Sunday, May 4, 2008

Which Witch is Which?

Author: Robert Thomson

The witch is certainly a powerful and popular figure, and the witch has appeared and reappeared in myths, cultural stories, legends, and literature through the ages. In fact, in almost every culture, in almost every period, you can find a witch-like figure.

The witch is certainly a powerful and popular figure, and the witch has appeared and reappeared in myths, cultural stories, legends, and literature through the ages. In fact, in almost every culture, in almost every period, you can find a witch-like figure. There is Lilith, a female witch-demon who appears in Jewish folklore, as well as Iranian, Christian, Greek, Mexican, and Arab literature.

In recent years, there are the young wizards and witches of J.K. Rowling’s beloved Harry Potter series. It is rare indeed to go an entire Halloween night and not see a few dozen Harry Potter Halloween costumes. So which witch do you want to be for your Halloween costume? Do you want to be a spooky witch, a green-faced witch, or even a good witch? Below I’ve given a brief explanation of three popular witch figures and legends, as well as some suggestions on how to make a great witch Halloween costume.

I’ll Get You, My Pretty!

Often, the first witch people think of is the Wicked Witch of the West from The Wizard of Oz, with her flowing black robes, pointed black hat, buckle shoes, warty nose, and emerald green skin. Add in a good cackle, maybe even a flying evil monkey, and you’ve got a great Halloween costume. It’s also a good Halloween costume to make at the last minute. You just need some black clothing, green face paint, a household broom, and some brown or black makeup. If you can scrounge up a black hat, you’ll surely be instantly recognized as a witch. Many Halloween costume shops sell or rent out witch costumes, which is often cheaper and less time intensive than buying all your items individually.

Double, Double Toil and Trouble….

For those Shakespeare buffs out there, why not find two good friends and go as the three witches from William Shakespeare’s Macbeth? Actually, if you have a group of four friends, have one of you dress up as Hecate, the powerful and historic witch of the night. As Shakespeare does not provide too much detail about the witches’ costumes, you and your friends can let your imagination decide what your Halloween costumes will look like. You could even rent one of the many versions of Macbeth (Scotland, PA is a particularly odd one), and see how other people have imagined the witches. This Halloween costume gives you a great excuse to dress up as a spooky, dark witch and memorize some beautifully creepy Shakespearean witch lines, like “Fair is foul, and foul is fair: hover through the fog and filthy air.”

I Saw Sarah Good with the Devil! I Saw Goody Osburn with the Devil!

My last suggestion for a witch Halloween costume is to do a little research about the Salem Witch Trials and Arthur Miller’s The Crucible. Most people encountered The Crucible in high school classes. It is a play detailing a witch-hunt that occurs in a Puritan community. This sounds like an odd lead-in to Halloween costume advice, but Miller’s tale about people accusing others of witchcraft and “dancing with the devil in the forest” provides a lot of fun possibilities for Halloween costumes. Like the Macbeth witches, this could be a great group Halloween costume idea. Have some bewitched Puritans, have some religious folk, and maybe even a witch or a devil.

Paul Hulse writes for the Halloween Costume online retailer www.incostume.com. Please visit their site for more information on Costumes for all occasions.

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