Corn Dolly—A HARVEST custom with certain specific Halloween variants. Typically a corn dolly was a semi-human figure made from the last sheafs of CORN (or OATS). In Scotland, when the last corn was cut after HALLOWMAS, the female figure made out of it was sometimes called the Carlin or Carline (the Old Woman), or the CAILLEACH. But if the corn was cut before Hallowmas, it was called the Maiden; if cut after sunset, it was called the Witch, and brought bad luck. In his classic The Golden Bough, SIR JAMES FRAZER discusses corn dollies extensively, seeing them as evidence of ancient fertility rituals.
The Halloween Encyclopedia Second Edition written by Lisa Morton © 2011 Lisa Morton. All rights reserved