Witch-ful THINKING
WOMAN - UK|October 26, 2021
When it came to Halloween costumes, Wilfreda was confident she had the magic touch
Sara Partington

Themed parties aren’t for everyone, and some people do adopt the oddest disguises.

I wonder whether research has been done into what a person’s choice of costume says about them,’ thought Wilfreda as she packed her uniform into her locker.

Then, as she slipped into her black velvet cloak, another thought struck her. How many real witches worked in hospitality?

It was because of her sister Grizelda that Wilfreda was now the receptionist at the Cosy Nook Hotel. At their most recent coven meeting, Grizelda had set Ingrid a challenge…

‘I bet you can’t pull off a real job for a month, without resorting to magic,’ she’d said.

Well, Ingrid wasn’t going to back down on that. She’d packed away her broomstick and applied for the first position she saw. She’d got the job and, so far, things had gone well.

Now she was thinking about the forthcoming Halloween party. A scribbled poster had appeared on the canteen wall, inviting all hotel staff to a ‘Freaky Friday Nite’, and promising a ‘mystery prize’ for the best outfit.

Wilfreda hadn’t been keen at first. Was it worth wasting her precious time on colleagues she wouldn’t be working with for long?

However, what Wilfreda did like was a prize. Not that she’d ever won anything (you might think she’d have better luck than most, but sadly things don’t always work that way). But what was it they said? You had to be in it to win it? Maybe she’d think about it a bit more.

After all, she was doing well on Grizelda’s challenge. She’d put in a whole week on reception without too many hiccups. No one would blame her, surely, for that misunderstanding with the guest and the toad? Nor was it really her fault that the water cooler had started to ooze green slime since she’d got cross yesterday afternoon and muttered at it when it ran out.

So Wilfreda reconsidered whether she might make an effort for the party after all, pausing at the window to look for early signs of activity outside.

A film of cloud slipped away, revealing a shimmering silver coin hanging in the satin blackness. The moonlight flickered as a familiar shadow passed over it.

Yes, other witches were abroad, but there must still be time to poke her nose into the stateroom, and size up the other costumes at the party. Stake her claim to the mystery prize. An outfit as charming as Wilfreda’s couldn’t fail to win – how tough could the competition be? She would probably come first without any cheating…

The thump of Beyoncé’s Crazy In Love was already vibrating along the darkened corridor as she approached. Her cat’s eyes adjusted quickly to survey a pleasantly dim scene – cobwebs dangled from the ceiling, hollowed-out jack-o’-lanterns leered a sinister glow, a stiff mummy stood to attention in a twilit corner, swooping bat silhouettes floated in and out of view, suspended from the twinkling bar.

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