By Katie Hughes
Have you ever seen a fleet of cyclists dressed as witches riding around through the neighborhood and wondered what’s going on? Meet the local Irvington Black Hat Society (BHS).
BHS is a nonprofit group of theatrical witches that was created a year after its founder, Karin Mullins, saw a Facebook posting of a witch festival in Germany and thought it would be fun to create a flash mob for Irvington Halloween Festival 2016. Since that time, its members have performed in the Irvington Halloween Festival Parade, St. Paddy’s Day Parade, Pride Parade, and Fountain Square Art Parade. In fact, they recently won first place at Fountain Square Art Parade as a crowd favorite!
This spirited group of do-gooders (110 members and counting) enjoys dressing up and having fun while fundraising for different charities around town. You can purchase the 2018 BHS calendar in their online store. Currently the BHS supports other events, including the ghost tours, Irvington Historical Society’s Ice Cream Social, and Irvington Halloween Festival. They hope to find more creative ways in 2018 to support events around town, and want to reach more charities and communities. After Halloween they’ll have a short break before diving back into the holiday season to brainstorm for ideas and new fundraising ventures.
Don’t be fooled – such creativity and choreography takes practice and dedication. In preparation for the Irvington Halloween Festival, the Black Hat Society will practice roughly 40 hours of studio time plus practicing at home. They post a video of their dance performance on their Facebook page so others can practice at home or have dance get-togethers.
Interested in joining? The group is active from spring till the end of Halloween, and performs all around town. Anyone is welcome, and all you need is a willingness to participate in events and support BHS charities while dressing the part of a family-friendly witch.. Open enrollment starts up again in January of 2018. People wanting to join can find the group on Facebook and send BHS a request to join. A “welcome witch” will message each person with questions to make sure the person is serious about joining.
Karin Mullins describes that among the most exciting activities that BHS did last year included the Halloween Festival. “We were so honored that the public was so excited to see us and to support us. During the spring and summer we started our photo shoots for our 2018 calendar. We would be doing a photo shoot and cars would drive by honking to support us.”
The number one thing for Irvingtonians to know about the BHS? According to Mullins, “This is our home! Irvington will always come first.” The group is also excited to share that they are raising $10,000, and hope to announce big news in late spring. So stay tuned!
Upcoming events where you can find the Black Hat Society include Irvington Masquerade Ball on October 21, Day of the Dead Yoga on October 25, and participation at A Night Out in Sleepy Hollow on October 26. Check out their website for more information.