This is the month kids look forward to, so they can put on masks and costumes to play pretend in public.
I’m a sucker for the playfulness and general weirdness that haunts Halloween. If my surname were any longer, it would qualify as an apparition. I get so excited, I started rehearsing for the autumnal masquerade six months ago, by wearing a mask.
My Halloween rehearsal mask isn’t full-face, so completely incognito I’m not, but I’m still semi-unrecognizable. If I’m at the supermarket, say, and someone I know walks right by me, I’m not offended. Depending who it is, I might even be relieved.
Let’s face it, though. Halloween or not, COVID or not, we wear masks all the time.
There’s the serious mask when trying to look pensive. The affable mask when trying to look friendly. The quizzical mask when trying to make sense of the nonsensical (a daily endeavor lately). The disdainful mask when eyeing the maskless. The mournful mask when suffering loss.
Actors—those professional students of the human condition—are trained to constantly study body language, including the nuances and nooks and crannies and contours of facial expressions.
Even if someone’s not an actor, is it any wonder we are more conscious than ever of each other’s full-time, unremovable “masks”? Nowadays, we see more of each other on a screen in virtual close-up than on the street in real-life fullness.
I recently heard a new expression, “resting Zoom face.”
Whatever it means, it sounds a little creepy, and not … quite … human.
More like a “Twilight Zone” episode.
Like the one in which we’re all currently appearing.
That’s it! I finally figured out my Halloween disguise!
Later this month, if you see a doppelganger, cigarette in hand, slipping in and out of shadowy recesses, who resembles Rod Serling, be sure to stop and say hello.
It’ll be me.
Bruce Apar is a writer, actor, consultant, and community volunteer. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org; 914-275-6887.