Halloween is nearly upon us! Grab your coven and check out this selection of iconic witches…
From the horrific Salem witch trials of the 1600s, to an array of fictional witches in TV and movies, there is one thing for sure – witches have captivated and fascinated us for centuries. Influential women with the power to turn the patriarchy on its head, what’s not to love?
1) Nancy Downs – The Craft
Starting off strong with one of our favourite teen witches! Nancy Downs features in The Craft (1996), a tale of three outcasts searching for a fourth member to complete their coven. Once the girls unite, their powers grow and things quickly start to go awry.
Played by the absolutely iconic Fairuza Balk, Nancy’s troubled character soon succumbs to the temptation of black magic, giving a sensational performance of gleeful anarchy.
This twisted teen serves multiple killer looks throughout the film, from 80s new romantic to whimsigothic – the Halloween costume potential is both endless and easily accessible.
2) The Sanderson Sisters – Hocus Pocus
This list could never be complete without Winifred, Mary and Sarah Sanderson, the beloved evil witches from family favourite, Hocus Pocus (1993). Starring Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy, and Sarah Jessica Parker, this trio are as hilarious as they are horrid.
The sisters were initially put to death in 1600s Salem after sucking the life from a young girl. Winifred uses her exceptional powers to save the trio with a curse, they must remain hidden until the Black Flame Candle is lit during a full moon. 300 years later an unsuspecting young boy brings them back to life on Halloween. The film follows their comedic hijinks as they chase down their next victim.
The Sanderson sisters make for the ultimate group costume, grab your coven of witches and decide who embodies wise Winfred, mischievous Mary or scatterbrained Sarah.
3) Sabrina Spellman – Sabrina the Teenage Witch
Today we are talking about the original ’90s Sabrina! Arguably one of the best witches from TV history, Sabrina Spellman needs no introduction.
Our favourite teen witch stars in this nostalgic sitcom with her quirky Aunt Hilda and clever Aunt Zelda, plus their wise cracking black cat Salem. From the outfits to the house, there is so much about this series we absolutely love!
Throw on a blonde wig and ’90s inspired fit for an easy but effective homage to Melissa Joan Hart.
4) Maleficent – Sleeping Beauty
Every legendary witchy woman needs a dramatic origin story, and that’s exactly what we get with Maleficent. While we all remember the Sleeping Beauty (1959) portrayal from our childhood nightmares, it is the self titled 2014 film that gives this multilayered character a place in our hearts.
Technically Maleficent isn’t a witch at all, rather a magical fairy who wants nothing more than to protect her home of the Moors. Her wings are stolen by her childhood best friend on her 16th birthday, after such a betrayal her heart hardens, leading her to curse Princess Aurora.
Either buy horns or get crafty, combine with a vampy gown for a look that is sure to turn heads.
5) The Wicked Witch of the West – The Wizard of Oz
One of the most recognisable witches of all time, Elpheba made her debut in The Wizard of Oz (1939), played by Margaret Hamilton. With her green skin shown on screen for the first time, this is pop culture’s first introduction to the evil witch stereotype.
Fast forward nearly 100 years and musical adaptation Wicked (2003) debuted on Broadway. This prequel focuses on the witches in the Land of Oz, primarily sisters Elpheba and Glinda the Good Witch. Taking us from when they were young witches, up until after the arrival of Dorothy Gale. Ultimately we come to find Elpheba is another witch turned sour by her troubled past.
This has to be one of the easiest witch looks to pull together; green paint, black dress and a classic pointed hat.
6) The Grand High Witch – The Witches
The Grand High Witch, also known as Eva Ernst or Lilith, first featured in Roald Dahl’s 1983 novel ‘The Witches’. There have since been two movie adaptations, the 1990 film featuring a fabulous portrayal by Anjelica Huston and the 2020 remake starring Anne Hathaway.
The tale follows a young boy who’s grandmother is a retired witch hunter, he stumbles across the head witch in a hotel, she has gathered all the witches from across the country and is plotting to kill every child in England. She uses witchcraft to hide her hideous looks, appearing very attractive to mortal man.
This supreme witch is the perfect combination of scary and stylish. Choose your fighter or prepare a spooky costume change!
