“Witch” is pretty much the most Classic Halloween Costume. Sure you can add other accessories like a cloak or broom, and usually the base of the costume is a black dress or other black outfit, but really all you need is a pointy black witch hat. With this simple and customizable costume, you can be cute, creepy, sexy, stylish or whatever else you want to be. The only problem is that about three million other people will be wearing the same thing. Or maybe you want to go as a witch, but you want to mix it up and add a little creativity to your costume. Maybe you don’t want to wear one because the best theory about why witches wear these hats says that it’s because they’re similar to hats that Jewish people were forced to wear in the 13th Century and Christians connected Jewish people with dark arts and the devil. Or, If you’re anything like me, there’s a pretty good chance you’ve already gone as a witch. Maybe more than once.
Don’t worry, though, I’m here with the perfect solution: witch costumes that don’t rely on the pointy hat. I’ve got witches from folklore and myth, witches from TV and movies and even witches from real life, and none of them are wearing pointy black hats. In fact, a lot of them don’t wear any black at all.
Baba Yaga is one of the most famous witches from Slavic folklore. She’s pretty much the go-to example of a hag in many people’s minds. This is a pretty simple costume, you just need a long white wig that you’ve messed up a bit, a loose blue dress and a brown cape. If you want to go as the version of the character from Marika McCoola and Emily Carroll’s Baba Yaga’s Assistant (pictured above), than you can throw in some blue face paint to really get the look going. As a final touch, carry around a mortar and pestle, regular size, because I don’t know a place that sells them big enough to fly around in. Plus, you can use a cardboard box and yellow leggings or pants to make a Hut on Chicken Legs costume.
Kiki from Kiki’s Delivery Service
I love Kiki’s Delivery Service, it’s one of my favorite movies about witches. This one is pretty simple, and other than one key detail (the titular Pointy Black Hat), it’s really similar to most other witch costumes. You still go with the black dress, but instead of that hat, you put a cute (and big) red ribbon in your hair. All you need is a bag and your very own Jiji to join you on all your deliveries. If you already have a bag, you can get your own Jiji stuffed animal. Also, did you know they make specific bags for Kiki cosplay that have little Jijis attached? How adorable is that!
Jenny Greenteeth or Peg Powler
These are two river hags from English Folklore, and they look pretty similar. They’re described as being green-skinned (I’m not sure why it’s Jenny Greenteeth and not Jenny Greenskin, but hey, I’m not in charge of English folklore), willowy women covered in river plants and with long, dark hair. They also drown children who get too close to rivers in England, but you probably shouldn’t do that as a part of your costume. To make up for that creepy part of the story, you can wear these super cute sprout hair clips!
Maja the Sky Witch
You might remember this witch from one of the gayer episodes of Adventure Time. She’s the witch who ends up trading Marceline’s doll Hambo for the rock shirt that Marceline gave to Bubblegum because, according to Maja, it has fresher and more sentimental value (because Bubblegum and Marceline are like, totes gay for each other). Don’t forget to put your hair into a giant bun!
In Neil Gaiman’s creepy children’s book Coraline, and the movie it inspired, the Other Mother is also called the Beldam, which is a term used to describe hags and witches. In order to get those super-creepy button eyes and still be able to see, here’s a helpful DIY for you! Here’s a secret: I’ve never actually seen this movie. I have read the book, but for some reason I can’t remember, I was against the movie when it came out? I should probably check it out.
Okay, so I don’t know if she technically counts as a witch, because she’s really a mutant (or not anymore, but whatever), but I still count her. Here’s the thing though, I am not a fan of her costume in Avengers: Age of Ultron (I mean, I’m not really a fan of a lot of that movie), so let’s just go with a costume out of the comics. It may be a little more goofy and impractical, but it creates a much cooler image, and really, in the end, that’s what superhero costumes are all about, isn’t it?
The Little Mermaid is my second favorite Disney movie (after Lilo and Stitch), and Ursula is definitely my favorite villain. She’s just so cool and self-confident and deliciously evil. She’s also a sea witch. She’s one of the few pop culture witches who is fat, and as a fat woman, that makes me like her even more. Plus, dressing up like Ursula gives you the opportunity to really go wild with your makeup.
Now, you may be thinking that Carrie wasn’t a witch, she was just a girl with telekinesis. Technically, I think you’re right, but also, isn’t any girl or woman who uses magic or special powers a witch? Also, her mom called her a witch, and throughout history, people being accused of being witches has been a major part of the development of the modern Witch Identity. There’s probably a better and less sticky way to do this costume than to pour a pint of fake blood over your head, but I’m not really sure what it is.
Hecate is the Greek goddess of crossroads, ghosts, dogs and, most importantly, witchcraft. Earlier depictions of Hecate showed her as a single deity holding two torches, but later on, she was often shown as a triple figure, representing her mystical nature. And while she still holds the torch, she also holds a snake, key and other items. Dressing as Hecate is great because it works both as a solo costume or as a costume for you and two as your friends!
Here’s our second Disney villain, they sure do like witches. Or I guess, really, they don’t like witches, they like showing them as the bad guys. That doesn’t matter, they’re all terrific characters. Madam Mim is probably the best part of the movie she was in, The Sword in the Stone, or at least she’s the most fun part of it. The wig in the picture looks much, much, much nicer than Mim’s hair, so that just means that you’ll have to go wild with the scissors before you put the wig on.
