Case 032: Halloqweenfiled October 29, 2020
It’s a rather unconventional October here at The InQueery research labs. At this stage of any other cycle solaris our cultural analytics team would be poring over the sartorial tragedies of another summer party season, and ramping up for the pièce de résistance of bad behavior: All Hallows’ Eve. In the wake of a pandemic and in the shadow of the likely end of the democratic experiment, this year’s night of mischief and masquerade hits a bit differently. At some point, we have to ask: When the world is undergoing such an extreme metamorphosis, why must gays do Halloween?
“Look, they’re addicted to tragedy,” said Susan Godfrey, consulting cultural curator for The InQueery. “The great heroes of the queer canon always dress up and turn out no matter how dire the situation. Think Norma Desmond in her turban; Debbie Reynolds in those fucking gold-beaded dresses dancing at casinos until she died; Naomi Campbell stomping it in Dolce & Gabana to community service. There’s a defiance in dressing up, especially when the heteronormative world does not call for it.” In salute to the queers who intend on showing up, even via Zoom, in a full lewk, The InQueery has assembled our picks for next-level 2020 costumes.
Who knew moisture was going to have such a moment this year? Gaga and Ariana kicked off the summer with the aquatic power anthem “Rain on Me,” inspiring a cascade of Little Monsters to grab the hose in an act of sopping solidarity. Another fishy twosome, Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion, had us all drooling for some WAP! WAP! WAP! later in the year, inspiring the good folx of the internet to show off their own water-bending (and bussy-basting) skills.
In the safety of your backyard or tub, fill as many water balloons as you’d like, tie them on a string and drape your aquatic garland around you a la Britney with a snake, and presto! You’re now a water-balloon-clad slut in the dead of autumn. Whether you’re at a socially distanced drag show or in the comfort of your own well-drained home, pop those bébés throughout the night and get it wet and gushy!
2. Literally any character who wears a mask
If you simply must go out this Halloween, make your mask the centerpiece of your costume, so that you’ll keep it the fuck on. Did you finally binge Watchmen after months of everyone telling you it’s amazing? Regina King in a mask paired with a hooded cloak? Yes. Do you watch The Masked Singer? Have at any one of those monstrosities. You remember Sugar & Spice? What could be more fun than Mena Suvari robbing a bank in a cheerleader mask. Try Tom Hardy in half his films (hot). Think about the sandswept ladies of Portrait of a Lady on Fire (HOT). Think about full Hazmat Meryl in Silkwood (literally too hot). You could even go lip-sync Valentina if you’re really out of ideas. One thing’s for sure: if you’re not mask4mask, no treats and certainly no tricks!
3. That pile of clothes on your floor
Nightlife may come and go, restaurants close and reopen, but there’s one constant in your life… that pile of clothes on your floor. This Halloween, don’t put them away—put them on! That Scotch & Soda top your mother bought you that you wear for your work zooms? It’s a cape now. That Yale sweater you stole from the guy you fucked who lives by Gramercy? Also a cape. You’ve returned time and again to your unwashed 2017 Betty Who concert tee and left last year’s RealReal splurge in the back of the closet. Your pile has seen it all and stood by you, even when all your friends left the city. Do what any friend would do and say thanks with a tribute!
4. Miley Cyrus’ 2020 look
Been through a lot this year? Celebrate your shakeups by toasting the unsinkable queen of revivals, comebacks, and reinventions. In January, Miley finalized her divorce from Liam Hemsworth, and now she’s rocking a chic mullet, wearing diamonds over her gloves, and sounding better than ever. Whether you moved home with mom and dad, broke up with “the one,” or were furloughed and then fired, let Miley inspire you to shake off your malaise. Advise your roommate to let loose when buzzing your mullet; go hard in the Sally Beauty Supply peroxide section; and blast Blondie until you can’t stop. Now more than ever, the world needs you to look hot and reap revenge.
5. The Fly
In any other year, you wouldn’t be caught dead in such an obvious costume as The Fly That Landed on Mike Pence’s Hair in the Debate. But with no parties to attend this year, there’s no reason you can’t go full Topical Reference and adorn yourself with glittery wings, jeweled eyes, an N95 proboscis and a tote bag full of eggs to lay one at time all over the scalp of someone who doesn’t deserve to live. The way this fly swooped in, stole the spotlight and distracted an anxious nation? You couldn’t pick a gayer costume if you dressed as Moira Rose again. As you wash your hands throughout the night, you can think about that darling way the flies are always rubbing their little mits together. And lucky you, your partner’s Joe Biden Fly Swatter just arrived in the mail.
6. The STDs you didn’t contract
It’s been a long year, and for the few remaining singletons among us, there may have been some close calls on Grindr, or at your ex’s “chill” backyard hang-turned-witch-orgy. Indeed, if earlier this year you felt a bit uncouth mentioning to a heterosexual Zoom engagement party that you’d just vomited up your gonorrhea medication, now is the time to release the shame! As the rest of the ghouls and phantasms of our subconscious come out to play on Halloween night, exorcise your own sexual demons by dressing as them! Turn up as a chiffon jellyfish, in honor of the giardia lamblia you hoped to contract in Fire Island. Glue some festive pipe cleaners to your backside, and call it chlamydia! Consider it a casting away of your sins, or, as queer tradition calls for, a fond embrace of the abject.
Our Conclusion: Slap on a pussycat wig, pour yourself a stiff one and just watch Practical Magic.
Queer Rating: A dark power is about to rise in Sunnydale.
Reporting by David Odyssey, Louie Rendon and Sam Bolen