The Witches Festival is an annual holiday that falls on the 13th of Frostfall, coinciding with Mephala's summoning day. During the festival, the denizens of Tamriel defy their superstitious fears. Ghosts, demons, and evil spirits are mocked and celebrated by both occult occurrences and outrageous costumes. Beggars take to the street and ask for alms, while children ask for festival treats, and people are obliged to provide it to them. The youth often engage in wanton vandalism as a part of one of the festival's traditions. Pumpkins are iconic within the Festival. They are carved into hollowjack lanterns, cooked, or smashed for fun. The Undaunted practice a tradition intended to test dexterity known as Autumnal Ornamental Gourd Triple-Toss, wherein they juggle pumpkins. Festival themed foods are intended to look ghastly, with naming schemes fitting the theme. Three examples are Frosted Brains, Bowls of "Peeled Eyeballs", and Bewitched Sugar Skulls.
During this time, the portals between Nirn and Detritus open. The Daedra Lord Hha-Lugh-Zhek, better known as Hollowjack the Pumpkin Spectre, comes to feed on mortals' terror. He often makes people's fears come true and drives them mad. Hollowjack bears some similarities to Jaque o' the Hollow, a malevolent spirit said to haunt a hidden hollow in Rivenspire. On the night of the Witches Festival, Jaque o' the Hollow curses riders all across Tamriel to ride headless throughout the night, clutching a carved pumpkin atop their mounts. The Thicketman Spectre, a Scarecrow Spectre, is a fabled creature that is said to haunt harvested fields during the festival. Those foolish enough to approach will have their heads taken away. Hollowjack and the Thicketman are both a popular choice to masquerade as during the Witches Festival.
The Witches Festival is when the sinister types, such as Demonologists, conjurors, lamias, warlocks, and thaumaturgists gather in the wilderness outside cities. The creatures they create or summon may plague Tamriel for eons. The Witches Festival earns its name as the most sacred holiday for witches. Covens of witches and warlocks spend all year crafting necromantic objects of dark delight for the Festival. The sale of their occult oddities and twisted treats are usually restricted as contraband goods, but in honor of the Witches Festival, they may be freely sold or given as gifts. Witchmothers mix pumpkins, guts, and the essence of death itself within their cauldrons, and lure adventurers to take a drink from them, promising them that they will gain power. A scheme among the witch covens is to tempt adventurers with plunder skulls, macabre, skull-shaped baskets filled with ghoulish riches that inspire both horror and greed among the uninitiated. They are distributed amongst the most fearsome villians, and the chaos sowed as adventerers strive to find and collect the plunder skulls results in the increased power and vitality of the witch covens grows.
- The Witches Festival Returns on the official ESO website
- Festival Beggar memento description in ESO
- Festive Treat memento description in ESO
- Hollowjack Netch pet description in ESO
- Rind-Renewing Pumpkin memento description in ESO
- Gourd-Gallows Stump Memento description in ESO
- Jugglin' Pumpkins Memento description in ESO
- Gruesome Feast achievement description in ESO
- Elder Scrolls Online - Crown Crate Season Announcement
- Lord Hollowjack's Dread Realm — Cuilean Darnizhaan
- Flavor text for Hollowjack Rider Horse
- Flavor text for Hollowjack Rider Guar
- Hollowjack Spectre Mask description in ESO
- Thicketman Spectre Mask description in ESO
- Witches Festival description in Daggerfall
- On Plunder Skulls
- Introducing the Reaper’s Harvest Crown Crate Season on the official ESO website
- Witchmother Olyve's dialogue in ESO