WELLSBORO – Local men and women are invited to join the Witches and Brooms dance group as they celebrate Halloween with dance.
Shirley Welch, Bunny and Willow Lockett prepare to start dance practices for the event. This year’s theme is Hocus Pocus.
“We’re excited and we want other people to be excited,” Welch said.
The group first formed in 2019, dancing to German pop artist Peter Fox’s “Schüttel deinen Speck” or “Shake Your Bacon” as part of the Halloween parade. They’ll repeat that dance this year and expand the repertoire to songs like Bette Midler’s “I Put a Spell on You” and “Monster Mash.”
“When we were kids, adults told us that witches were terrible and mean and wouldn’t hesitate to hex us,” Welch said. “But as we get older and become more aware of history and society, we realize that witches aren’t that bad at all.”
Practices are held from 6 to 7 p.m. for six consecutive Tuesdays, beginning Sept. 20, at the Wellsboro Moose Lodge on Old Tioga Street. The final rehearsal, October 25, will be a tea party/dress rehearsal so dancers can try on their costumes, take part in a wizarding fashion show, and share refreshments and social time.
“What matters most is how you see yourself,” Welch said. “Halloween isn’t just about putting on a costume, it’s about finding the imagination and the costume within ourselves. On Halloween, you can be anything you want to be.
The group will dance at the Wellsboro Halloween Parade, scheduled for Monday, October 31 starting at 6:30 p.m.
That’s very low pressure, Welch and the Locketts said.
Costumes can be as simple or as elaborate as the dancer wishes. In the first year, the dancers ran the gamut, from warty noses and well-worn black dresses, to sequins and dazzling lace glam witches, from wise women to elves and wizards.
“Some of the ladies who came were amazing, but I was wearing a simple outfit,” Willow Lockett said. “I felt like a wizard, but I didn’t wear makeup. And it was easy to set up.
Bunny Lockett, on the other hand, is currently planning a Glinda the Good Witch-like costume, complete with a crown. Welch reuses dresses from thrift stores.
Pretty much the only costume requirement is a broom or something similar needed for the dance.
“You don’t have to be a witch. You can be whatever you want, but you have to carry a broom or a stick,” Willow Lockett said.
The focus should be on comfort and the ability to move around in the costume. With October’s unpredictable weather, it might be a good idea to have a costume that can accommodate warmer underwear or an extra cape.
They also recommend comfortable shoes; three blocks doesn’t seem long until you dance the full length, they said. The dance steps can also be adapted to suit everyone’s dance
“Don’t worry if you can’t keep up with the dance,” Bunny Lockett said. “Just walk and move the broom with the other dancers.
Dancers can register at the Enchanted Hollow store on East Avenue. A registration fee is requested to cover miscellaneous expenses and snack refreshments.
Dancers can register at Enchanted Hollow during store hours from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday or call 570-724-1155 during store hours.