Raising her 12-year-old daughter, Maenwen, as a witch is not easy either, Capnerhurst says, especially around this time of year, when just about every classroom turns into a coven of construction-paper crones and black cats.
In the United States, Circle Sanctuary has founded the Lady Liberty League to advocate for Wiccans' religious freedom and to fight discrimination.
Unlike Capnerhurst, however, some witches see Halloween as a treat, not a trick.
“Considering that I usually slap on a pointy hat at this time of year (and I have a black cat too), I’m fine with the image of the Halloween witch,” wrote Jen McConnel, a poet, novelist and Wiccan from North Carolina, in an e-mail.
“Even though the word ‘witch ‘ is loaded, I have embraced it,” McConnel said, “but it is only one of many hats I wear (pun intended).”
McConnel says she enjoys the yearly confluence of Halloween with Samhain, an ancient Celtic festival that marks the end of the harvest and winter’s coming darkness.
It’s a time when the veil between the living and the dead grows thin, according to Wiccan theology, and spirits can easily cross the divide.
Many Wiccans hold “dumb suppers,” to which they invite deceased ancestors, making sure to prepare their favorite foods, said Jeanet Lewis, a witch who lives in Northern Virginia.
“It’s a meditative, silent meal,” Lewis said.
Other witches light memorial candles and cast spells for the new year.
What do witches wish for? The same things as everyone else, apparently.
“Health, wealth and love,” Capnerhurst said with a laugh. “Every single spell falls into one of those three categories.”
Even though she dislikes Halloween, Capnerhurst has found a way to blend it with her own sacred days, Samhain.
According to some historians, at this time of year, as the days grow darker, ancient Celts would don costumes as stand-ins for deceased spirits, going door-to-door and performing tricks in exchange for treats.
Capnerhurst prefers to see the children who come to her door on October 31 as a re-enactment of that ritual.
“I’m doing my ritual and they get candy,” she said. “Everybody wins!”
And even though she bristles at the thought that some neighbors might abhor her religion, Capnerhurst tries to take it all in good cheer.
As October 31 approaches each year, she places a sign on her lawn that reads, "This House Practices Safe Hex."