The sheer number of pointed black hats in one spot in Gulfport, Wednesday, October 20 was nothing if not head-turning.
Thirty-four people dressed in witchy garb gathered for a photo-op on Gulfport Beach – a small sample of the more than 200 who will breeze through Gulfport’s Waterfront District on Halloween night as part of the group’s Witch Walk.
There’s a handful of warlocks too, says Libby Higdon, original creator of Witches of Gulfport.
Higdon and her counterpart, SIK Promotions owner Suzanne King have been bringing witchcraft-lovers together for the ultimate dress up party since 2016.
That first year, 13 witches – with characters like Maureen Kilroy and Susan Blakenship – ambushing Beach Boulevard on their way to the Gulfport Casino Ballroom’s annual Monster Mash.
It was just a zany thing to do between friends, said King.
The next year, 100 people showed up in full garb, minus the disgraced “green face.”
“We try not to do ‘green face,’” Higdon said.
Are painted faces, fake moles and crooked noses a controversial topic in the witch world?
“Well no, but it’s not very flattering,” Higdon said. “That’s just not what this is about; it’s something more organic and original than that.”
In 2019, pre-COVID, over 200 witches and warlocks danced, cackled and drank down downtown Gulfport with no promotion drawing them, aside from a Facebook page announcing the event.
The gathering took a health hiatus in 2020, and the group is planning to come back for Halloween 2021 bigger and “witchier” than ever, starting outside the Tiki Bar & Grille, 5519 Shore Blvd. S. and down Beach Boulevard.
“It’s girl power…it’s indescribable; it’s like an immediate connection with everyone,” Higdon said. “We always plan a whole parade of witches, but it falls apart every year. People do what they want, if there’s a band they like they stay and dance.”
“Or pillage the town,” King joked.
It turns out there are no rules to being a proper witch. There is an official dance – which originated in Germany and is observed amongst Gulfport witches – called the Wolfshäger Hexenbrut: a handful of movements and a lot of broom shaking.
“It’s just fun,” King said. “You can just show up and join in, but we try to learn it.”
In honor of Halloween approaching and with the chance to take a proper picture, the Witches of Gulfport flash mobbed the Gulfport Casino Ballroom on Wednesday, October 20 during their ballroom dance lessons.
It was arranged by Gulfport Gecko Queen Elizabeth Hendricks, who confirmed only with a handful of ballroom officials.
“It doesn’t matter if we do the exact routine, people are going to be shocked,” King said before the mob.
She wasn’t wrong.
Want to get in on the fun? Check out “Witches of Gulfport, FL” on Facebook.