7) Willow Rosenberg – Buffy the Vampire Slayer
From computer nerd, to the most powerful witch on earth; Willow is a firm favourite with Buffy the Vampire Slayer fans!
Starting out as a shy sidekick to Buffy Summers, Willow discovers the extent of her powers when performing a complex spell to re-ensoul Angel. Her skills blossom throughout the series as she asserts her powers. We see her battle the hell-goddess Glory, resurrect Buffy and nearly end the world. As a founding member of the Scooby Gang, Willow is sure to have a spot in all ’90s kids hearts.
Alongside her powers, Willow’s style elevates as the series goes on! Pair up with your bestie for a Buffy and Willow moment, or choose your favourite season and go solo.
8) Sally and Gillian Owens – Practical Magic
Another dose of ’90s goodness! This novel was written in 1995, closely followed by the film adaptation in 1998. Practical Magic is a cult classic starring Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman.
Sally and Gillian Owens are sisters descended from a long line of witches, unfortunately their family curse has led to their parents death. They grow up distanced from magic, but must take a crash course in witchcraft when they accidentally awaken an evil spirit.
One of the best things about this film is the sisters fashion sense. Their outfits are consistently referenced on modern witch and whimsigothic look books. This is an ideal duo costume for brunette and red headed besties!
9) Ursula – The Little Mermaid
This scary sea witch frightened children across the globe in Disney favourite, The Little Mermaid (1989). Rather than using her exceptional powers to help others, Ursula spends her time striking unfair deals with unsuspecting merfolk, ultimately leading to their misery.
After promising Ariel legs in exchange for her voice, Ursula plots to steal King Triton’s trident and become ruler of the ocean. Accompanied by her two pet eels and a catchy villain song, this antagonist is the perfect mix of evil eccentricity and fearsome flair.
This look is sure to be a show stopper at any spooky gathering. Check out this incredible cosplay as inspiration:
@jooskellington #ursula #ursulacosplay #ursulamakeup #disneyvillain #disneyvillaincosplay #cosplay #makeupartist #drag #dragqueen #divine ♬ original sound – Joo Skellington
10) Samantha Stephens – Bewitched
Samantha Stephens is the protagonist of Bewitched, an American sitcom which ran from 1964 to 1972. Played by Elizabeth Montgomery, this witch is known for casting spells with the wiggle of her nose.
Born to Endora and Maurice 400 years ago, Samantha vows to give up magic and live a normal life with her mortal husband and children; Darrin, Tabitha and Adam. Of course this doesn’t always go to plan!
This resident good witch has a wardrobe featuring ’60s and ’70s staples, typical of the suburban housewife.
11) Alex, Jane and Sukie – The Witches of Eastwick
Played by the legendary trio of Cher, Susan Sarandon and Michelle Pfeiffer, The Witches of Eastwick (1987) might be the most stunning movie witches of all time.
Following the loss of their partners, the women feel unfulfilled and bored in their hometown. Mysterious Daryl Van Horne (Jack Nicholson) comes to town and appears to make their dreams come true. They soon realise Daryl is crude and vulgar; learning why he is able to lure them in, the witches experiment with magic of their own.
This film serves classic ’80s fashion. Think silky sets and flowing layers, complete with perms for days.
12) Marie Laveau – American Horror Story: Coven
Marie Laveau is a well known character in American Horror Story: Coven, portrayed by Angela Bassett. However, this role is actually based on a factual voodoo priestess born in 1801.
The real Laveau shared many characteristics with her on screen namesake, she had her own beauty parlour in New Orleans and was revered as the Queen of Voodoo. She was renowned as a herbalist, midwife and voodoo practitioner, while working hard to give back to her community and helping those in need.
Marie Laveau’s legacy can be honoured through reference to her legendary character and accurate clothing depictions.
13) The Halliwell Sisters – Charmed
Our favourite witch sisters from American fantasy drama Charmed!
The series focuses on Prue (Shannen Doherty), Piper (Holly Marie Combs) and Phoebe (Alyssa Milano), a trio of good witches who use the ‘Power of Three’ to protect innocents from evil. Each sister has a special power; stopping time, moving objects and seeing into the future.
These ladies may be busy saving the world, but their looks are always on point!
From Teen Witch to Blair Witch…
Whether a pop culture icon or real life legend, a costume paying homage to strong and spellbinding women will always reign supreme!