Alterian Ghost Factory (an independent company comprised of industry fx artists led by Tony Gardner). The kits were designed by Loren Gitthens and included a plastic ghost face, glue, and paints to customize at home for a DIY special effects twist on the classic bedsheet ghost costume. As a small independent company, the product was not widely distributed but many were sold to retailers at trade shows from 1991-1994. Read more about the Ghost Makers on our blog.
The #9206 - Glow in Dark Ghost Mask with Shroud assortment debuted in 1992 with black and white cotton shrouds. The first four designs included the 'Silly', 'Weeping', 'Goofy', and 'Happy' ghosts. The original ghosts were stamped Fun World Div under the chin though all later masks would be stamped with the parent company Easter Unlimited Inc. The cotton shrouded masks included a pink 'party orb' style header card labeled Fantastic Faces, while polyester shrouded masks made in late 1997 and after included a purple 'bat & moon' style header card labeled Fearsome Faces. There are some factory variants with different sculpts, molds, and production styles like (HN) and (MK).
#9206 - Glow in Dark Ghost Mask with Shroud assortment.
After the products initial success, Fun World expanded the ghosts into other varieties such as the popular #9207 - Fluorescent Ghost Mask with Shroud assortment in vibrant blacklight reactive pink, green, and orange. The only designs used for this product throughout the course of its history were the initial four faces. The earliest fluorescent masks did not have eyeliner paint, while masks made after 1996 did. The majority of masks with eyeliner paint are considered "Gen 2" mold variants. Like all shrouded Fun World characters, the fluorescent ghosts originated on cotton shrouds and switched to polyester in late 1997.
#9207 - Fluorescent Ghost Mask with Shroud assortment.
Two ghost designs were incorporated into the #9837 - Wall & Door Plaque with Shroud decoration which named the 'Weeping Ghost' and 'Happy Ghost' among other horrors like a witch, skull, and vampire. Their motion censor activates light-up red eyes and a spooky sound effect. The sculpts were adapted from the original mask masters. We can currently date them back as far as 1994. Like the masks, earlier plaques have cotton shrouds while later have polyester.
#9873 - Wall & Door Plaque with Shroud, 'Weeping Ghost' and 'Happy Ghost'.
The 'Weeping' ghost design was also used for an early decoration called the #9854 - 6 Foot Ghoul which included a head with light up eyes and an inflatable body with plastic hands and feet. The ‘Ghoul’ joined a line with an inflatable ‘Monster’, 'Witch', and ‘Reaper’. After Scream, the 'Ghoul' was rebranded with an all black body and hands.
#9854 - 6 Foot Ghoul box.
Fun World expanded the #9206 mask assortment in 1995 with new 'Melty' and 'Grinning' ghost designs by Brigitte Sleiertin-Linden. This was also the year white shroud masks were retired, so white shrouds of these particular ghosts are exceptionally rare. They were never produced in fluorescent colors.
#9206 'Melty' and 'Grinning' ghosts.
In 1995, Fun World also created the #9223 - All-in-One Ghost Mask & Gown Costume, which added a child sized vest to a polyester shroud for a simple throw-over costume. The earliest of these costumes feature white painted over faces, while later versions have been found unpainted in glow and non-glow vinyl.
#9223 - All-in-One Ghost Mask & Gown Costume assortment [Photo: John Louis].
#9219 - Instant Disguise and #8919 - Glow in Dark Mask with Droop Collar featuring the 'Weeping' ghost.
In 1996, the ‘Weeping’ ghost was used in an assortment of adult sized throw-over costumes called the #9219 - Instant Disguise with other skulls and phantoms. The masks featured a long cape with a droop collar style hood. In 1997 a version without the cape was released as the #8919 - Glow in Dark Mask with Droop Collar.
In 1998 a new ‘Viper' ghost was added as Fun World leaned into scarier, more detailed designs. Their brand aesthetic transitioned from the classic pink ‘party orb’ style Fantastic Faces header cards to a new purple 'bat & moon' theme with the moniker Fearsome Faces. Masks from this era feature stretchier polyester shrouds and a vanilla-like scent from the vinyl mixture that is nostalgic and memorable to 90s and 00s kids. Over time the line reduced to fewer designs. A new 'Fang' ghost by Frank McGovern was added in 2001. At some point in the 2010s 'Viper' and 'Fang' switched names, though we choose to observe their creators original titles. The ‘Fang’ ghost is still made by Fun World as a licensed character from the Dead by Daylight video game called ‘Viper Face’.
Late polyester shrouded #9206 additions, 'Viper' and 'Fang'.
The Phantom of the Rock Opera costume used the 'Viper' ghost with black rocker paint and a long wig with hat. They are not common and few have been found, but this photo from Fun World's 1999 website confirms it was an original late 90s piece. The ghost masks that are not affiliated with film and video game characters have been retired and older masks remain highly collectible to vintage Halloween and horror collectors. They are the most celebrated Fun World masks and are an excellent gateway to other masks by the company. Read about other popular products on our website like the Skulls, Phantoms, and Ghouls.
