Appalachia Ghosts - Haints - Spooky

I have Turned to a Witch

Chatter and Chitter –  Wearing homemade Halloween Costumes

I Have turned to a Witch written by Mary Lou McKillip

Some seventy one years ago in October of 1945 my Mama, Miss Julie as she was called, made me a witch costume for Halloween. I was only three years of age and Mama was still reading stories to me. She had just finished the story of Hansel and Gretel and the big bad witch of the deep forest.

Mama was a very good seamstress. She made the costume out of one of her old black dresses and made a face with a long nose with a wart on it out of stockings. She painted some dark slanted eyes and lips with crayons and lipstick. She made a black hat out of felt lined with cardboard to make it stand up. The costume looked liked the witch in the story to a T, especially to this three year old.

We were anxious to try the costume on before the others children took me trick or treating through the neighborhood. Mama dressed me and stood me up on the dresser near the mirror to let me see myself. I started screaming and tearing the costume off saying, “I have turned to a witch I have turned to a witch!”

I would not put the costume back on and did not go trick or treating with the others. They got one more good laugh about me thinking I really had turned into the old witch. I believed I had turned to the witch in Hansel and Gretel because the bad witch of the deep forest had put a spell on me.


I hope you enjoyed Mary Lou’s Halloween memory as much as I did. It so reminded me of something Chatter or Chitter would do. In fact the very first time I took the girls trick or treating Chitter refused to dress up. She wasn’t scared like Mary Lou, she just was not going to put on any weird clothes. So Chitter went as herself and Chatter went as a fairy.

We hardly ever bought costumes, like Mary Lou’s mother, I would come up with something from things we had around the house. The year of the photo above we had an Angel and Pocahontas.


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  • Reply
    Pam Danner
    October 12, 2016 at 8:09 am

    The girls look so cute in the photo! Loved the story. I always mage my girls costumes. One year I made a Cinderella costume for Amy and a Snow White costume for Nicole they each won prettiest for their grades at the school Fall Festival. I have a photo of myself dressed as a fairy complete with clear sparkly wings, crown and wand, I was about 4 or 5. I remember when I was in elementary school, my Dad was picking me up one cool crisp October day after school . I got in the car and my Dad handed me a witch mask. I took one look at that mask started crying and said I’m not wearing that! My Dad got a real chuckle out of that!!! I also remember trick or treating and walking to houses to the smell of popcorn. Somehow it smelled extra good during Halloween. It still does!

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    October 11, 2016 at 11:19 pm

    Mary Lou is kinfolks. She is a first cousin of my first cousin’s wife.
    We never paid much attention to Halloween when I was growing up. My folks thought it to be the Devil’s holiday but they never forbade our participation or never did anything to promote it either. Trick or Treating was pretty much out of the question. We lived at the end of the road. The head of the holler. The nearest house was a quarter of a mile away and the next nearest was another quarter and so on. We didn’t have a car and didn’t get one until I was too old to participate in such goings on. An apple or a few pieces of candy weren’t worth the effort it took to walk a mile and back just to “hit” four houses. We did have a little Halloween party at school and some of the kids would get to wear costumes that day.
    Our big event of the year was the Fall Festival we held at school every year. It brought in every able-bodied citizen in the area served by Almond Elementary School. It was the annual social event for Needmore and Almond, Wesser and Silvermine Creek, Sawmill and Brush Creek, Euchella, Watia, Lauada and Grassy Branch and all points between. People came to let their hair down in a puritan sort of way. They could play games of chance and call it support for their local school. Bingo, Cake Walks & Fishing. A few dollars wagered to support the local school. Those were innocent times.

  • Reply
    October 11, 2016 at 6:21 pm

    That is neat, and creative.. I can remember wearing a mask, and falling over every thing, and one night a dog got after me and scared me to death.. I don’t remember asking to go trick or treating anymore after that, it just wasn’t worth getting bit.. And I don’t think my parents minded at all..

  • Reply
    Eva Nell Mull Wike, PhD
    October 11, 2016 at 1:42 pm

    Tipper: I never hear about a scary trick or treat event without recalling the scariest one I ever ‘supervised’ with my high school students in Oliver Springs. TN. With the help of LOTS of folks in the school/community we got to use the third floor of an OLD building in town – which had been a hospital. My students decided the local funeral home would lend us a casket – if we ask. So I said “Go ask! See if we can get a casket!” THEY DID AND THE FUN BEGAN!
    So in three nights of inviting folks to tour the haunted hospital we made $600.00 which was donated to a coal miner’s son, who was hoping to become an AFS exchange student. When folks read about the event and our mission, more and more folks donated to our ’cause’ for the coal miner’s son. We were able to cover his expenses and provided ‘spending money’ while he was on the exchange! HE DID GOOD!
    Eva Nell