Remember when Carrie Brownstein said that she and her friends were a coven and not a squad? That’s confirmation enough that she’s a witch for this list. And here’s the really great thing, here at Autostraddle, we knew the day would come when you wanted to dress like Carrie for Halloween, and we actually wrote an entire article on how to dress like her! If you don’t want to click on that link, I’d suggest that you put most of your focus into your collar. For my money, no one can work an accent collar on a button up shirt quite like Carrie Brownstein.
Those are some of my favorite witches who don’t wear the traditional witch costume, who are some of yours?
This is the best post I’ve ever read.
haha! thank you! I’m glad you like it!
Carrie Brownstein was such a great surprise!
Thank you! She was a late addition!
I have the pleasure of living near Jenny Greenteeth! She’s but a few towns over. I love local legends like her – there’s ones about a wizard in Alderley Edge, which inspired the book Weirdstone of Brisingamen, which is a great magical children’s book.
Liked this article a lot! Good stuff
Nice! That’s really cool! Be careful not to get too close to the water!
Where’s Jenny Greenteeth meant to be based? While trying to find my way to the Wizard in Alderly Edge, I got lost in a really posh neighbourhood. Some kids accosted me, but they didn’t know the Wizard. I tried to explain it was the place where a ghostly King Arthur is waiting to awaken…and they ran screaming up their long, long driveway.
I was going to wear and orang jump suite if I do make plans for Halloween, but now I am thinking going as Carrie and busting out some red lipstick. hmmm
Madam Mim WAS brilliant, wasn’t she!
Oh gosh I need that Ursula dress. I’d wear it for every major holiday and just to the shops.
Ah but Wanda has both magic powers and mutant powers. The magic powers first were related some beyonder god dude and then later in canon from some earth type goddess.
Her mutant power was supposed to be the ability to change reality, but I don’t know for sure what Marvel is doing with her powers in the comics verse now.
Oh, thanks for explaining this! I haven’t read a ton of comics featuring her and I’ve always been confused about her vague powers.
Me neither, but I’m an information sponge and have borne witness to vicious nerd arguments about the nature of her powers and M-Day.
“The Scarlet Witch possesses the mutant power of affecting probability fields. By a combination of gestures and mental concentration, she creates a hex-sphere, a finite pocket of reality-disrupting quasi-psionic force, which upon reaching its intended target, causes disturbance in the molecular-level probability field surrounding the target.”
“Wanda is also a living focal point for the earth’s magic. Her sorcerous training with Agatha Harkness is separate from her mutant ability of probability (science). But the mixture of the two makes her considerably more powerful than just using her probability powers. She has a special affinity for the natural elements and materials that true witches utilize in their spells: the four alchemical elements, wood, organic substances, etc.”
I’ve long considered cosplaying the 616 version of her with awesome coat
but the MCU version is easier to put together and I already have a red stone necklace with silver base, most the dresses I own are black. It’s probably going to Halloween costume this year if I happen to feel girly.
You could also go as a Witch of the Wilds from Dragon Age and be Flemmeth or Morrigan!
Willow! Or Tara! All flowy, hippy kind of garb! Or all leather and maroon stuff for when she was evil witch willow! Am I getting too old to be in love with buffy?
You’re never too old to be in love with Buffy. I watched one of the Halloween episodes tonight actually.
“Witch” is a hero title in Homestuck – in the game Sburb, each player gets a hero title that’s X of Y, and each title has an associated costume that you get when you go God Tier. X (Class) determines the cut, Y (Aspect) determines the color. Witches in Homestuck are able to manipulate their aspect, often to absurd and superpowered means. It’s pretty cute – a long shirt with tails, over a flowy skirt, with leggings!
Here’s a reference sheet for a Witch of Space, who in Jade’s case has been know to teleport and move planets. If you’re playing Jade Harley in particular, another detail would be dog ears, since she melds with her dog guardian (who is also an omnipotent being) at one point:
The other canon Witches we know are Feferi (Witch of Life – she has revived people before) and Damara (Witch of Time – she got recruited to fuck up the history of her planet’s reincarnated self. yeah, I know.)
You could also go as Rose Lalonde, who isn’t officially a Witch, but gained witch-like powers after communing with the Horrorterrors (Cthulu-like beings):
Second dress, and imagine the first dress with a black and purple color scheme
Ahhh, I’m making Halloween costumes for two people this year and BOTH are on this list. Ursula’s plan is already done (just need more and more fabric), but definitely taking some of the Baba Yaga tips for ideas!
You GUUUUUUUYS this is just AWESOME!! I mean, I’ve been wanting to do a Ms. Frizzle costume for ages, but these might be easier to create.
To be fair, I think her actual MCU costume looks quite a bit like the version you like. There is a long coat, except it’s made of a sturdier leather like material, and she is wearing pants, which is a lot more practical than red tights. They have also stripped her of the head gear, but they’ve stripped most people of headgear that doesn’t serve an explicit purpose.
What she wears during most of Ultron isn’t supposed to be a costume. I think it’s just what she is wearing. When she joins the Avengers at the end she gets a costume.
THIS IS SO GOOD ?
Madam Mim scared the crap out of me when I was younger and kind of still does.
The Sword in The Stone scarred me. The over- touchy squirrel scenes? I haven’t gotten over that.
my a cappella group is having a costume and we’re dressing as a coven of witches and this is perfeccctttttt thank you mey!!