It’s really hot in my neck of the woods. In fact it’s not just my neck of the woods that’s hot—it extends at least as far down as the navel and beyond the forehead. We’ve had a record-breaking number of days in the 90’s, which makes people who use Celsius react in horror and ask if I live on Venus. I don’t, and I don’t live near any of the cities in the United States named Venus—they’re in Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, Nebraska, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Missouri. To get to any of them you might have to pass through Uranus, but that’s another story.
All this heat is unusual for October, at least for now. Soaring temperatures are probably the new normal, but I remember many Halloweens when I had arguments with my parents over whether I’d have to wear a coat over my costume which, obviously, would ruin the effect. It should have occurred to me then that the way around that would be to dress up as a werewolf, Godzilla, or The Human Torch—you know, something warm.
Maybe it’s why the costumes I’ve put on as an adult have tended toward the elaborate, and heavy, like the time I was a gargoyle. Or Captain Hook, or The Fly, or Rorschach from The Watchmen. That would only be part of it, really. The other part would be that I still have this dream of someday playing the monster in a horror film. It’s why I’ve said my ideal Halloween costume is one that makes it difficult for me to see, eat, or breathe—I’m only partly kidding about that. Most cinematic monsters are now the product of CGI, but there’s something admirable about actors who were committed enough to a role to wrap themselves up in latex and stand under hot lights for hours. Part of what made The Shape Of Water so amazing, aside from great acting and a great story, is Guillermo del Toro’s commitment to an actual actor in a rubber suit. Altered, a 2006 film directed by Eduardo Sánchez, who’s better known for co-directing The Blair Witch Project, works well for the same reason.
If there’s an advantage to the rising mercury—and speaking of that there are three towns in the United States named Mercury—is that all those “sexy” costumes suddenly make a lot more sense. The big one for this year has been the “sexy Mr. Rogers” and, yeah, in this weather putting on a sweater is pretty hot.