  • Reply
    October 11, 2016 at 1:24 pm

    Those two little girls look so beautiful all dressed-up in their Halloween Costumes. I use to get a lot of candy doing this. One time a bunch of us boys were all dressed up in our Halloween Costumes and went to this old couple…The Seonies. They were both richer than sin and all they had to give was Silver Dollars. Well, it didn’t take us long to figure out how to get more of those Silver Dollars. We exchanged our outfits and went back and got more. Mr. Seaonie was a retired War General and his wife had inherited a fortune from her parents Ship-building and Routes from England to America. …Ken

  • Reply
    mary Lou McKillip
    October 11, 2016 at 9:35 am

    I know the two apples of your eyes and now they are making such wonderful music and I know you swell with pride over those two so talented and witty. I pray every little spook is safe this Halloween.
    Mary Lou McKillip

  • Reply
    Ron Banks
    October 11, 2016 at 9:24 am

    I never really dressed up either. But one time I bought a tube of vampire blood at the 5&10 store in Ellijay. I thought it would be fun to scare my mother so I went behind the house and put the fake blood on my face and hands. I started yelling for mom in a frantic way. When she came around the corner of the house she stopped dead in her tracks and put her hand over her mouth. Then she yelled, “Oh Lord what have you done?” When I started laughing her fear turned to anger. I assure you that I regretted my decision to scare her at that very moment. The dreaded hickory switch was my much deserved punishment for my antics that day.

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    October 11, 2016 at 8:40 am

    I loved Mary Lou’s memory. I hope somewhere she has a photo of her short time as a witch! So funny, bless her little heart! I hope it didn’t turn her from witches forever, for there are still a few around! ha
    We always made our boys costumes here as well. Generally, they were Hobo’s, clowns, crazy characters from Adam’s Family, ghosts and handkerchief masks . Now a days, clowns are one of the scariest characters of all. In fact with all the goings on with the evil clown scare, I wouldn’t recommend any one dress as a clown!
    Very cute picture of the girls. I did a scrapbook of pictures of my grandchildren just of their Halloween trick or treating years and the different costumes the wore thru the years. My oldest grandson quit trick or treating a few years ago, he is 15, and one will probably quit this year. They have fun giving out the candy. We have gone over to their homes every year, since we live back in the woods and no one dares wander up that long wooded driveway.
    One year after we moved here, way before grandchildren, we decided to have a Halloween party. We hung a big (sheet) ghostly figure on a tree limb that was overhanging the driveway. My husband would hide in the woods, hold the rope and lower it just as a car came around the curve in the drive way, then jerk said ghost up and over the car. It was quite a bit of fun, until the ghost finally got tired and hung his self around a another tree limb.
    Thanks Tipper for this post and Mary Lou.
    PS…At our last party, I wanted to bring in a large tub and fill it with water and apples. My husband said that was a old game for kids. I won out, my carpet was soaked, but we had a blast. That is the last time I ever remember, even after going to parties later in our life, that I bobbed for apples!

  • Reply
    October 11, 2016 at 8:19 am

    Your story reminded me of my Halloween childhood. I had a pirate costume that I wore for a couple of years and also I had a penguin costume, custom made just for me by an adopted aunt. funniest yThe ear was when my brother tried to dress as a woman with stockings and heels. He couldn’t walk in those shoes. We used to go together until he got too old which was about twelve/thirteen. Good memories, especially the candy and goodies. Things didn’t have to be put through x-ray machines and uncovered apples didn’t have to be thrown away. Happy Halloween memories to all readers! The girls look so cute in their homemade costumes.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    October 11, 2016 at 8:14 am

    I’m with Chitter. I do not even like to wear clothes with a prominent logo. I tell people I am fun impaired. I do not like the limelight at all. I can’t recall dressing up very much. The only time I remember I dressed up as Huck Finn wearing pretty much what I wore on any given day. I kinda liked that one in part because I had a homemade corncob pipe with rabbit tobacco.
    One elderly couple that lived on our ridge would treat us with either small baked sweet potatoes or pennies. I remember eating the sweet potato. As you might suspect, I don’t remember other treats.

  • Reply
    Ed Karshner
    October 11, 2016 at 7:57 am

    My son was like that. When he was 3, 4, and 5 he would trick or treat in his little Carhart jacket. My daughter Alex likes to dress up. Her first real costume was Elsa from Frozen. But, she wore a racoon mask. She said she was a Racoon Elsa.
    I admire her creativity and the boy’s stick to itness of why fix what ain’t broke.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    October 11, 2016 at 6:01 am

    Nope, no Pocahontas there, just two Angels!! Two precious Angels!

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