Get ready witches, it's officially spooky season.
Whether you prefer to celebrate by eating buckets of candy, carving jack o'lanterns, curating a spine-tingling playlist, or perfecting your costume, there's no shortage of ways to celebrate the spookiest time of the year. Though as pop culture obsessives, one of our favorite ways to experience the most magical time of the year is via movies, television, and books.
The same goes for Meg Cabot (The Princess Diaries), who has launched her own supernatural series, The Witches of West Harbor, beginning with Enchanted to Meet You, now on shelves. When World Council of Witches member Derrick Winters shows up on witch Jessica Gold's doorstep informing her that she is the chosen one, Jessica has to decide if she's ready to save her small Connecticut town (and whether she can avoid the distraction of Derrick's dashing good looks).
Cabot has long held a soft-spot for witches, so we got her to brew up a list of her favorite witchy content.
My Must-List Witchy Movies/TV Shows/Books, by Meg Cabot
I've been in love with witches since I was a little kid. Someone handed me a Sabrina the Teenage Witch comic book, and that was it: Toil and trouble, my cauldron was bubbled.
I was so smitten, I even named my pet turtle Sabrina, and attempted to use her as my familiar to cast spells (none of which ever worked).
Nevertheless, I now consider my knowledge of all things magical extremely high! Below is my unofficial and far from comprehensive list of witch-related media that every witch-in-waiting should consume to help their own spell-casting — or simply to get into the mood for the spooky season.
Everett Collection (2); Kailey Schwerman/The CW
Bell Book and Candle (1958)
Even Jimmy Stewart can't resist when Kim Novak — a witch who falls in love with him and consequently loses her powers — brings on the charm. The question of whether witches actually lose their powers when they fall in love is up for debate, but what isn't is that this is a funny movie showcasing some legendary performances — including one by a Siamese cat.
The Witches of Eastwick (1987)
Love only seems to make the spells of the witches in this film stronger: a perfectly entertaining movie (based on the book by John Updike), with a stellar cast, Eastwick doesn't take itself, or magic, too seriously, which is sometimes all you want from a witchy film.
Teen Witch (1989)
This cult classic teen comedy features a heroine who discovers she's a reincarnated witch, then promptly does what any of us would upon learning such a fact: casts a spell on her crush. What puts this film in the "so bad it's good" category is the unforgettable (and inexplicable) impromptu musical number, "Top That."
Hocus Pocus 1 and 2 (1993/2022)
Understandably beloved, both the original and its sequel have helped raise the profile of witches as well as the city of Salem, MA, which last Halloween saw thousands of ardent fans fill its narrow streets to pay homage to the film's "Witch House" (which can now be rented for overnight stays via AirBnB).
The Craft (1996)
Even Teen Witch's "Top That" can't top the teen witch drama that goes down in this film (some of which may be triggering to today's viewers). But anyone around in the 90s couldn't help be aware of the immense cultural impact of this cult classic, especially in the world of fashion (black chokers for everyone!) and Wiccan guides for teens.
Practical Magic (1998)
Every true lover of Halloween has seen this movie (which is a bit different from the Alice Hoffman book it's based on). But its message of female empowerment, heartwarming ending, and all-star cast — including an unforgettable Aidan Quinn as the detective investigating the witches' activities— m akes it a delight to watch on a crisp Fall afternoon, usually on a Sunday, when a showing can nearly always be found on basic cable.
The Blair Witch Project (1999)
Witches are usually portrayed negatively in movies (see: The Little Mermaid and just about every other animated Disney cartoon), and this ground-breaking supernatural horror film is no exception. But it's still a genuinely fun, scary film that pretty much launched the "found footage" craze, and everyone should see it at least once (just don't watch it alone in a dark room like I did).
Season of the Witch (2011)
Nicholas Cage and witches? Yes, please. Throw in Ron Perlman, a deadly plague, and demons, and you've got the kind of irresistibly soapy movie that's perfect for a rainy autumn afternoon or evening when the fire is cozy and your socks are toasty warm.
