Samantha Tunelius adjusts her hood after setting off in her kayak, accompanied by “Mr. Bones”, for the third annual witch paddle on Chatfield Reservoir in Chatfield State Park, Colorado.

Something Wicked This Way Paddles

Every October, hundreds of revelers in witch costumes float on lakes and bays, ponds and harbors. Instead of brooms, they opt for paddle boards.

Photographed for The New York Times

Sisters Izzy and Josie Bean, 8 and 10, stand for a portrait before getting in the water. Their mother, Anna Marie Madai, started the witch paddle three years ago with friends.

Some of the 400 participants paddle in the reservoir. “Four hundred people dressed as witches launching at the same time is wild to see,” said Madai.

Various witch-themed items decorate paddle boards.

Francey Garbett (center) puts her phone in a dry bag before hopping her paddle board.

Volunteers pack up the registration area after the paddle.

Josie Bean (right), 10, helps her younger sister, Izzy Bean, 8, put on her life jacket.

Samantha Tunelius (center left) and Candice Larson (right) wait for the paddle to begin.

Maea Dodgion, 5, gains her balance on a paddle board as her mom, Diana Dodgion, adjusts her life jacket. 

Allison Hengemuhle takes her witch make-up off after the paddle.

Someone dressed as a witch paddles past a grove of cottonwood trees in the reservoir toward the end of the witch paddle.


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