Halifax — Dressing as a goblin, ghoul or ghost is fair play, but leave the broomstick and pointy hat out of Halloween, say a group of local witches.
Cultural appropriation happens when one culture adopts elements of another, and several Maritime women say dressing your kid as a witch for trick-or-treating, or worse, going as a “sexy witch” to a party, is cultural appropriation as its worst.
“I’ve seen these ‘slutty witch’ costumes and they’re demeaning not only to women, but to practising witches such as myself,” said Raven Mackinaw, 24, of Dartmouth, wearing a low-cut black bustier and heavy makeup even though it was Tuesday afternoon. “Witches don’t want to be seen that way — it’s a caricature of our culture.”
We asked Mackinaw, who just decided to become a witch this year, what that culture entails. She brushed off the question, and seemed largely ignorant of Wicca and the fact that it’s already an established pagan religion.
During university Mackinaw blossomed among like-minded liberal arts students, but just this past year she’s traded in her preppy wardrobe and weekend parties for long velvet robes and seances — all in a transparent attempt to add a point of interest to her otherwise bland personality.
Mackinaw’s friends have jumped on the same strange bandwagon.
“When Donald Trump got elected, I was like, no, just…no,” explained Darcy Dorchester, a close friend of Mackinaw’s. “We cannot allow the patriarchy to win. We will not. So that’s why I became a witch.”
The connection between disliking politics in America and practising witchcraft in Eastern Canada seemed tenuous, so we asked Dorchester to elaborate.
“Well it’s like, I just feel so powerless in my everyday life, right? I just felt like I couldn’t do anything to stop Trump and his evil on my own, but with my witchy sisters, you bet your ass we’ll stop him! You gotta fight evil with evil, right? So we made a voodoo doll and bought candles and cast a spell on him.”
As this was all obviously nonsense, our reporter tried to bring the conversation back to Halloween.
“Halloween is OUR holiday!” shrieked Mackinaw. “It’s for goddesses of darkness to join hands under the moonlight and summon our feminine energy and collective power. It is NOT for candy and kids and parties and dances. I mean, how would you like it if we dressed as normal human beings on Halloween? Wouldn’t you be offended?”
The witches have petitioned local retailers to remove witch costumes from stores, or else.
“First off, I have to clarify something: the witch costumes they put up are so silly,” said Dorchester, touching up her jet-black eyebrows. “We don’t actually wear any of that stuff. We don’t wear pointy hats — we wear floppy felt hats and lacy tops and leather skirts and a lot of dark, seductive makeup. Basically anything that makes us look kind of dangerous, but hot. Check out my Instagram if you don’t believe me.
“And yes, if stores don’t take these offensive costumes out, we’re going to boycott Halloween! Then you’ll all be sorry!”