Elizabeth Watson

Walking home from dance class during October was terrifying as a little kid. I would sprint the whole two blocks home –– running between the street lights, stopping to catch my breath every 50 feet in the warm safety of their fluorescent glow. The cold night air made me shiver in my leotard and tights; I didn’t want to risk an off chance run-in with the monsters lurking in the shadows. And I may not be 10 years old, fleeing for my life down the quiet streets of my neighborhood after ballet practice anymore, but I’ve always erred on the side of caution when it comes to scary stories.

I think ghosts are too boring, zombies freak me out and werewolves are too niche. I prefer witches. Let me tell you why. First of all, they’re not too scary. As you might’ve figured, my Halloween entertainment tends to stay more along the lines of “It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown” rather than Stephen King’s “Pet Sematary.” But witches have never really given me those chills of horror, just a feeling of intrigue. Now, I’ll admit that this sense of security might be ill formed — I grew up in Alaska, about as far away from the Salem Witch trials as you can get. But even if witches are everything they’re made out to be in the hub of witchcraft lore in the Northeast, the degree of nightmares that they instill is less severe than that of the supernatural halloween creatures.

I think that witches are badass, they’re just misunderstood. The first “witches” were merely women practicing medicine who were persecuted for going against patriarchal traditions. And from that ancient persecution, the story transformed into the lore of witchcraft that we have today. Witches stand at a crossroads between paganism and satanic worship. Frightening as they may be, they’re much more fascinating than blood chilling. There is a wealth of lore and it can’t be boiled down to a singular story. They defy being categorized. I categorize them as bewitchingly badass, pun intended.

Think about the Harry Potter franchise. Hermione is arguably much cooler than either Harry or Ron. She’s a witch. Maybe I’m projecting everyone’s unspoken desire to be a Harry Potter character, which has come to fruition in attending Yale and a minor fascination with witches. Either way, witches are the badass counterpart of the wizarding world with a feminist agenda.

My favorite Halloween movie is “Hocus Pocus.” I watch it every year. And I’d be lying through my teeth if I said that there wasn’t some part of me that’s always wanted to be a Sanderson Sister. Admit it. You want to be one of them too. They cast spells, fly on broomsticks and shapeshift. “I Put a Spell on You” by the Sanderson Sisters? A banger. Not to mention their outfits. The witch look may not be my everyday choice of style, but it’s undeniably an aesthetic. The cloaks, pointy boots and hat, gloves, ritualistic jewelry. There’s a reason being a witch is such a popular Halloween costume. October street style is modeled on the blueprint of the witchy wardrobe. Have I convinced you to mentally rebrand witches as badass women who do magic and wear cool outfits?

I think that witches are antagonized because we’re all a little bit jealous of them. A bit jealous of them, a bit afraid of them. Their version of a club is slightly more intense than any we have here at Yale. I don’t think they have a tap night, and the audition process might look a bit different, but a witches coven is basically a glorified club. A girl group forming a coven to do witchy activities together? Whether the purpose of it is purely recreational or to wreak havoc, sign me up.

Surrounded by the pseudo gothic backdrop of Yale, the sense of witchcraft in the air is even more poignant. I’ve begun to appreciate the witch aesthetic of the Northeast. So this Halloween, I’m honoring the original badass. See you at the coven, I’ll be the one in the witch’s hat.