As Halloween approaches, Fall’s bright scenery is speckled with carved pumpkins and spooky decor offering the perfect backdrop for Wicked Witch Day. The concept of the wicked witch with her green face and flying broom has been popularized through children’s fairy tales and Hollywood movies, but these campy images only reflect a myopic modern idea of the “Halloween witch.” This idea has its roots in the historical, religious, an mythological practice of witchcraft, particularly the witchcraft practiced by the feared despised European “witches” of the the middle ages. Women accused of eating babies, fornicating with the devil, and killing livestock with their vicious spells were executed by the thousands during “The Burning Years” and the Inquisition, and regrettably these witch hunts spread to the colonies of the “New World” with the most notable trials taking place in Salem, Massachusetts. It was too late for thousands of victims, but eventually the advent of science offered explanations for many of the hardships formerly attributed to malevolent sorcery; witch hunts ceased and over time the witch morphed into the cartoonish emblem of deliciously fun evil that she is today.
Like most little girls I dressed up as a witch for Halloween at least once. I liked the versatile witch costume, with it’s oversized hat and the broom that doubled as a walking stick during the long door-to-door candy quest. Now, as I approach this Halloween costumeless, I’m beginning to realize — I’ve haven’t dressed as a witch during any of the fourteen or so Halloween’s of my adult life! And that’s really too bad — reaching adulthood substantially increases your options in the costume market and I know I’ve seen a lot of cute “sexy witch” outfits! Halloween hasn’t come and gone yet, but I’m almost positive I’m going to be lazy about costume selection this year (unless “couch potato” is a costume?), so maybe we’ll have to save this witch idea for next year. Hmmm…maybe I’ll be gigantically preggers witch next Halloween and we can make a few jokes about the little future Neigh being the spawn of the devil (Dad, hold your comments please).