It’s All Hallow’s Eve, the brief period of time where the veil between the spiritual and the material realm thins like a cobweb. Baddies in iconic outfits ultimately carry the sacred season that some call Hottieween.
While women have infamously died from accusations of witchcraft, today we have revived a kind of community and resonance with it that goes beyond WitchTok. From period blood facials to erratic incantations, some believe that ancient, pagan feminine rituals can bring us closer to ourselves. The goal is to embrace the womxnhood that society often teaches us to maim, resent and disfigure – all as an act of conformation.
Open that CarterVintage classic (The Bloody Chamber is required reading), boil a love potion and start taking notes from our favourite on-screen witches.
And hang on to your broom because they range from terrifyingly iconic to beatifically strange.
I Married a Witch (1942)
A 300-year old witch’s revenge plan goes wrong when she finds herself falling in love with a young politician. Veronica Lake stars in this romantic comedy – or horror, depending on how you look at it.
Spirited Away (2001)
Yubaba was one of the most frightening elements in this quirky and enigmatic animation. She is the morally grey foil to the good Zeniba, her twin sister, who both teach Chihiro that good and evil exist in the world. She has a soft spot for two things – money and her giant baby, Boh.
Practical Magic (1998)
In a tale of sisterhood, Sally (Sandra Bullock) and Gillian (Nicole Kidman) are brought back in touch with their hereditary gift for practical magic in this wry telling of romance, witchcraft and murder.
This whimsical series explores sororal and matrilineal dynamics as three sisters reunite when they discover they have magical powers. The villains they meet range from pretty scary to hilariously absurd, but what remains constant is their cute y2k outfits, The Book of Shadows and the San Francisco backdrop.
The Love Witch (2016)
…And then, I was reborn as a witch. Our favourite femme fatale, Eileen Parks, is on a quest to find love using supernatural drugs (aka a psychedelic love potion) – and she’ll do whatever it takes. Leaving a few unfortunate male victims pathetically strewn in her wake, her desperation for love eventually drives her to murder. But she truly does feel a bit bad about it! Technically it’s a horror but I’d watch this anytime, any day, anywhere. Also, bonus points for the marvellous witchery aesthetic.
Read some more words on The Love Witch.
Sabrina the Teenage Witch (1996)
For a lighter mood, this sitcom will serve you some cute 90s outfits (she feasted) and comedy that makes you breathe out of your nose a little more loudly. If you want more gore, log onto Netflix and watch the retelling, The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, which was cancelled way too soon.
Hocus Pocus (1993 & 2022)
They put a spell on you… and now they’re back for round two. This has to be the ultimate Halloween movie that fully captures the dark magic of the season. It also makes you feel ready to light the black flame candle just to see the talented Bette Midler in the flesh (just don’t lose your v card, if you have it, beforehand). At any age, you’ll find some creepy delight watching the sisters’ resurrection, which is equally balanced by the warmth of their lines and delivery. The sequel almost lives up, but is aimed at an even younger audience and is about 50% less spooky.
She Beast (1966)
Still from She Beast by Michael Reeves (1966). Source: IMDB.
An english tourist’s beautiful wife is made the host of Bardella, a 200-year old petrifying witch. He desperately joins forces with a Transylvanian count to try and save her. Despite being a horror, Reeves’ directorial debut has a PG rating.