“Cottagegoth” Is Cottagecore for People Who Don’t Want Spooky Season to End

published Oct 28, 2020
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Witchcraft, dark magic, candles with ritual book

If you are the kind of person who plans Halloween costumes on Nov. 1 the year before (me!), or type whose favorite holiday movie is “The Nightmare Before Christmas” (also me!), chances are good that cottagecore, the delicate homesteading aesthetic that swept social media feeds earlier this year, didn’t feel 100 percent right for you. That’s OK, not every trend is for everyone! What’s the inverse of dreamy, dappled sunlight and delicately-picked flowers? Why, cottagegoth, of course.

The trend is also called goblincore, as well as feralcore and gremlincore. Social media users regularly combine the goblincore hashtag with cottagecore and cabincore, given the aesthetics’ “stay home” sensibilities.

An in-depth explainer by Mashable writer Morgan Sung on the trend notes that it “was born on Tumblr, found a home in LGBTQ circles, and hit the ground running on TikTok.” An UrbanDictionary post notes that it is an offshoot of “dragoncore;” last year, Reddit user u/witchysmallbattery defined it broadly as being “generally about the idea of embracing ones true self through the completion of simple wants, such as collecting or ‘hoarding’ things you like. There is a pretty common visual aesthetic focusing on more fantasy ideas and ‘shinies,” which are not monetary.

“If cottagecore is Snow White singing to the birds while she bakes a pie, goblincore is honoring the lives of those birds after they die by turning their carcasses into wall art for Baba Yaga’s hut,” Sung wrote. “Both aesthetics share a desire to escape, but goblincore is distinctly gritty, chaotic, and more often than not, a little bit occult.”

Both Sung and u/witchysmallbattery also noted the limitations of the “goblincore” aesthetic’s name. The latter explained, “While traditional fantasy goblins are a part of it they’re not the main focus due to some very reasonable concern about their historic use as antisemitic caricatures.”

The earthen, mystical trend has been around for a while. One of the most popular TikToks using the #goblincore hashtag, which has amassed over 124.8 million views, is a bookbinding process by an artist named Dill. Their video was uploaded in February, and has since been viewed over 10 million times. Other contributions to the canon include a tutorial for a DIY moss terrarium using an upcycled candle vessel, and a recipe for homemade elderberry syrup. There are over 128,000 Instagrams using the #goblincore hashtag, and an additional 385,000 views on the #cottagegoth hashtag on TikTok.

If the floral prints and breezy linens of cottagecore, and the plaids, flannels, and cozy knits of cabincore feel slightly off, cottagegoth’s aesthetic is defined by warm earth tones and more than your fair share of black clothing and lace in various stages of upkeep. It’s about finding the joy in the stuff you have amassed—comfort decorating taken to its earthiest extreme.

So light the pillar candles, throw together a pot of spiced cider, and ground yourself with crystals and other self-care rituals. If your cottagegoth sensibilities mandate that you leave the Halloween decorations up after Oct. 31, lean in. It’s going to be a long winter—build the feral little nest that feels right to you.