Phantom of the Rock Opera costume, original property of Fun World Div / Easter Unlimited Inc c. 1999
Scream (1996) style cosplay [Photo: John Louis].
The ghosts experienced unprecedented popularity after Scream (1996) used the 'Weeping' ghost as the icon of their post-slasher film sensation. It's believed a white shroud mask was discovered by head producer Marianne Maddalena while location scouting. Short of a design for their ghost masked killer, she brought it to Wes Craven for consideration. Though he initially rejected it and tasked KNB Effects with creating an adaptation of it, their version did not read as successfully on camera and pressured production to license the rights for Fun World's mask on screen. This "icon of Halloween" spanned decades of Fun World masks, costumes, accessories, and decorations rebranded as the Scream Stalker in the late 90s and Ghost Face in the 00s. He continues to be seen on Halloween night among any fleet of trick 'r treaters.
Though Fun World previously offered a few costume accessories like capes, witch hats, and devil horns, it wasn't until the late 90s that they expanded largely into costume manufacturing. The first costume to feature a ghost was in 1997 with the Scream Stalker offered in child, teen, adult, and plus size. The costume came with a black cloak and a mask with a head strap and cloth bib to hide the wearers neck. The earliest costumes from 1997 have cotton bibs, while most have polyester. They are generally only collectible for the packaging, as fans prefer the full shrouded masks and replica sparkle robes available today.
Scream Stalker costume (machete not included).
Many variations of the Scream Stalker costume have been made over the decades in different novel varieties, such as the Bleeding Scream Stalker and the 7 Foot Scream Stalker.
Bleeding and 7 Foot Scream Stalker costumes, original property of Fun World c. 1999.
After the first retail season of Scream products, Fun World was aware of the extreme demand for the Scream Stalker character. In 1998, they heavily expanded their catalog of masks, costumes, and decorations revolving around the killer. To increase production of their popular mask they separated the 'Weeping' ghost from the #9206 assortment and cataloged it as #S9206 ('S' for 'Scream'). They produced several new sculptures from their various factories and rebranded the 'Weeping' ghost with an official Scream license from MIrimax. The factory variants are marked under the chin: MK, HN, T, TD, and N. In 2000, Fun World changed the branding of their Scream items to have black tags with a bloody slasher theme and officially coined the name "Ghost Face".
#S9206 - Glow in Dark Scream Stalker Mask with Shroud assortment with (left) 90s headers and (right) 00s headers [Photo: Jamil Ahmed].
Fun World also introduced a new series of special effect novelty masks in 1998 called the Bleeding Dripping mask, which included the Scream Stalker in its assortment of other Halloween characters. The bleeding 'Scream Stalker' is a highly memorable mask from the late 90s and 00s, and remains the only bleeding mask made by Fun World today. In 2000, it was rebranded with the new 'black & red' theme packaging and Ghost Face name.
Bleeding 'Scream Stalker' mask in 90s package (left) and 00s package (right).
One of the last Scream & Ghost Face products we will cover from Fun World's golden age is the #8501 - Metallic Mask with Shroud released around 2002. While fluorescent colors were fashionable in the 90s, the 00s saw a new sheen taking favor. Fun World manufactured metallic versions of their 'Ghost Face' and 'Steve' skull for this product assortment.
#8501 - Metallic Mask with Shroud assortment [Photo: Jamil Ahmed].
Scary Movie (2000) parodied an array of relevant contemporary horror films from the cultural zeitgeist. It centered on Ghost Face after the massive success of the Scream trilogy. Fun World manufactured the official licensed #8511 - Scary Movie Mask assortment. It did not depict The Killer, as it was deemed too similar to the standard Ghost Face mask for retailers interest, but did include three expressions seen in the film: 'Whassup', 'Smiley', and 'Stoned'. They were also offered as costumes, and a bleeding dripping version of the 'Whassup' was added to the Bleeding Mask line. They have been found more rarely in the #9223 - All-in-One Ghost Mask & Gown and #9219 - Instant Disguise assortments. The #8511 masks are still available today.
Scary Movie (2000) hero mask and costume [Photo: John Louis].
Another product of Fun World ghost masks we'd like to cover is the #9225 - Ghost Mask with Fancy Shroud assortment which originally included four designs in latex (different than vinyl) and featured polyester hoods with triangular cut ends. The faces were similar black blocked expressions with deeper textures, wrinkles and contours. We believe they were released in 1996. They originally came with Fantastic Faces 'party orb' style header cards and then Fearsome Faces 'bat & moon' style header cards in the late 90s, though the masks did not change much in quality. New designs were added in later years, like a classic reaper skull and a demonic skull.
One of the last ghost masks unrelated to the Scream & Ghost Face character license was the #8510 - Friendly Ghost Mask in 2000. The masks consisted of cartoonish child-friendly designs with more characatured expressions. They were offered in non-glow white and fluorescent orange vinyl. We've identified the main line up as the 'Tongue', 'Tooth', 'Teeth', and 'Viper Jr' ghosts which are all (T) stamped masks. The 'Squiggly' ghost was mostly used for child sized Skele-Bones costume variants in white, green, yellow, and red, though it has been found shrouded with a #8501 tag as well.