My second novel, For Your Eyes Only, has a character heroine who is playing a role. Unfortunately, Willa doesn’t get to wear a mask or costume to play Physicist or FBI agent. Undercover work is all about fitting in and playing a character, whereas Halloween is all about playing who doesn’t fit in—you know, like Frankenstein.
A masquerade can be constricting and frightening, as it is for Willa, or freeing and a hell of a lot of fun.
Years ago, I went a-Halloweeing dressed as Shirley Temple. I looked the part, but in that costume of blue-dotted dress, Mary-Janes, and curly red hair, something strange happened. I developed a rather un-Shirley attitude. Think Don Rickles* crossed with Joan Rivers inside Shirley Temple’s body: insulting, crass, rating what everyone else wore—all while puffing on a clove cigarette.
Yes. My hair is strawberry and It’s obvious I make as lousy a redhead, like Willa does a lousy lavenderhead.
Flash forward to a 40th birthday party, one where costumes were required. I went to that as a very pale Tina Turner from her days with Ike. My dress was red, short, and sparkly. There was karaoke. I sang Proud Mary, and DANCED LIKE TINA. This means everyone saw my underpants and I didn’t care. I’d so show you a photo of me in a crotch-skimming, sequined red dress with a plunging neckline, but all those appear to be…um, you know, lost.
Then I went to a 50th. I got my New Wave 80s on, did a little Debbie Harry number and attempted big hair. As you can see, my hair doesn’t big hair well.
Last year I went to a 50th channeling Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. There was no singing and I did not like wearing a wig, having a monobrow or moustache, but there were nachos and nachos make up for everything. I affected a Spanish accent whenever I said jalapeño, pico de gallo, or asked for a cerveza for Dr Shrinkee.
Restricting or freeing, how do you see a Halloween or any other kind of masquerade?
*Don Rickles is a master insulting comic who is still active. Your may know him from Pixar’s Toy Story series where he played Mr Potato Head.