Halloween Traditions: Why Do Witches Wear Pointy Hats?

Halloween is THE day to explore magic! So in honor of all you wizards and sorceresses, it is my pleasure to remind you today, on this sacred Feast of the Ancestors, JUST HOW IMPORTANT your pointy hat is! And why your forbears started wearing one in the first place.

Did you know that Trick-or-Treating was originally a May Day tradition?

Or that our American tradition of leaving plates of cookies for Santa Claus, originated on Halloween?  

That’s right!  Before weary folks went to bed on Halloween night in many countries (including the British Isles,) they would honor their ancestors by leaving a real, honest-to-goodness feast on the table, complete with all the place settings.

That’s why Halloween (or Samhain, in the Pagan vernacular) became known as the Feast of the Dead.

What do these facts have to do with witch hats?

Absolutely nothing!

I just thought they were cool. 

In pagan circles, the witch represents the Crone, which is one of the three traditional aspects of the Goddess (the other two being the Maid and the Mother.)

Trick or Treaters are perpetuating some of the world’s most ancient and revered traditions when they wear a witch’s costume.

For instance:

    • The witch’s tall, pointed hat was thought to utilize the geometrics of a pyramid to draw power down to the Crone’s head (the crone being the wise woman of ancient villages).
    • The hat’s flared brim was the vehicle by which the Crone sent out her power to do her bidding.
    • Her black dress represented the dark side of the Goddess’s nature (dormant, nurturing, or “womblike,” rather than evil.)
    • Her broomstick was the shaman’s horse upon which she took her astral journeys, riding over the moon to other realities.

2 replies
  1. Judy Teel
    Judy Teel says:

    Great article! I read last year that the stigma of evil around these traditions was perpetrated by the Roman Catholic priests/missionaries of the time who were keen to convert the Celts.

    So fascinating how this stuff gets started and becomes part of our culture!

  2. Adrienne deWolfe
    Adrienne deWolfe says:

    Thanks, Judy! And you’re totally right: the early Roman Church was so desperate to lure pagans away from their nature gods and seasonal festivals, that the priests did everything in their power to denounce Pagan customs and substitute “sanctified” Christian festivals in their stead. This movement eventually resulted in the historical birthday of Jesus Christ being “changed” to December, because Yule was one of the more popular Pagan festivals of the age. (Although no scholars appear to know definitively, Jesus Christ’s historical birthday is often cited as occurring in the Spring. Source: http://www.ucg.org/holidays-and-holy-days/when-was-jesus-christ-born/)

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