How to Dress Like a Female Witch Doctor

Written by trish jackson
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How to Dress Like a Female Witch Doctor
Feathers, fur and beads contribute to a witch-doctor's costume. (Photos.com/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Witch doctors, both male and female, are the traditional healers of Africa and use herbal medicine, divination and counselling to treat their patients. With the slave trade, the witch-doctor's craft was transplanted to the Caribbean and to parts of South and Central America. Because they are members of many diverse cultures in many different countries, it is impossible to characterise only one particular form of dress for a female witch doctor, although there are common elements.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Paper mache
  • Balloon
  • Assortment of feathers
  • Acrylic or poster paints
  • Fake fur
  • Dark coloured sports bra or leotard
  • Needle and thread
  • 1/2 yd red or black fabric
  • Leather thong or dark string
  • Assorted beads and necklaces

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Design a face mask. African witch-doctor face masks are usually carved out of wood and painted in bright colours. They are designed to look frightening and may have feathers and even antelope horns sticking out of the top and sides. For a costume, you could make a mask out of paper mache. Use a head-size ball or balloon and mould the paper mache over half of it. Make holes for the eyes and mouth and stick feathers into it while still wet. Allow to dry and decorate with paint.

  2. 2

    Create an animal-skin covering. Furs of jackals and hyenas are traditional in Africa but any fake-fur lookalikes will do. Attach the pelts to the neck edge of a red or dark-coloured sports bra or leotard with a needle and thread, so that they hang downward over the breast area and back. Sew beads onto the bra or pelts for extra effect.

  3. 3

    Design a loincloth -- a short skirt split all the way up the sides. Choose red or black fabric and cut two pieces to whatever length you prefer. Attach one end of each piece of fabric to a rawhide thong or black string by folding an edge over the string and stitching it into place. Tie the thong or string around your waist.

  4. 4

    Accessorise with beads and pendants. Witchdoctors wear necklaces and decorative hangings made from beads, bones, and teeth around the waist, neck and ankles A visit to a bead store should yield some material for fashioning your own replicas. Most witchdoctors do not wear shoes but you could wear sandals.

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