This year, 7.2 million adults plan to dress up like a witch for Halloween. According to the National Retail Federation, the magical look remains one of the most popular costumes of all time. But are we surprised?
Witches continue to be a topic of fascination in pop culture no matter how many decades — even centuries — pass. American Horror Story had an entire season about witches. The ’90s hit Charmed is getting a reboot for the millennial generation. Even Sabrina the Teenage Witch is back by popular demand. Sure, witches are an easy default Halloween costume, but they’re also a worthwhile classic.
Thanks to the aforementioned TV shows and plenty of movies revolving around magic, there exists a feast of cool witches worth being for Halloween — and not one includes painting your entire face green and carrying a wooden broomstick to the bar. Although for some, being a witch is much more than costume (Wicca and other nature-based faiths aren’t a trend), we’ve curated some of our favorite on-screen iterations to be inspired by this year. Trust us, every last one is pure magic.
The Charmed Sisters
Although the Halliwell sisters from the original show (that ran from 1998-2006) loved a good ’00s barrette and juicy lip gloss, the rebooted siblings are younger and far more modern. Since the entirety of the original show revolved around the three witches blending into mortal society, it makes sense that the latest charmed ones are just as average-looking as you and I. That means you’ve got a group costume on your hands that doesn’t involve any real demons, but plenty of pretty no-makeup makeup.
Photo: Courtesy of Jordon Nuttall/The CW.
Scáthach from American Horror Story: Roanoke
As the original Supreme witch (a classic callback to AHS season three), Scáthach is an immortal being who can manipulate her victims into doing just about whatever the hell she wants. Luckily, you don’t need to steal the souls of the living to become her. All you need are twigs for her crown, a teased red wig, and plenty of dirt (she lives in the forest, after all).
Photo: Prashant Gupta/FX/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock.
Bellatrix Lestrange from Harry Potter
There’s a lot to dislike about Bellatrix Lestrange: She’s responsible for the death of Sirius Black, a loyal follower of You Know Who, and obsessed with pure bloods. In fact, there are zero redeemable qualities about this witch, but if you’re inspired to be her for Halloween, there’s one distinct detail you can’t leave out of your costume: her hair. Recreate her long, dark, and clearly unbrushed look with lots of extensions, a curling iron, and plenty of dry shampoo.
Winifred Sanderson from Hocus Pocus
Her youth may be escaping her, but the eldest Sanderson sister still boasts one of the best witch ensembles, ever. The only thing better than her multi-colored cloak and sassy songwriting abilities are her double buns, claw-like nails, and red lipstick.
Photo: TCD/Prod.DB / Alamy Stock Photo.
Rochelle is one witch we wouldn’t mind copying on a daily basis: perfect highlights (as if almost done by magic and not a colorist), brown lip liner, and plenty of moody eyeliner is just cool enough to wear to work after the party is long over.
Jennifer from I Married a Witch
Looking for something classic that everyone can recognize? Opt for being the resurrected witch from this 1942 film. Yes, she plans on wreaking havoc on her enemies, but you can’t deny those S-waves and expressive brows are worth copying… at least once.
Sabrina Spellman from The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina
The original Sabrina Spellman always liked a good scrunchie and crimped hair combination, but the 2018 version of the ’90s sitcom reintroduces Spellman as a teenage witch who lives for a signature look, including a thin black headband and — we’re guessing — lots of blood.
Jadis the White Witch from The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
Not interested in wearing black for All Hallow’s Eve? Go as Jadis, the Witch of Narnia. Not only does she get to rock an icy crown, but some of the raddest makeup we’ve ever seen on a fictional witch. Now’s as good a time as any to invest in some blue eyeshadow and plenty of intense glitter so those evil eyes really sparkle.
Bonnie Bennett from The Vampire Diaries
Although The Vampire Diaries was, well, about vampires, there was one impressive witch in the casting lineup we still miss: Bonnie Bennett. Not only did she save everyone’s life at least once, Bennett also had impeccable style — especially her knack for rocking a blunt bob and a tasteful amount of smudged black eyeliner.
Grand High Witch from The Witches
This makeup look is only part of a deceiving mask, but it’s fabulous nonetheless. A purple smoky eye, cherry-red lipstick, and the kind of contour you’d expect to see on Kim Kardashian is a costume worth trying for anyone hoping to show off their skills this Halloween.
Alexandra, Jane, & Sukie from The Witches of Eastwick
Nothing says powerful group costume quite like these three witches (played by Cher, Susan Sarandon, and Michelle Pfeiffer). Luckily, you won’t need to summon a devilish lover to copy this threesome — just lots of hairspray and a teasing comb.
Madison Montgomery from American Horror Story: Coven
Marie Laveau from American Horror Story: Coven
Although she’s not a witch, Angela Bassett’s on-screen character was inspired by a very real woman who was known for her magic in New Orleans. Yes, Voodoo queen Laveau really did exist and so did her powerful style. If you are going to mimic Bassett’s version of Laveau, make sure to include her matching berry lipstick and nails.
Although Laveau often wore a tignon (a headscarf worn by Creole women), the decorative headpiece is far from a costume piece. In fact, in the late 1700s, Tignon Law s were passed forcing women of color to wear the decorative fabrics to cover their hair. Eventually, the law backfired and women in Louisiana began wearing tignons as a fashionable sign of protest.
Louise Miller from Teen Witch
Being a witch of the ’80s means holding on to your hairspray for dear life. Do that and you most certainly won’t be the “walking, talking tragedy” Miller claims to be in the film on Halloween.
Minnie Castevet from Rosemary’s Baby
We don’t know if she truly was a witch or not, but it’s clear little old Minnie had some seriously destructive powers. Aside from her inclination toward satanic practices, she also loved a heavy application of blush, lipstick, and teal eyeshadow. Bring a chocolate mousse dessert to the party for bonus costume points.
Melisandre from Game of Thrones
We get it: There are a lot of redheads in Game of Thrones, but perhaps Melisandre (a.k.a. The Red Witch) is our favorite. Sure, she’s manipulative, but those red velvet -colored curls are too good to resist.
Hermione from Harry Potter and The Cursed Child
Turns out, adult Hermione in the Broadway play is a much more accurate depiction of the powerfully talented witch from the series. Even better, she’s played by Noma Dumezweni. Still, Hermione is Hermione — which means a no-frills beauty look that’s practical and easy. After all, she is running the Ministry of Magic.
Gillian Owens from Practical Magic
We’re not saying you have to get bangs and dye your hair red to be the wild child of the Practical Magic twosome, but if you did, would it be so bad? (We don’t think so.) Just don’t forget the tiny details, like Gillian’s snake wrist tattoo.
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