The Witch (2015)
This is one horror film that's definitely pro witches — and as an added bonus features Anya Taylor-Joy in her film debut as the titular witch. Or is she not a witch? Is the whole thing a hallucination brought on by moldy grain, which is what some experts say sparked the Salem Witch trials? Either way, this is a perfect film to enjoy (with friends) during a nippy October night.
Of course as a kid I watched this show, and even demanded for a while that everyone call me Tabitha. It didn't stick… but my love for magic did.
Sabrina the Teenage Witch
As I mentioned earlier, Sabrina was a staple around my house growing up, and when she got her own TV show, I was so there — both for the Netflix and classic Melissa Joan Hart version. My only hope is that she gets another reboot — but this time a Riverdale dark one, featuring not only a lot more magic but also a lot more teenage murder and romance.
What can I say about this classic '90s series from The WB except that it has everything any lover of witchy goodness could ask for, including a Victorian mansion (in San Francisco, no less), hot angels and demons, and even Shannen Doherty, hot off her success in Beverly Hills 90210? The reboot is pretty fun, too.
Okay, so not really witches. But I had to throw in this classic WB show about demon-hunting brothers because it's not only great, it's got a huge and loyal fan base — though I suspect many of fans are merely believers in the magical power of Jared Padalecki's and Jensen Ackles' eyes.
The Good Witch
If the Hallmark Channel were to make a show about a witch instead of movies about women who give up their big city dreams to move back home to open a cupcake shop and fall in love with a Christmas tree farmer, it would be this series. And I mean that in the best of all possible ways.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Possibly the WB's best paranormal series (though of course it primarily features vampires). Still, Buffy's best friend Willow brings all the witchy representation we could ever ask for, including a story arc that has her going from "good" witch to "bad" in a single heart-wrenching episode. Willow will forever be the witch of my heart.
This author's Matter-of-Fact-Magic classic series left an indelible impression on me as a child. How I longed for a witch relative who would pass away and leave me a locked trunk full of seven league boots and cloaks of invisibility! This is the perfect series for young readers who are ready for chapter books and fun fantasy — and it's recently received a gorgeous reprint.
For slightly more advanced readers (and magic practitioners), this Newberry Honors recipient about school girl friendship isn't for the faint of heart: It's for really serious junior witches — and anyone who remembers what it was like to be the lonely new girl.
This Newberry Award winner has it all: smart and strong-willed heroine, Kit; a handsome ship captain; cute kids and animals; colonial Connecticut; but most of all, a fascinating look at the Puritans, and how absolutely bonkers they were, especially when it came to everyone even slightly different than they were.
Dame Mary Stewart may be best known for her Merlin series, but her paranormal romances are some of my favorites. After Gilly Ramsey inherits her cousin's picturesque English cottage, Thornyhold, she realizes her mysterious cousin may have passed on a little something more than simply real estate. This book manages to thrill as much as it comforts with its kind-hearted heroine, rescued animals, meddling villagers, irresistible love interest, and most of all, magic.
Do you like witches? Do you like sororities? Then this is the book for you. The Ravens combines both in a spectacularly spooky fashion. Even better news? There's a sequel!
Looking for f/f romance in your witch fare? These are two of the most entertaining, and satisfying, in the genre.
Some cozy witch romances fall short when it comes to diversity. Not this one. In addition to paranormal creatures of every kind — not only witches, but mermen, gnomes, and more — it includes POC main characters. What more could anyone in their Witchy Era ask for?
Why have one witch when you can have a whole town of witches? Erin Sterling (aka thriller writer Rachel Hawkins) has skillfully crafted a series with a cult following that brings all the paranormal romance as well as magic autumnal vibes.
The witches in this book may be exactly what the world needs right now: wholesome, charming, and kind. Add a dash of romance and — need I say it? — magic, and you have a world I'd love to live in.
As I wait for my own supernatural powers to kick in, I intend to continue to feed my Witch Era with every movie, television show, and book on the subject. I hope this guide will help you to do the same. Blessed be!
Written by Meg Cabot, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Princess Diaries series and her most recent book, Enchanted to Meet You, a contemporary paranormal romance featuring — what else? — small town witches.